On my way to check out at Hobby Lobby I glanced down an aisle to my right. A cart stood in the middle of the floor, but it was the young woman that caught my attention. She sat slumped on the edge of the bottom shelf with her head in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Her body posture, her tears, and the Holy Spirit revealed her distress.
I had a decision to make. My body and my mind were already headed for the door and the rest of my day. But the Spirit of God within me had ordained different plans.
A year ago I might not have stopped. I may have simply thrown up a prayer as I passed by. After all – I would have told myself – what could I really offer? This woman wouldn’t want help from a stranger.
But God has been consistently pressing a truth into my heart and mind over the last several months. My whole life belongs to Him – including my time. He has shown me that I need to hold my calendar more loosely than I do. I can make plans, but I need to remember God has every right to intercept them for His purposes (Proverbs 19:21).
The Holy Spirit gently reminded me of this truth that day in Hobby Lobby. The to-do list could wait. Dinner could be a little late. Those things were insignificant compared to a divine appointment.
I approached the woman and slowly squatted beside her. “Is everything okay? You look like you’ve just gotten some bad news.” She glanced up at me and choked back a sob.
“Can I do something to help you?” She only shook her head.
Lord, I’m not sure what to do here. She won’t – or can’t talk with me.
Ask if you can pray for her now.
“Would it be okay if I prayed for you?”
She looked surprised, but nodded. I laid my hand on her arm and prayed for her out loud right there on the candle aisle.
After the “amen” she mumbled a thank you and assured me once again there wasn’t anything else I could do. I paid for my purchases and headed home. I may have checked one less thing off my to-do list that day, but I surrendered the time to God and got to participate in His plans. It doesn’t really matter that I don’t know the outcome.
Lest you think me super-spiritual, I must confess that I don’t always give Him my calendar so freely. In fact, I tend to hold it tightly in my hot little fist. My type A personality likes to plan my day, week, and month and then follow my plan to get everything accomplished. I cringe to think about the many opportunities I’ve missed to participate in what God is doing because I wouldn’t allow Him to interrupt my day.
That’s exactly why God keeps reinforcing the lesson that everything I have is His. I have been bought and paid for with the precious blood of Christ (1 Cor 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:18-19). My soul, my body, my mind – and yes, my time – all belong to God. He has plans and purposes for my life far more important than mine.
I long to be increasingly more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I want to completely surrender my life – and my calendar – to Him. Lord, keep teaching me…
Throughout the month of April, we’ve been sharing about surrender here at Do Not Depart. Each of us has shared about areas particularly difficult to give up to God’s control. If you are a believer, your life is not your own. It belongs to God. Every part of it. I pray we can all give in to sweet surrender.
What is that one thing you have the most trouble surrendering to God? Why do you think that is?