heeding the call in His time

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." -Jesus, John 15:5

So, I was going to mention some things that went on earlier this year. A lot has happened since, but a certain situation keeps popping into mind that I'd like to discuss.

As mentioned previously, last year was a rough one for me. I managed to move on fairly easily from most of it, but there was one particular circumstance, which actually started last June, that I just couldn't shake. Even as I worked through daily life, I kept waking up with this dull ache every day. I tried to ignore it. I'd pray about it. But, for whatever reason, it just wouldn't let go.

Then there was a change in our schedule and I started to have a lot more free time. Time to myself and by myself, especially on Saturdays. I suppose this helped in part, because one Saturday around May of this year, I woke up and that feeling was just gone. I thought this was strange, and I kept waiting for it to come back. But it didn't. And, frankly, I didn't miss it.

Little did I expect what was coming next.

Almost immediately, and for several weeks after, I was confronted with many opportunities to share Christ's love and who Jesus is with a variety of people, some of whom had been completely resistant in the past. But opportunities kept arising as I'd never seen. I had one contact out of nowhere who was seeking help with some very dark spiritual issues, things I won't even mention here. I felt compelled to get an entire prayer team behind me on that one. It was just amazing, and practically overwhelming, the people God was putting in my path.

One thing I began to see very clearly in all this was God's timing and enabling. Truly, he enables us to do everything, and apart from Him we can do nothing. But it was so clear to see that He took that pain from me just before all this started. Suddenly, before I had time to really think, it was, "Get your boots on. You're going out." So I hit the front lines running. But, in this case, it would have been extremely dangerous to try tackling the heaviest parts of all this while dealing with my own issues. Spiritually, I was very vulnerable. I needed my defenses up and all my armor on.

I've seen patterns like this in my life repeatedly in the last several years. As God enables, he gives opportunity to do some unexpected things. As He takes me through the valley, my contacts often seem to disappear for a time. Sometimes He asks me to help someone even as I'm struggling too, but sometimes it's the very struggle, the fact that I can somehow relate to their pain and point them to the Lord, that ends up helping them anyway.

I won't pretend here that this great mountain top lasted. I admit that I even had a serious spiritual crash just recently. But this was such a great and obvious example of the Lord's enabling I didn't want to pass up sharing.

Christian, as you go through life, continue to look for the ways God is teaching you in all things. Learn from good times and bad so you can help others in their times of need. Look for those obvious times when God is opening doors for you to do something big for Him, like sharing who He is with others—even those you may have given up on.

It's a spiritual battle. Pray. Keep your eyes open. And get ready for a fight.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-" -Ephesians 6:10-18

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