The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. —Isaiah 50:4
I had a really interesting experience yesterday when I was chatting with some folks. Wait, I wasn’t chatting. Actually, I was standing there, listening to them talk. It was a little surreal because I don’t just blend in, but I seemed not to be there to them at all. They carried on a whole conversation without even the slightest hint I was standing there.*
At first, I got mad. I spent 15 minutes fuming.
Yet, this morning I realized: I wasn’t supposed to be there.
Six weeks ago, I wrote about knowing when there is grace on a situation, when God has you there to do a specific work (and knowing when He does not). You can read that here. In that post, I said:
One of our Christian culturalisms is that we have to serve EVERYONE who crosses our path. We feel compelled to pray for EVERYONE, or at least those we encounter on a regular basis. We have to do something for everyone in our life, because that is what God expects. I’m here to argue the point, that is definitely NOT what He expects.
It is crystal clear to me there was no grace on that situation. Those two people were engaged in a conversation that I had no part in.
But I still just stood there, like a kid not being picked on the playground, kicking the grass (literally). Oh, man, I’m embarrassed to admit that. I wanted to be included, even though I had no place in it.
It’s ok not to minister to everyone, especially when my energies should be directed elsewhere.
Still, there is something else I didn’t do. I didn’t pray while I was standing there. As I look back, I see the big, gaping hole that was me. I could have been filled with the Spirit, but instead I stood there confused and empty. If I had just taken a second to say,
Lord, why am I here? Should I be? If I’m supposed to be, can you show me why?
In not doing that, I missed the point! Perhaps it wasn’t my mission, but if it was, I didn’t give grace a chance to enter into the situation. There was no grace on it, but I didn’t invite grace in either.
I feel like I missed an opportunity to participate in a work the Lord is doing in the lives of two people. As the verse from Isaiah states, I have a learned tongue. I know about the Lord. I know of His desire that no man should perish. I get up early in the morning to talk with Him and He works out His truth all day long in my life.
If there was a cosmic rewind button, I’d go back and do it over again. I’d pray and see where it goes from there. There still might have been no point in me being there, I still might have gone unseen.
But maybe not.
So, I repented of this latest Homer Simpson DOH moment. I also asked for another opportunity to bring a word to sustain these two weary folks. I gathered that much from their conversation, they are both very weary. The least I could ask for is another chance to speak His life into theirs. If He wants me a part of what is happening, He will bring about that opportunity, I’m sure of that. If He doesn’t, I’m confident that will be clear too.
I’m thankful, though, that grace is available wherever I am. I don’t walk into this world alone, God is with me everywhere I go. I’m grateful for the reminder to invite Him into any and every situation, no matter what’s happening inside me or others. He is a gentleman, though, so He isn’t going to push His way in. As I encounter so many who need His kind of refreshment, I must be aware of when His Spirit is moving and respond.
Thanks for your patience, Lord. I’m still learning and I’m grateful You are God, faithful to teach me every day of Your goodness and grace.
*This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “Inviting Grace In.”