One of the things I have prayed for over the past few years is the ability to recognize opportunities when God places them in front of me. Opportunities for me to give my testimony about how God changed my life. Opportunities to speak into the lives of those I encounter on any given day. Usually I drop the ball and have many post-opportunity talks with myself like, "Idiot!" or the always-popular "What I SHOULD have said was . . ." Well, not this time. God answered my prayers this past week by gifting me awareness and confidence in two situations. And I scored!!!
Now before I tell you how God provided me with those opportunities this week, I need to give you some background information. Like who I was . . . you know . . . before.
I was what most people would call a good person, a good dad. I loved my wife and my children. I had a good job. I went to church a couple of times a year. I was good, or so I thought. Little did I know that my children were being neglected . . . by me. Although I was living as a good example in terms of what the world thinks of as "good," I was not leading a godly life nor was I "training up my children in the way they should go" (verse).
After Jesus rescued me from the life I was living I recognized my shortcomings. I knew that I had failed my children, spiritually, and prayed that God would have mercy on me and them. I began to pray. Pray for opportunities to speak into their lives about Jesus.
Fast forward to this past Saturday. Our daughter was visiting. She and my wife had planned to go out that evening, have a glass of wine, and chat. This, after shopping and talking all day together. After supper my daughter and I were sitting at the dining room table when my wife came in and, looking at the dinner dishes on the counter, said, "I don't think I can go our tonight. I'm tired and all of those dishes are staring at me."
Oh daughter simply said, "Okay."
God was about to answer two prayers at once. He had just laid an opportunity in front of me. I'm sure He was waiting to see what I would do with it. I have missed so many other opportunities in my life. Why would I change now, right?
"I'll take you out. Do you like hot chocolate?"
Opportunity recognized and taken. My daughter and I spent an hour and a half at a local coffee house having a most wonderful conversation. We talked about God, about church, "religion," relationships, husband/wife submission/sacrifice . . . all kinds of things. It was amazing!
The following day at church I told my friend and also our pastor about what had happened. "Praise God!" was their reply. It was like God had given me the football, despite me having a history of "fumbling" opportunities, and I had just come off the field after scoring a touchdown.
A few days later at work I was down in the plan room, wrapping some presents for some college kids when a co-worker came in and asked, "What have you got there?"
We talked about God for 20 minutes. I gave him my testimony, telling him how another co-worker had led me to Christ. It was an awesome opportunity to tell someone else about my faith and why I believe what I do.
Wow! Two opportunities this past week. Each one taken. May God continue to provide opportunities in EACH of our lives. To talk about Him. To answer questions about Him. May we always be prepared to give and answer for the hope that we have.
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." - 2 Timothy 4:2
Joe Gibbs - I Am Second