Are you aware of God-given opportunities? At the time, I wasn’t!
My cousin turned 80 on Friday, April 24th. Two days before, my phone rang, and thankfully, I recognized her Rochester area code — not a telemarketer — so I answered “Hello” numerous times. At last, I heard a very weak voice, “Yesss?” I asked, “Oh my goodness, Bonnie, what’s going on?” Again, a fragile voice quivered out a response: “I’m in the hospital.” I discovered that she had gone in for heart surgery but ended up on dialysis! Momentarily, I was speechless. My heart went out to her. I told her that I wished that I could give her a big hug, but since that wasn’t possible, suddenly, I became aware of the opportunity that God was providing. Right there on the phone, I prayed aloud for her, asking God to give her the warmth and comfort of His presence right there in her hospital room. She thanked me feebly, saying, “I needed that!”
I sensed strongly that it was the right time to share my experience with her from my heart. I said that I couldn’t understand why some people talk about death as a fearful thing, because I am personally ready whenever God wants to call me home. She agreed. I told her that I believe that because my husband Bob accepted the Lord’s sacrifice for him, he has already seen the Father’s face, touched our Saviour’s hand, and is praising Him in His nearer presence. After all, I said, Jesus promised the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NIV) She sounded somewhat stronger at the end and uttered agreement to what I had said. Even though she knew, Bonnie seemed to need reassurance.
Two days later, she died!
Thanks to the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, “Death has been swallowed up in victory!” (1 Corinthians 15:54b NIV)
I believe that God was at work urging Bonnie to call and filling me with the courage to share a topic that so many shy away from. Thankfully, I responded to His nudging, on the spot. Oh, that we would each become more and more sensitive to the opportunities that He provides us. Little did I know that there wouldn’t be another opportunity later. What a comfort to me now as I know that it had been the right timing. In chatting with her sons, they were so thankful to learn about our conversation.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15b NIV)
Something to ponder: Are you ready and sensitive to when someone is asking you the reason for your hope, even if they don’t actually verbalize it? It’s something really worth sharing!
Prayer: Our dear Father God, thank You so much for the sacrifice of Jesus on that horrible cross for sinners such as each one of us. Because of His glorious resurrection, we can face tomorrow, even in the midst of whatever “storm” we’re facing. Remind us to be alert and aware of opportunities that You provide. Give us courage to speak up and share the good news and the hope that we have. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen!
Mary Lou Tompkins
Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission