I walked through the hospital halls fingering the gift I held, and mentally fingering the memories. Memories of these halls when my Grandma was dying, hours away from home, and us visiting, 3 sisters wondering how long and wandering the halls, up and down, the 11 flights of stairs good exercise for restless legs, as parent’s sat by the sick bed.
Here I was in the halls again years later, with no real reason, but the gift in my hand, the gift I didn’t even know for whom. A colourful necklace and facecloth, little trinkets really. Yet this place had drawn me again, and my boyfriend, now husband, had agreed that he would drive me to the hospital, just because. I approached a nurse’s station, and explained. My Grandma had been here years before, dying. I’d come back, it was Christmas and I had a gift.
The nurses were kind enough to believe that I’d just come to bring a present to someone, and as I peeked through doors, I finally walked into a room where a young woman was watching the Australia movie.
I told her I had a present for her, and it turned out that she was Swedish, had no visitors, as she had fallen ill with a cancerous tumour on a trip over to Australia, and her name was Sylvia. She was crying and amazed that someone she didn’t know would come with a present for her.
At first glance it looks like a lovely story, but there’s more. While we didn’t hang around or even pray for her there, the last time I was at that very hospital 5 years prior, we had found a German girl called Sylvia who had fallen ill from a cancerous tumour, who had no where to live, couldn’t fly home due to the operation, and we invited her to come home with us, where she stayed for 6 weeks, and taught us German.
Was that all a coincidence? I think not. The very next week I had a huge spiritual attack due to some circumstances where suddenly I was not sure that God spoke to us any more and that we couldn’t be sure of His voice, and even some Christians around me were telling me that. It was this incidence that God led me back to time and time again to prove to me that I could here my voice even if my circumstances were falling apart. I grew from that experience of learning to interpret God’s voice and follow His leading and it has made me stronger and more able to accurately hear what God is saying.
Has God ever asked you to do something strange? I mean there’s plenty of instances in the Bible where God has asked His people to do strange things; like Noah building an ark when they’d never heard of rain, Joshua marching the people around Jericho once a day for seven days and then some more, and wow, that guy who God asked to lie on his side and roast over dung?
God’s never asked me to do something that strange, but He has put a few ideas in my heart, that one could call strange.
Another time God showed us to do something strange, was just after my husband and I had moved to Toowoomba to take up the roles of Youth Pastors. I really had on my heart evangelism and had been listening to tapes and messages on ‘prophetic evangelism’ where you ask God to show you before you go out, where you are going, who the person is and what is wrong with them, so that you’re not just trying to hand out tracts, though I’m sure that’s led people to God in the past too. If you feel this is an area God is stretching you, an incredible book on this topic is The Ultimate Treasure Hunt.
So we left one half of our group behind at our house to pray for us and the rest of us ‘braver’ souls trudged across the road to our big shopping centre. I’d had a dream where God said ‘They started their journey at the place with the upside down M,’ and I saw the people eating chips. We tried MacDonalds but that didn’t seem right, and then we walked across to a pub, and hung around inside for a bit, looking awkward, garnering a few stares from the workers, but I had found one little family right at the back eating chips.
Our team dispersed outside and Stephen wandered back in, ‘volunteered’ by the rest of us as the soul who would approach the family and ask them . . . something, maybe if they had any prayer requests. Yes, their young friend was dying in hospital, and Stephen sat and prayed there with them, and walked out. Do we know what happened next? No, but we can trust if God brought the dream and led us to them, He also had some answer, some encouragement for that family in the booth.
This was 3 years ago, and I feel I was braver then. I have to confess, God’s asked me to do some things similar these days and I’ve walked away, shy and scared. Of what? I berate myself later. The worst thing someone can say is no, leave me alone. I’m unlikely to be cursed, imprisoned or attacked. I need grace. We need grace, to respond to God’s prompts, subtle whisperings to plant seeds, pray for needs, to just heed.