Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Inkling

Note: The following column originally appeared in the Oct. 2017 issue of Chapel Hill News and Views magazine, for which I've written a monthly column since Feb. 2008. 

Wonderful gifts have been given to me in recent days, gifts I’ve had no inkling were being prepared.

First, an encouraging e-mail arrived from a woman who had read one of my columns in a magazine. (And I’d thought no one was reading them!!!)

Second, an email arrived from another stranger. She said that my story (The Cry of a Woman’s Heart) that had been published in 2002 in Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul was one of the 101 stories chosen for publication in Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Christmas Miracles. (And I had no inkling that anyone was re-reading that story!)

The third gift (a copy of Hannah Whitall Smith’s devotional book, God Is Enougharrived in my mailbox. When I opened the padded envelope, I learned that a dear friend who knows how much I am strengthened by the writings of HWS had ordered it and had it shipped directly to me.

In each of these situations, I’d had no inkling that a special blessing was headed my way. No inkling the impact of each of those special gifts would have on my life. No inkling that these gifts would become the inspiration for this column. But God knew my needs and chose to use those dear people to encourage and uplift me at a time when I was feeling really “down” due to ongoing struggles with vertigo and extreme physical weakness. (The worse I felt, the more I doubted my ability to write the messages God sent from His heart to my heart to the hearts of others.)

As I reflected on that experience, I saw the similarity between it and the Chicken Soup story in which I told about how God used people to meet the cries of a woman’s heart.
She had no inkling that help was on the way. No inkling it would arrive the very day her need was most desperate. No inkling that I, a total stranger, would show up at her door with donated resources that were an answer to her cries for help.
That experience had God’s name written all over it! I was merely the delivery person He chose to use. Likewise, the special gifts I received recently also have God’s name written all over them. Two came from total strangers; one came from a friend. To none of them had I expressed any desire for what they provided. Yet, my loving heavenly Father knew my needs, for I’d cried out to Him about them. Thus, He motivated the people to send the gifts directly to me –and at the time when I needed them most! How awesome is that??? How awesome and wonderfully kind God is!!!
It thrills my very soul to know that God can do such miracles and that I don’t have to know what good things He’s preparing for me in order to love Him and trust Him. I just have to believe that He IS working all things together for His glory and for my good, as Romans 8:28 says.
Even if He, in His infinite wisdom, should choose to send “bad news” into my life, I pray I will have the faith to look upon those things as gifts from His loving hand, gifts He chooses to use to bless me, gifts that will give me opportunities to learn to trust Him in ALL situations.

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