Stop for the One
Have you ever felt called to do something when it is inconvenient? Our editor Rachel shares her experiences of having to choose between obedience in the moment and just continuing on with her own plans.
Los Angeles is a beautiful city filled with dreams, spectacle and wonder. I moved here more than 3 years ago and like every other peer in this city, I found myself filling up my calendar with countless activities. But somehow, I always end up cutting it close when it comes to my social and ministry appointments because the unpredictable traffic conditions in LA.
One evening, I was scheduled to facilitate a women’s fellowship group. My neatly concocted plan was to squeeze some time for a bowl of handmade udon noodles in Little Tokyo before the women’s fellowship. As usual, the drive took longer than I predicted and I had to rush off after dinner in order to be on time for the fellowship.
As I was walking to my car, I heard a small still voice in me that said,
‘Go and talk to the homeless person standing at the parking lot and bless him’.
It manifested more like a thought that I would never have come up with, followed by an authoritative conviction. At that moment, I recognized that it was God’s voice. I looked over at the homeless person, disheveled and lonely and my the digital clock back and forth. I went into my car and turned on my ignition and the still small voice reminded me of my mission again and so I replied,
“I cannot do that or I would be late for my women fellowship. The girls are waiting on me to start the study.”
Within a split second, I made my decision and drove off.
When I arrived at the women fellowship, I realized that I did something really stupid and ironic. Like the priest in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, I missed out the opportunity to actually put my faith into action and be a vessel for God to bless another at that moment in time. I remember chuckling when I read about the priest in the parable but then I became the priest!
James 2:26 says what “.. faith without works is dead.”
Instead of witnessing how God would move powerfully in and before me, I chose to go to a group to study His word so that I may experience God some day in the future. My schedule was so full and I was so set on making it to ministry that I did not even stop for Jesus. Needless to say, I deeply regretted my decision that day and asked for forgiveness from God.
I thank God that He is a God of second chances. God does not give up on us because we fail to obey him the first time. A few months later, a friend *Ryder came over to LA from Asia for work and he had a day off for me to take him around. I have not seen him in a long time but he was always like a younger brother to us in our ministry team back in Asia. He is a dream chaser, an aspiring filmmaker and an executive on the rise in a major network. We are all very proud of him.
As I was scheduled to hang out an indie singer songwriter and her friend on the same day, all four of us decided to all have a fun tour around sunny LA. The day was almost perfect for the foodie and creative Ryder i.e. hanging out with a group of creatives having good food and driving around LA. Not only that, it just so happened that Ryder’s sister was a true fan of the singer songwriter we were hanging out with.
When we were deciding on our last stop for the day, the singer songwriter suggested the Griffith Observatory as we were near it in Los Feliz. Later, Ryder confessed to us that him as a child, would always dream as he explored the world astronomy so it was perfect for him. The tour ended with success and according to my plan, I would drop Ryder off at Downtown where he was staying and make it perfectly on time for the same women fellowship that I was part of.
Ryder and I are both in the entertainment business. Therefore, as we were driving, we talked about the film industry that shapes cultures and attitudes around the world and how God is moving in Hollywood to reclaim it. It was then when Ryder asked the questions,
“Does it even matter what we do? It’s such a small part of the industry. Would what we do even make a difference?”
I just looked ahead on the road as I drove and casually answered,
“Of course it does. Even if we can be a part of God’s great plan and commission for this generation at a time such as this, we would have fulfilled our purpose and it would be the greatest honor. What you do matters to God. You matter to God.’
There was a short silence and out of blue, I heard a sniffing sound and when I looked over, to my surprise he was pouring tears. I looked at the digital clock in my car and I knew that I would be late for the women fellowship if I stopped to talk more. Suddenly, I had a flashback to the time I disobeyed God with regards to the homeless man and I knew in my heart that God was giving me a second chance. In a few seconds, I just decided to pullover on the side of the busy Downtown road and texted the girls to inform them that I would be late.
Ryder started sharing about his broken dreams, the doubts that he had about the choices he has been making in his career in the entertainment industry. I realized that he really needed to hear that all he did is not all futile i.e. what he does matters and that he matters to God. I was actually surprised because according to the world’s standard, Ryder was doing well and we were and are proud of him.
God really moved powerfully in Ryder that day. Lies in his head were broken and God brought forth healing in Ryder’s heart and restoration in his relationship with God. It was such an honor to witness God’s love for Ryder. I even had tears in my eyes. I realized in hindsight that the whole day from beginning to end was specially designed and appointed by God to show Ryder that he was a beloved son, beloved and known intimately by the Father. We happened to do a food tour, even though we didn’t know Ryder was a foodie. We spent the whole day discussing ideas with creative people, which is what Ryder loves to do. And the friend I brought along just so happened to be his sister’s favorite singer songwriter. Even the random suggestion to see the stars at the Griffith Observatory was no coincidence. At the observatory, as he was gazing at the stars and the Northern Lights, God opened up Ryder’s heart and reminded him of his dreams as a little boy.
This time, I stopped for the One. I stopped for Jesus and not only was Ryder blessed by God, I experienced God move in mighty ways and that really strengthened my faith. Christians truly live for moments like these. It is true what Luke 11:28 says,
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
I arrived late at my women ministry that evening but the girls were just getting started after having a long meal and chat together. God even bought me time when I stopped for Him. I love God and I praise His name.
Image Credit: Flickr/Toshi