My favourite church meetings are when anyone can take the mic and give a testimony of God at work in their life. You never know what people will share. Like the time when young mum Anna told how she had been inspired to be more open to hear from God and show His love to others in her everyday life. Having asked God to use her, later that week she was in a queue at the chemist when ahead of her, she overheard a young woman talking on her mobile, saying; “It’s difficult, I’m getting panic attacks…”
Anna sensed the Holy Spirit wanted her to tell this stranger that God understood her and cared for her. “But how can I say it?” thought Anna. “It’s easy,” came the reply, “just walk along behind her and then speak.”
The young woman, still on the mobile, paid at the counter and left the chemist’s. Anna collected her prescription and soon followed. She needed to go to the nursery to pick up her little girl, but the woman from the chemist’s was walking in that general direction, so she was able to follow and catch her up. “Lord if you want me to say something, she’ll have to get off the phone,” Anna whispered. Just then the lady snapped shut her mobile. So, taking a deep breath, Anna walked alongside. “Excuse me I was in the queue and heard you saying you were anxious. I believe God knows all about your situation and He cares for you.” There, it was said. But what would be the reaction?
The young woman smiled, “Oh yes?” then described how difficult her life as a single mum with a couple of young children was and how she was struggling to cope. They both had places to go to – but Anna had time to briefly share God’s love and how through prayer we can talk to Him anytime. “Thank you God for using me to share your love,” Anna prayed as she walked away.
A simple story? Yes. But a powerful story about how being available and responsive to the Holy Spirit means God can use us anytime, anywhere.
I like to take the mic at church and testify to God at work, but although testimony meetings are my favourite, they also challenge me. What are my stories? What is my experience of God at work in, or around me? Are they ancient or modern history - in the past month, the past week? And if the storytelling cupboard is bare – is that because nothing has happened? Or is it because I haven’t been listening or even noticed God at work under my nose?
One of the reasons I enjoy editing this magazine is because of the variety of stories I get to hear about the way God is at work. Sometimes they are very dramatic - like ‘The Day I...’ column this month (p16), or the fascinating testimony of former Wimbledon champion Margaret Court (p12). But our stories don’t need to be so apparently ‘amazing’ as those last two, to impact other people’s lives. If you read nothing else this month – do take time for Mark Greene’s ‘Connecting with Culture’ feature (page 52), where he recounts ‘the tale of the smiling woman’, ‘the tale of the ten-year-olds’, and ‘the tale of the vicar and the white van man’. All three apparently simple stories are tales of transformation. And they are tales that could happen to you or me.
In our everyday working, walking to the shops, commuting, hanging out the washing, going to the gym, meeting friends for a coffee – sort of day – let’s look out for what the Spirit is doing and make ourselves available and willing to be His hands, His feet, His voice, and His loving and listening ear to the people we come across today. And what happens next? Who knows what true tales not tall tales we will have to tell.