Fine-tuned by God

“But I’m…

…tired with little energy to host or visit with people tonight. Let them know we would have loved to have them over, but maybe another night.”

It was Friday! A time that we as a family have set aside to spend with each other. Our weeks are usually quite busy ministering to others and this is the time we set aside to minister to each other. Sometimes we just make a pizza and watch a kids’ movie snuggled together on the couch. We cherish our time together and we value what God has given us to honour and watch over. Yet I am often reminded of Proverbs 6:9 – “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

So I really wasn’t feeling the spontaneous invitation from friends of ours this particular Friday afternoon. I love them very much and we always have a great time together. My wife was actually surprised that I didn’t want them to come over. But she texted a message back to our friends saying, thanks but maybe another Friday. What transpired in the next five minutes is nothing short of God establishing our steps within our community.

Our friend misread the text and thought we said yes; she went ahead and planned to bring over pizza and all the fixings, along with her family. We didn’t have the heart to say no. I’d like to think that my first thoughts were, “God, what are YOUR plans for tonight?” But it was closer to “God, give me strength!”

We tidied the house, set the table and then our guests arrived, full of energy. It wasn’t long before we were sharing our hearts and filling each other in on the things that were happening in our lives. It was no longer a cry for strength on my part; I felt myself becoming thankful for these friends with whom we could be ourselves. They could see every part of our lives and still desire to be with us in the midst of it all. We laughed as we watched our kids play with each other and then spent time in prayer, blessing what God was doing in our midst.

God-directed
Our evening was then interrupted by a phone call. It was from mutual friends; they had recently given birth and were calling in tears as something was wrong with the baby. They asked if they could come over and it was a resounding yes. We quickly decided that we needed to settle the children down to sleep (despite being tight on space). We prayed that they would fall asleep quickly and that the emotions that we knew were coming would not upset them. We prayed for peace. We prayed for strength. We needed the Lord to come and help us minister to our hurting friends. We sat for a moment and realized that God had planned this evening out perfectly. He knew that this couple would need all of us to support them in upcoming decisions, and to pray for strength and comfort. I kept thinking about the what if’s. What if I had stood my ground and said no one could interrupt our “family time”? What if I had corrected our friend’s misinterpretation of my message? What if I had just ignored our other friend’s phone call, rather than picking it up?

But those what if’s don’t matter. We had planned our course but God directed our steps. It was our willingness, despite our feelings, that allowed some deep ministry to happen that evening. I wondered after the fact why I did not feel depleted emotionally and I realized that it was because God had ordained the whole evening. We invited the process to happen with our openness to follow God’s lead and to acknowledge our need of him. We could not have done it without the Lord’s strength.

It was also a reminder that our time is not really ours. I can try to hold tight to my schedule, my life, but this was a reminder that God is calling me to lay my life down for the sake of others. He knows what is best for me and my family. So I thank you, God, for directing our steps, even after fine-tuning our course. Thank you for the reminder that our whole life is yours.

  • Kenny Warkentin after working several years as an urban missionary with Living Waters Canada and Exodus International is now an associate Pastor. Kenny is passionate about issues regarding relational wholeness, gender and sexuality and has written numerous columns on those issues as it pertains to the Body of Christ. He is married to Paula and they have a daughter Phoebe. Paula and Kenny are both avid artists and they have showcased their work in various venues. Paula is a spoken word poet and Kenny is a photographer and painter. The are passionate about marriage and travel and share their testimony throughout North America.

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