We are building a pool. It’s been a long process and we’re nearing the end. The first day that I met with our building contractor, as we sat on the couch and talked about pool construction, out of the blue God burdened my heart to ask him if he went to church. I argued with God in my mind as the contractor explained the pool process– half of my mind wrestling and arguing with God and the other half trying to pay attention to the contractor. I wrestled with God because I didn’t know this man and I was afraid he would be offended if I just blurted out “Hey, you go to church?” That’s kind of a weird, random question to ask your pool contractor you just met.
About four minutes later, God won the argument, so I said, “Are you a church goin’ man?” He blinked a couple times, and looked at me like I just told him I liked to eat dog hair. I could tell he was trying to regain his composure from what must have seemed like a bizarrely random question in the middle of explaining the pool construction process. But then he said yes, that sometimes he went to a certain church in the town he lives, but that he hadn’t been in a while. And just to maintain the awkwardness, ‘cuz, you know, if I’m anything, I’m awkward, I said, “Well, you look like a church goin’ man.” He doesn’t look like a church goin’ man. Then we resumed talking about the pool construction process. That was almost four weeks ago and we’ve spoken off and on since then, but we’ve only discussed our pool construction.
Today he was supposed to be here at 1 p.m. for us to add extra concrete to our patio design. I didn’t hear from him until 6:30 p.m. Earlier in the afternoon I felt a little irritated when he didn’t show up. I wasn’t angry, but I pointed some irritated thoughts in his direction….wherever he was. When he finally got here, he was flustered and quickly trying to calculate concrete square footage. As we talked about the concrete, he made a few comments about the stress of his job. I told him I couldn’t imagine the burden of dealing with homeowners and subcontractors and all the problems in-between, day in and day out. As he talked, God told me to ask him if I could pray for him. Despite the awkwardness of our first encounter when I asked him about church, I didn’t wrestle with God this time. As my contractor was gathering his equipment to leave, I asked him if I could pray for him. He hesitated a moment and said, “Yes.”
So, I stood there in our half-constructed patio, surrounded by two-by-fours, broken rocks, spray painted lines and goose droppings and took this man’s hand. A man I barely know. A man that does not look like a church goin’ man. A man that builds pools and deals with subcontractors who accidentally cut cable lines and electric lines when they dig a pool. A man that deals with homeowners who call him every hour of the day and night. A man who was precious to God and needed prayer. When I finished praying, this grown man was weeping behind his dark sunglasses as he stood there with a spray paint can in his hand.
He wept because he is a human being who is hurting.
He wept because God told me to pray with Him and I obeyed, so God touched his heart at just the right time.
He wept for other reasons that only he and God know.
God touches lives through our obedience. And although sometimes what He asks us to do may seem uncomfortable or weirdly random, He has a plan. Today I stood in my yard and poured out my heart in prayer for this man, but four weeks ago I didn’t even want to ask him if he went to church. But four weeks ago, God knew about today– the day this man was going to need prayer. The day that God would remind him that he is treasured and loved. The day that God would speak to him through someone else.
So today, I encourage you to be obedient to God. I encourage you to remember that every soul is a precious treasure to God. I encourage you to reach out to those who are hurting. Our world is full of broken, hurting people that God wants to speak to through you. He wants to tell them that they are treasured and loved.
“Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2)
“And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail.” (James 5:15,16)
“Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.” (Eph 6:18)