Patience and perseverance, those character building, God-trusting characteristics are becoming increasingly difficult to pursue as the gap on instant feedback and reward closes by the minute. Even lumpy body lines, which used to require weeks of dieting before melting an inch, now disappear after a three-minute wiggle into that tummy- trimming, butt-slimming wonder called Spanx. (Just where does the fat go, I wonder, if it doesn’t ooze out the edges?)
Nevertheless, bulge-reducing Spanx, high speed modems, and other wonders of the immediate, haven’t made any impact on the culture of eternity, and God refuses to be fazed by the pressure to deliver on-the-spot.
While I was at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference this past week, I was delighted to learn the rest of the story of two encounters I had had at the conference two years earlier.
One day at the previous conference, feeling full of the joy of the Lord, I skipped a workshop and wandered off in search of the prayer grotto in the woods. I asked the Lord if He wanted to speak to someone through me, to have them meet me in the grotto—an unlikely proposition since everyone was probably in workshops.
But He did. One lone woman came up the path. She seemed upset; we talked and prayed, and then I left. I didn’t know her name, and often wondered about the divine appointment.
After returning home from this year’s conference, I received a message on Facebook from beautiful Beth who said, “I know you may not remember this. . .we met in the prayer garden. . .I was upset and you were kind…”
What a surprise, what an honor. Two years later to learn her name and hear the rest of the story.
At that same previous conference, I won some awards, one of which was a publishing package for my manuscript. Although it was the first thing I had ever written, and I had no prospects of publishing it, I turned the award down. The prize went to the next winner.
This year, a group of us from an online accountability group,(some who had never met in person), met for breakfast. I told my friend Lori that I had never met Mary Beth.
“Yes, you have,” she said. “You had your picture taken with her. She was one of the winners in that contest two years ago."
Mary Beth arrived, set her tray next to mine and sat down. We looked at each other in amazement as Lori explained the connection we actually had. Turns out Mary Beth (who didn’t know me either!) was thrilled to have her book published because the first-place winner had turned over the prize.
There we were, sitting side by side, having prayed for each other and supported each other for the whole year online and never realizing the effect one person's action had had on the other.
Sometimes we never do get to know the effect a word or seemingly small action has on another life, as Jeremiah says, “the secret things belong to God”. Sometimes we have to leave our lack of an answer in the hands of God.
But sometimes, He surprises us—even if it takes two years in coming.
Do all unto the Lord, friend, and trust Him to reveal and reward in His time.