Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A PIECE OF MY HEART....talk to strangers?

When I was young, my mother always taught me that I should not talk to strangers. This was also something that I taught my children as well. Strangers to a child can be scary. It is someone they don't know, and in this day and time, strangers can bring harm to them.
I was always leary of this lesson when it came time to teach it to my children. On one hand, I didn't want my children to trust just anybody but on the other hand, I didn't want them to be suspicious of everyone they came into contact with either.

We had to try to find a medium ground of what a good stranger was and what a bad stranger was. Problem is that often times the bad stranger can come disguised as a good stranger. It is at these times that knowing the voice of God comes in handy. His Holy Spirit has a way of putting doubt or apprehension in us when it comes to trusting folks, especially if the folks we are trusting are not a "good stranger."  Some people call this "intuition", I call it the "leading of the Holy Spirit".

As I have grown up, I have called upon His leading to show me the good from the bad. And thru the years I have learned that not all strangers are bad. In fact, some strangers are doing exactly what I am trying to do and that is follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Recently, we met such a stranger.

My husband and I sat at a local restaurant with our teen daughter. It was late on a Sunday evening. We had just got back in town from a long weekend. When we first entered the restaurant, we saw some folks from church and a few of them came and chatted with us at our table. When our food arrived, they politely went on their way.

All during our meal and visit, I noticed a gentleman sitting at the table next to ours. He kept looking over at our table curiously. He was a well dressed man. He didn't look scary or intimidating. But yet he kept looking.

My family continued on our visit and my husband and I sat and listened to our teen daughter. After a short while the man and his guest got up from their table and left. They never said a word to us. Except a few minutes later, the gentleman, the stranger, came back to our table and asked our permission for him to share something with us.

We gracefully said yes. I was waiting for the sales pitch or something along that line. But what this man shared wasn't at all a ploy to get us to buy something. It was clearly a message from God. He sat down at our table, next to my husband and across the table from our daughter. He spoke directly to our daughter, an encouragement from God that was so on target with something that she was dealing with. He spoke with clarity, with love and encouragement. He didn't even live in our town. He was passing thru town. There was no possible way he could have known what my daughter has been going thru these past few months. But God did.

He was a stranger to us, but yet not a stranger to God.

1 Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

This encounter with the stranger showed me a couple of things. First of all, God will meet you any where. He doesn't just speak to us at church, but often times He shows up in places that we would not expect. Second of all, God speaks to us in many different ways, He will even use strangers to deliver a message to us. But before a stranger can be used by God, he/she must know the voice of God and be willing to obey.

The stranger in the restaurant obviously knew the voice of God and he chose to obey His leading. I wonder what kind of a stranger I would make to someone? Am I always alert to His voice and am I willing to obey when I hear His prompting?

Do you talk to strangers?
We must be careful these days but we must also be able to distinguish the voice of the Lord.

And this has been a piece of my heart today.

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