Reflections Of... Availability!
Are you available?
Available for what, you might ask?
Available for God to use you to help someone else.
In one moment, in one instance, in one “do it now!”
Are you that available to the Lord?
Like-- what if God asked you to pray with your neighbor…on the sidewalk, in front of their home.
Would you be available to do that…for the Lord?
My best friend Kay did that one day—God impressed on her to pray with her neighbor, who was going thru chemo—fighting cancer.
Most of us would just wave at the neighbor and smile that smile that says “I’m so sorry for what you are going thru—I’m praying for you!”
All of that said—in your smile?
We don’t want to be bothered with someone else’s burden—or we are afraid to put ourselves out there as “someone who literally prays!”
I was a youth pastor for 17 years—and in my Youth Pastor’s office, I had this sign, that I must have taught the youth at least once a year.
It said simply…
God is not looking for your ability…
He’s asking for—your AvailAbility!
It’s that simple.
You can’t please God with your abilities—HE gave you each and every one.
But…you Always Please God when YOU are AVAILABLE for HIM to use you to help some stranger, or friend or family member.
Available ANY WHERE!!
Like…while having a delayed Valentine’s Dinner with your wife in Savannah…at a swanky restaurant called Olde Pink House?
If you are really available—you can’t tell HIM when you are and when you are not! He calls the shots on when to use you.
And I have learned—obedience is far better than sacrifice.
So I pray each day…”Lord, I am a man of unclean lips, but…If you want to use me, use me!”
And this past Friday night, in Savannah, GA, at a really nice restaurant called Olde Pink House, HE chose to use me.
How, you might ask…
Glad you asked.
My wife and I were having dinner. Our waitress was Angela. Hmmm? I just got that—our waitress was ANGELa!
We were enjoying a romantic dinner, sharing cards and gifts, just celebrating the gift God gave us in each other.
ANGELa asked if she could clear our plates from the table.
We said “of course!”
ANGELa stacked all of the plates in her arm and turned…
When she did—the plates went everywhere…ending, on the ground!
BAM!! It was loud! Everyone turned to look at our table.
I did my usual when a waiter/waitress drops a plate!
I start clapping and yell out “Bravo! Bravo!”
And I start laughing—to lighten up the mood—come on people—it was only a plate dropping—no one lost their life! Lighten up!
And…that’s what I did.
Within 3 seconds, a woman appeared out of nowhere—we really did!
She asked my wife “are you okay? Did the food get on your clothes? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Who was this woman who was so concerned about my wife and the recent Plate Tragedy?
Apparently, she was our appointment with destiny due to our schedule of availability.
I just didn’t know it yet!
I made chatter with the Hostess named Maddie—she was sincerely interested to make sure that the Plate Tragedy did not ruin our evening.
And from there…God took over.
We ended up talking about life, about family, about parenting, about children.
That’s how it got to this point of Maddie saying “I can’t believe I am talking to a stranger about this, but…I just feel like I can trust you!”
I assured her that I have counseled couples for years and I was a youth pastor for 17 years, so I spend time with troubled families.
She says “I just feel like I was meant to meet you—and I can trust what you are telling me—like you are counseling me about my Eric!”
Eric? That’s her 17 year old son who is in trouble—he is acting out, rebelling, disrespecting her as his mom and…threatening to run away.
We talked about Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages!”
She said “we have that book, on the shelf, we’ve never read it!”
I explained how important it was to know Eric’s love language—as his parent, it was important to speak to him in HIS love language.
I also reminded her that, although consistency is key when dealing with teenagers, being flexible goes the long haul in relationships.
I told her “lighten up a little, let him know that you are going to love him for the rest of his life, no matter what he does with his life—you’re his Mom!”
I also taught her “a father’s love is earned, but a mother’s love is assumed—remind him that he can count on your loving him –no matter what!”
I ended with…
“20 years from now, no one will remember the rules that were followed or broken—but they will remember a mother’s unconditional love!”
My wife Bella gave her some comforting words, as a mother of 6 children—and she gently assured her that—this was not a chance meeting.
We prayed for Maddie and Eric, for restoration, for wholeness, for healing of the relationship.
She said “I feel like I was meant to talk to you …”
Maddie said “may I hug you? I just feel like I want to hug you!”
And she did…
Then she went her way…
And came back with…a free dessert!
So I ask you…
What if I had said “not tonight Lord—we are off the clock!”
Ask yourself—would YOU have been available?
Do you see how Maddie and Eric may have benefitted…
Because we were!
If you really want to please God…
Be AVAILable for HIM to use you…
Your Maddie may need to meet you!
Availability versus Ability!