Thursday on Living Inspired, I’ll be chatting with fellow author Marion Stroud! Stay tuned to my blog and the Living Inspired page for a giveaway, and if you missed an episode of Living Inspired, check out the official show page!
I love entertaining friends. What we eat or drink isn’t as important as the conversation. And prayer, at its best, is like sharing a meal with a loved and trusted friend. An evening where I did all the talking and didn’t listen to what others had to say would be very one-sided. But sadly that is the way that I often behave to God. I rush into His presence, rattle off a list of requests and a few hasty thank you’s, and then get on with my life. But sometimes, just sometimes, God speaks, I listen, and life is changed forever.
I’ll always remember the first time. Ethel had dreamed of going to Africa as a missionary nurse and often found motherhood in an English market town frustrating. One day she had her BIG idea. “Why don’t we invite our friends and neighbours to a coffee morning in September, with a Christian speaker?” she suggested. “She could talk about anything, but it would be from a Christian viewpoint. I’m sure they’d come—even if they never go to church—just to get out of the house”
I was all for it, until I realized I’d been volunteered to be the hostess. With three children under five, church activities, and a new writing career, I thought that was a BAD idea.
I argued with God about it all summer.
“But Father, “I prayed, “most people think that talking about you belongs in church.”
What did Jesus do? God whispered.
I thought about that. Jesus certainly taught in homes and by the side of a well. We don’t have any wells locally, but there are supermarkets where women gather. I shuddered. A coffee morning sounded easier.
“But Father,” I said, “who would I ask? And what would I say?”
Trust Me. I’ll point you to the people and give you the words.
“But Father, Ethel and I have six children under 5 years old between us. What if they get sick? We’d have to cancel.”
“Who could we find to run a creche and make the coffee? We’d need people without children . . . and anyway,” I pointed out, clinching the argument, “I wouldn’t have enough cups!”
The summer slipped by, and I pushed all thoughts of coffee mornings to the back of my mind. Then I went to a service at one of London’s famous churches; the reading from Exodus 3 and 4 was uncomfortably familiar. As I listened to the reasons Moses advanced for not being the person to confront Pharaoh, I heard my own voice. I squirmed uncomfortably as Moses pleaded, “Lord please! Send anyone else!”
“Ok!” I prayed rather ungraciously. “But You’ll have to do it, Lord, because I can’t see how it will work.” So Ethel and I started our great adventure. It changed both our lives. For me that ONE grudging step of obedience propelled me into a non-fiction writing career that would take me around the world.
Have you heard from God recently? Are you prepared for Risky Living?
Marion Stroud lives in Bedford, England, the town in which John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress while in the town gaol. She has written 26 books, and she also writes for Our Daily Bread and magazines. She and her husband have 5 adult children and 16 grandchildren, ranging in age from 3 – 20. Connect with Marion on her website or via Facebook.
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