When life rains trials, God may be closer than we expect. Why am I surprised by this? After all, I am His child, and He is in control of my life no matter what crayon colors the sky.
Here is a recent experience that illustrates “the closeness of God.”
Yesterday I received difficult news. Circumstances rained down all around me—the kind that that I have no control over. Later today, there will be an important meeting regarding those difficult circumstances.
To prep for my day, I look up the words of Psalm 25 on my I pad while I wait for my hairdresser. After reading the words of the Psalm, I pray silently and resolve not to eat until the important meeting is over. My rationale is this. For every time my stomach growls, I will experience it as an echo of my anxiety, which is in great need of being lassoed and consistently handed back to God.
My hairdresser, a fellow Christian and knowledgeable about my circumstances, follows me to the shampoo bowl and mentions her commitment to pray for me later during the afternoon meeting time. My eyes tear up at her expression of compassion. Then moments later, while I rest my head over the shampoo bowl to let my conditioner soak in, another woman is placed beside me to have her hair washed.
This regal woman, a total stranger to me, begins speaking in God-glowing terms about her prayer intercessor group who recently prayed for a relative with blood clot issues. This man underwent treatment in a hospital in Germany while they prayed in Texas. The prayer group later learned that the man passed a clot from his lungs and through his heart and………he lived!
His German doctors, not typically a demonstrative group, congratulated and hugged him, and THEY claimed it was a miracle.
Even as this regal woman spoke and recounted the miracle, ANOTHER MIRACLE was occurring. It was the miracle of God demonstrating His closeness to ALL three of us—a group well extended beyond German soil.
In the exact words–words I needed to hear about what God says concerning my situation—the woman spoke a summary of her miracle story. She spoke in complete ignorance of my conversation with the hairdresser that had occurred just minutes prior. Here is what the regal woman said.
“People say that all these things are just coincidence, not miracles, but we know God is in control and He has the power to do what we cannot imagine in every detail of our lives.”
She said a lot more good stuff that I can’t recall, because I was so overwhelmed with THOSE WORDS spoken aloud within my earshot and in the timing of my current situation.
What kind of a “close by” God is this?
He is the God who sits at the shampoo bowl and lifts up one woman’s head, by the gracious telling of a story of His actions, spoken yet by another woman, while a third woman maintains the calendar and arena for such “chance” encounters in the first place!
In this miracle of affirmation to my heart, God might as well have been IN the shampoo bottle. He was that close. I stole a glance at my hairdresser and saw her eyes wide with amazement.
God knows that when it comes to worrying; I tend to keep at it. He’s been trying to change this in me. Experts say it takes several weeks for a person to develop a new habit. Even in my poor habit of lifelong worrying, when I take this teeny, tiny step of prayer and faith in my hairdresser’s shop, God hears my cry!
He did not give me a positive answer on the big issue, yet, but He DID extend the immediate comfort of His presence.
What happened next?
I regained enough composure to allow my words to become coherent. Then I walked over to the regal woman who was having her hair rolled and said thank you.
I told her how her words affirmed in me a message God needed me to hear. She sweetly grabbed my hand and prayed for me aloud. Some of her prayer language I understood, and some I did not, but all were addressed to the God I love.
Without knowing any specifics of my situation, she admonished me, telling me how much God loves me and that there is nothing I can do to make Him love me more, and she reminds me that He has a plan for me.
She used almost the same words that I am usually quite adept at telling to everyone else. In this word echo, I felt God’s presence, and I am spooked.
When I left, I sat in my car in the rain and glanced at my side view mirror and read these words, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”
I laughed and snapped a picture. Objects are not the main thing that is closer than what we might see in the mirror.
“The secret of the sweet satisfying companionship of the Lord have they who fear and worship Him…”
Psalm 143:8 (My sweet daughter Bethany’s verse for me)
“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning. Show me where to walk for I give myself to you.”
(The verse proof that nothing that happens to us “surprises” God. Only WE are surprised.)
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Luke 12:6-7 (the bird’s & hairdresser verse)
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Psalm 145:18 & 19
“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.”