This morning, I prepared to go a men’s breakfast full of strangers with a case of butterflies. I had been invited to this meeting and I did not have the six dollar cover charge required for my breakfast. Instead, I had three crumpled dollar bills and a few coins. The rest was going to have to go on my debit card. Doubt and fear grew in me – should I even go? Do I fit in with these men who most likely did not scrape their piggy banks to attend a men’s breakfast?
God always surprises me and humors me. Right after I arrived, I paid with my paper and coins – I didn’t need the debit card after all! I looked across the room and there was a table full of men I’d met in another group. They were all happy to see me there, and I was surprised to see them there as well. The enemy certainly could have forced me to sit this one out at home and do my quiet time alone. But I needed the fellowship of other men. And I was ready to jump into the deep end of the fellowship pool!
And then God surprised me again…We stood at the counter waiting for our chance to fill our coffee cups. One of my new friends turned to me and said, “Doug, I want you to meet a friend of mine.” He took me over to his friend and did the most beautiful thing. It was just over a week ago, I had sat with this new friend in a coffee shop. He had told me his story of ministry and I had shared mine. Knowing this man only a week, I began to hear him say….”Doug and his family are preparing to go into missions work in Italy at the end of this year…” Then, what happened next was pure divine magic.
My new friend told his friend in complete clarity about our ministry in Italy , about our needs, and how his friend could help. Unrehearsed, he laid out the whole story. He told the story in such an engaging way that his friend listened intently. And, there it was stretched open wide – a door to a new relationship, and I had nothing to do with it. All I did was stand there and listen. Dumbfounded and speechless.
God, through my new friend, was handing me provision. God was smiling the whole time as he picked my jaw up from the floor. I gently heard Him say to me, “I don’t need your help to send you to Italy. I can do this all by Myself through other people you’ve just come to know. Or, through people you’ve never even met.” This was a big moment for me. A pivotal exchange where the goosebumps turned into greater faith in the God who said, “Go!”
After I left the breakfast, I got up the nerve to call this new friend of my new friend. What? He was quiet on the other line, certainly wondering why I was calling him. So, I took the lead and asked if we could have lunch. He of course wanted to know…”What exactly are we discussing here?” Then I told him, “I would love to talk to you about our journey but first I just want to know your heart and hear what God is doing in your life. If that leads to a support relationship, great, but if not, we have had a good lunch.” We are having lunch next week! And in this moment my friend’s work was complete.
This experience illustrated the power of having someone advocate for you. The encounter bolstered my faith not only in God, but in others as well. It washed me in the stream of community. That is what my friend did for me today in no time flat. He probably doesn’t even know how much he blessed me. I am seeing a God who cares about every detail. And to think, when I started my day my biggest concern was about how to pay.