The purpose behind the Good News! articles every week is to show that God is real, that He loves us, is actively working in our lives and wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. Recently there have been some great examples of this, one at the University of Michigan vs. Iowa basketball game in the Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., another at a local doughnut shop and a third at our gym! Imagine! Of all places for God to work!
It was while Al and I were sitting just behind the student section watching the basketball game that the first unusual thing happened. During a lull in the game, there was a t-shirt toss when free shirts thrown out to the fans in the Michigan stands. Suddenly a t-shirt came flying through the air, tumbled over dozens of outstretched hands reaching for it and landed with a plop in my lap! What a surprise!
As I unrolled the soft yellow ball, the U of M motto was revealed: “Re2pect Above All.”
While it was unclear why the s had been replaced by a 2, the general meaning of the importance of respecting others couldn’t be misunderstood. It was a confirmation of my desire to stop judging people and to become more accepting of them. God caught my attention that night in a very creative way!
Another interesting thing happened when I was standing next to Al at the counter of a doughnut shop. While he was picking out goodies for a meeting the next morning, I happened to notice the familiar face of a waitress at a Greek diner where we had eaten a couple of times.
We chatted a bit and then she shared the urgent need of another place to live due to a dangerous situation at her current residence. Before leaving, there were just a few moments to say a quick prayer, encourage her and give her a small booklet of emergency contact numbers made available through our church. God’s amazing timing! Seeing a familiar face in this huge metropolitan area is highly unusual; and we very rarely go in to bakeries.
God’s timing again was evident one afternoon when Al and I were at the gym. He is a faithful attender; but it is a rather unpredictable occurrence for me. On this particular day there was a lady in the women’s locker room who had forgotten to pick up her cell phone and had left it on the bench where she was sitting. I kept an eye on the phone, hoping that she would come back.
When a few minutes passed and she didn’t return, I decided to take it up to the main desk. As I was starting to tell a staff member what had happened, the same lady came through the front door of the gym. I stopped her, held out the phone and said, “Are you looking for this?”
She gasped, breathed a big sigh of relief and said, “Thank you! You just made my day!” Then she gave me a hug and hurried back out the door with phone in hand. Someone was watching over her! Maybe God used me to help her realize that.
If we could only be more aware of His presence in our lives, I am sure that we would see His hand at work in all kinds of ways. There are many wonderful illustrations of this in the Bible. A favorite story of mine is that of Zacchaeus, a tax collector who had heard that Jesus was coming through his city. Because he couldn’t see over the heads of the people crowding around Jesus, Zacchaeus climbed up into a tree to get a better view.
How surprised he must have been when Jesus stopped underneath the tree, called him by name and told him to come down, that He wanted to stay at Zacchaeus’ house that day! Meeting Jesus was a life-changing encounter for the tax collector — God reaching out to man and man reaching out to God.
Dear Father, please open our spiritual eyes and help us to see Your presence; open our ears, that we might hear your voice; and open our minds that we might know Your will for us. Thank You for Your outstretched arms! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who dwell on earth — he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.” — Psalm 33:13-15 NIV
“The Lord is righteous in all of his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” — Psalm 145:17 NIV
Judy Lowery lives in Michigan. The Good News column appears regularly in The Porterville Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.