It was an ordinary Tuesday, and my Maytag washing machine had decided to agitate in the wrong kind of way. Tired of the endless banging and roaring (because there’s always a load of laundry going at my house), I had purchased a new machine and was waiting for it to be delivered. Necessary but unglamorous work, because even when it’s a Speed Queen, you don’t feel like royalty using it.
When Al the appliance man walked into my home, I felt as if I’d been pinged from heaven. Now, I do not consider myself a charismatic or mystical sort of believer. I thrive on solid doctrine and err on the more logical, deductive side of reason. But what I felt as this older gentleman walked through my door, with hands callused thick from years of labor and head hung heavy over broad sloped shoulders, could only be explained as the Holy Spirit.
A few days before, I had hit a crossroads in my faith. I was tired of talking to people with what felt like a divided heart. Being a Christian for nearly 30 years, I’d grown frustrated by my inconsistent ability to share Jesus with others, by many a stalled attempt to weave Him into holy interactions.
If I was at church or Bible study, it was easy to boast in the Lord, worship freely and pray aloud. But put in a room with acquaintances or strangers at social functions, the erudite and elite, or even with old friends with whom I’ve stumbled in years past, the words just didn’t come as easily. I’d transform from chatty to tongue tied almost instantly when it came to sharing about spiritual matters. Asking a friend to bow her head to pray before sharing a meal felt awkward (even hypocritical) when she’s known me since my teens, when my walk with Jesus was almost invisible and, at times, even contrary to my beliefs.
Crying out to the Lord to help me be bolder and more authentic, a thought crossed my mind: what if every conversation I had pointed to Jesus? Not in a forceful, dogmatic sort of way, but in a fluid, natural way that sincerely testified to the work He’s done, and is doing, in my life. In a way that reflected that I was listening and abiding in Him to direct my steps and was honoring the divine appointments He’s constantly arranging.
It’s a wonder He even lets us speak. But God loves to answer prayers like these.
As I watched Al drag the old, broken machine out and roll in the new, shiny queen, two Bible verses immediately came to mind that I knew God wanted me to share. It was as clear as if I’d heard it audibly. Oh Jesus, You know evangelism is not my gift. Yet isn't this the very thing I had recently talked with God about - following His lead and letting Him be part of every interaction? As I waited for Al to complete the installation, I prayed to God to help me obey and to show me how He wanted me to do it. I needed connect-the-dot instructions.
My spirit grew calmer and the Lord assured me that Al was His son but was weighed down by guilt. Oh how I could understand that. I was clearly the girl for this assignment. I slipped some notecards and a red pen out of my desk and began to write on the first card:
"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). And then on the second card, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).
Wash me. The irony wasn’t lost on me. The Lord wanted me to tell the man installing my washing machine that though, like me, he was soiled and stained from sin, the blood of Jesus had washed him clean. Al knew it, but he needed to hear it and receive it again. He needed to be washed by the power of God’s word.
Don’t we all need the life-giving reminder that the mighty, merciful God has washed us clean?
When Al came into my kitchen to tell me he was finished installing the new appliance, I walked up to him and thanked him for his service. Then, with palms sweating and heart racing, I simply told him that in my home we love Jesus and I felt the Lord wanted me to share these verses with him. I held the notecards out until he took them, and then I held my breath.
Al looked down and read the red-scripted letters and then looked right at me. Holding the cards high as if testifying and with tears welling up in his coal-black eyes choked out, “This is everything.” He nodded his head, like he was simultaneously agreeing and offering up a kinetic kind of prayer.
Amen. Yes, this Gospel is everything we could never earn and everything we could ever need. It is forgiveness and grace that flows like living water from a well that never runs dry. It is divine truth that washes over us again and again and again. And once you’re washed by the blood of Jesus, you’re clean. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Only Jesus could arrange a divine meeting like that. Only Jesus could have told me exactly what Al needed to hear. Only Jesus could have given me the courage to minister to this man who towered more than a foot above me. Glory and relief! Jesus answered my prayer, and I didn't even have to leave my house. He really does go before us and behind us and surround us like a shield of faith when we abide in Him.
Jesus gave up His life for us, for the very purpose of making us holy and clean, to present us to himself without a stain or spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27). He is, indeed, ever present, ever alive, ever active in every detail of our existence. We need only to abide in Jesus, waiting, watching and expectant of how His truth will wash over us today.
*This article is the first part of a series on divine appointments. Read next week's Abide in Jesus to learn more on how you can let Jesus be part of your everyday interactions.*