Posted by Will on 1st February 2022
Last week, in Community groups, we learnt more about prophecy and a key part of that was making space to listen, 'Be still and know that I am God'. Psalm 46:10.
Interestingly in other versions of the Bible, this verse is translated 'cease striving, stop fighting and know that I am God'. This struck me this week. It challenged me to be more disciplined and intentional in quiet time, being still, stopping the striving and trying to control things but start listening.
God spoke gently in two ways this week, which I found so remarkable. No massive voices, but thoughts (which I knew were not from me) entered my mind with a conviction to act.
In one situation, during a discussion about a change in career direction with a non-Christian friend, I was given a verse that really helped them as I shared it with them. This felt closely linked to my friend's decision. This felt brave, but we are learning in our community group to go for it, so I just did it and I'm glad I did. My friend was too.
Secondly, I was prompted to go to Asda this week, of all places! Over the last few weeks I've noticed some homeless people outside, so after praying into this, I was under the impression God was telling me to go and invite whoever was there to Connect Cafe for a coffee, some food, and friendship.
With my daughter Jess in the sling, I headed over, nervously, to Asda. No one was outside. I progressed to Marks and Spencer. Come on Lord, is there anyone here I should speak to? Then I meet Madeline* who sells The Big Issue 6 days a week across various locations. I approached Madeline and offered her a hot drink, she smiled and mentioned how cold she was so a hot chocolate would be amazing.
Madeline was interested in Jess (who was looking particularly cute in her hat) and so I asked if she was local and lived with family. I noticed that Madeline became saddened. She told me about her 1 year old boy, and her 4 year old girl and how they miss their father as he's left recently. She mentioned she had very little for her children and is at the end of her tether from standing in the cold, and still unable to provide for her family.
There was a sense of hopelessness in her demeanor that I won't forget. I asked her to tell me everything the family needed, and made a list. Touched by this, I knew I could do something via connections with Leeds Baby Bank. I messaged our childrens and families worker with the request to submit an urgent referral on behalf of the family.
I explained to the lady that within a week or two, a cot bed, new mattress, bedding, clothes, formula, toiletries, a single pram and toys for both children will be delivered to her home. Her eyes filled as she said 'God bless you'. I could only respond, "God bless you, Madeline'.
We chatted a little more, and I invited her to Connect Cafe if she was in the area on a Monday. Feeling encouraged, I walked home to reflect. What a blessing from God! A mother has gone home knowing she'll have what she needs for her family.
What did I learn?
1) Make space for God to speak. Listen. Be patient and make space. 'Be still and know that I am God' - this is so important to for being led by the spirit.
2) Be open to twists and turns in the journey - our plans are often different to God's.
3) Know that a tiny gesture and a conversation can have a huge impact for someone. You never know where a conversation might lead.
May I encourage you - social action does not always take a project plan, a risk assessment, or a detailed proposal. Lives can be changed from a chat over a brew. We are well connected to lots of resources to help people as a church, and can make referrals to various organisations; more on that to follow in the coming weeks.
If you feel you have ideas to bless others, have situations on your heart, and would like to chat through ideas, please feel free to get in touch with Will.
*Name changed to protect the lady's identity.
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