Thursday, October 01, 2015

Sign-post People

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 NASB

The spiritual discipline of prayer and spending time in God's presence are foundational to hearing God's Voice, as well as essential components to serving where God chooses. Discernment can come through experiences and the sign-post people that God allows to cross our paths. Expected and unexpected people influence our journey. From parents to adults-like-parents, siblings to friends of siblings, school teachers and Sunday School teachers, friends and almost-friends, either brief or lasting, historical or current, God uses these encounters to speak to our lives.
God speaks regularly to us through the people who speak to us about the things of God. Henri Nouwen, Discernment
Just this week I saw a post on Facebook from someone I grew up with who was unexpectantly reunited with one of her sign-post people. Her mother recently entered a rehab facility after a fall, and the roommate happened to be her Pre-K Sunday School Teacher
She writes: I sat down and said hello and told her who I was. I mentioned her daughter's name... I told her I used to cry for my mother every Sunday, and she would sit with me at the bottom of the church stairs, waiting for mama. She never looked at me but said, "If you cried, I am sure I held you in my lap and hugged you".
How frequently we forget or dismiss or overlook our many God-appointments; these are the people God sends with words of encouragement, applause for effort, signposts pointing to truth, reminders of His presence, hugs for tears. 

Sign-post people offer new perspectives, ask different questions, and suggest other options. Sometimes they bring opportunities for us, like a chance to give more, to step outside ourselves, to sense another's loneliness, to hear a deeper need, to respond like Christ. God embraces us with love and encouragement but also has designed us for purpose - His purpose. God asks us to take our God-given talents, to reach out into the world, to share Jesus. 

Whether the sign-post marks the way with a stranger or friend, lasts for a season or a lifetime, comes full of mystery or simply as a reminder, God is speaking to you and me. Could it be a completely new direction? a familiar path with a new attitude? a change of location? a closer connection within a current community? a new passion? renewed passion? "God speaks regularly to us through people who talk to us about the things of God." (Nouwen)  Are we listening? Let's not miss our sign-post people! ~dho