“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” -Psalm 86:15
It was one of the cooler days of the trip. The skies were gray and the air was dry. We had spent the day working on our service project, everyone was tired. The next thing on the agenda was to meet inside the house for a warm beverage.
Today had been a particularly difficult day for me. I had been struggling with sins of covetousness and pride. I felt like I was at a point that I would boil over at the slightest inconvenience. I needed some time away from the group. So while everyone else went inside, I decided to sit on a small rock wall and have some quiet time.
In my time on the wall, God held me accountable to the sin that was in my life and listened as I confessed it to him. He forgave me according to his promises and then everything was still. I just enjoyed the creation that was before me.
Then something caught my attention; a man working. I could see him out of the corner of my eye. He was clearing away some brush so that he could plant some small saplings. I felt God nudge me to go and help the man. I replied, “but God… I have been working all day and I am tired, can’t I just sit here with you?” his reply was simple, “Nathan, will you be obedient?”
As I stood up I could feel my heart racing in my chest. I walked up to the man, he was a local, and so when I said, “Hello, do you need any help?” His reply was a bunch of words in the local language that I did not understand. So, in what seemed to me an endlessly awkward moment I grabbed one of the tools lying on the ground and began to clear away some of the sticks and ground cover.
While we were working I felt God nudge me again. “Pray out loud for this man,” he said. My response was something along the lines of my first. “But God, this guy is going to think I’m a freak who talks to himself…” God responded the same way he did the first time, “Nathan, will you be obedient?” So I started to pray, I can’t remember the words, but God gave them to me.
The next thing I knew everyone was loading onto the bus to leave. So I shook my new friends hand and then left. I joined the others on the bus and road home and didn’t really think any more about it. Two days later, one of the American men who lives in this area, and had been around to help our tour go smoothly walked up to me. He said, “Nathan, I saw you helping that guy the other day, I just wanted to let you know I thought that was a really cool thing for you to do.” then he said something that knocked the air out of me a little bit and reminded me of the sovereignty of God to bring his news to all people. The man said, “Did you get a chance to talk to him at all? That man you were working with speaks a little bit of English.”
As I reflect on the experience, I realize that it is possible the man heard some or none of what I prayed, but the potential is there all the same. I tell this story to reveal a simple truth that I have discovered about God. Sometimes when he is doing something in you, like asking you to be obedient, he is simultaneously doing something in someone else, like revealing his love to them. God’s work is so commonly multifaceted. He is so good at being God! Hallelujah!