Being Obedient to God's Call
By Jennifer Edwards
The doorbell rang. I answered the door and was surprised to find a long-time friend whom I had not seen or spoken to in several years. Wondering what brought her to my door after all this time, I invited her in. We chatted easily, catching up on kids, life, and the usual topics among women; it seemed purely a social visit. That is, until my son came home, much earlier than expected.
I thought it was more than a little odd when he came outside and settled in-between us with lunch and drink in hand. I’m not sure what prompted him to do that; I mean what kid comes and joins a conversation between two women? “Maybe he’s just being friendly,” I thought. After all, he had known her since he was a little boy and seemed genuinely happy to see her.
The two talked casually for several minutes. Soon, small talk turned into soul talk, and some deep questions came up. She began challenging him with some hard issues—his faith, what’s most important to him, the things he’d been doing lately, and so on. I sat in disbelief, watching and listening as a modern-day miracle unfolded before my eyes. You see my son had made it clear to me that he wanted no part of religion, so the subject of faith had been difficult to discuss with him. That day, many of the things I hadn’t had the courage or strength to say came directly from her lips, some very specific to my silent prayers. I was stunned.
How was this possible? There was only one answer—God answered prayer through my friend’s obedience. I kept expecting my son to excuse himself to go back inside, to escape her questions and the tough things she was saying. Instead, he stayed and listened, responding to her as best he could. Evidently, what she was saying reached him. Maybe it was the authority in her voice! Her point was clear: “It’s okay to work on figuring out what life is all about, just make sure you bring God along with you on the journey. Dig in. Read His Word. Pray. God remembers you and loves you deeply.”
Eventually, he did go back inside, and we were overcome by what had taken place. She explained that she hadn’t known why she came, only that she had felt God’s prompting to turn down my street on her drive home. She, too, figured it was time to catch up and re-establish our friendship, but her mission was about my son instead. God wanted her to communicate with him in a personal way. Her obedience served and honored God tangibly as she delivered a much-needed message to a young man trying to find his way, and at the same time encouraged a mom in anguish over her son. I’m eternally grateful.
Later, after I’d had time to process everything, I was overcome with emotion and gratitude for what had taken place. I considered what her obedience had done for all of us: for her, for myself, my son, for God, and for others, as she set the example for what true obedience looks like and how it works in God’s economy. How many times have I been tapped on the shoulder to do something, but shrugged it off? “I’m too busy today,” I think to myself. “Someone else will do it.” I learned that God works to answer prayers through the obedience of His people. That our response to one of His promptings could be the answer to someone’s specific prayer—it’s our chance to be used by God, to be a messenger in the flesh serving Him in a very tangible, personal way.
Because of my friend’s obedience, many people were blessed and will continue to be blessed. I was both encouraged and reassured that God hears my prayers, even those I can’t express in words. The Bible says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Rom. 8:26). Psalm 139:2-4 tells us that He perceives our thoughts from afar, completely knowing our very words before they touch our tongue. I can testify that this is true. All of the things she said to my son were specific thoughts and prayers I had issued to God over the course of months.
My son learned that God loves him and is still pursuing him, even though his beliefs have become somewhat muddled with today’s philosophies. His visible response and interest in what my friend was telling him and the authority, with which she spoke, proved to me that he was encountering the living God at that moment. We were on holy ground as she quoted Matt. 7:7-12, which promises that when we ask, seek, and knock on the door of heaven, truth will be opened to us. The timing of the message was critical, smack dab in the middle of his search for meaning and his place in this world. God knew he needed to be reminded to turn to Him, to involve Him on his quest. Both my son and I can testify that these verses are true. I’ve had a chance to engage him since her visit and he confessed to me that he has started to pray, admitting to some changes that need to be made in his life. And, God delivered His truth to me when my friend arrived at my door, a direct answer to my constant asking and knocking!
As is everyone who is obedient to God’s call, my friend was blessed tremendously. God used her in a tangible way, which will likely make it even easier to obey the next time God prompts her. Sharing her experience with others will undoubtedly lead to more people praising God, encouraging them to heed the call to obey. Second Cor. 9:13 says, “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” And, as more people obey, more will experience answered prayers as a result of that obedience!
Most of all, God was honored. His servant was obedient as His message was delivered to encourage and equip His faithful ones. In the meantime, there is a story to tell and, when this young man responds in faith; God will get ALL the glory through this testimony.
The next time you feel a nudge, a prompting, by the Holy Spirit to do something for someone else, I encourage you to follow the example my friend set. Even if you don’t understand it at first, just take courage and go. It can be as simple as making a telephone call to a person that God puts on your mind, which just might answer the prayer, “God, I’m lonely,” for one of your friends. Perhaps you’re the one to deliver the message, “You look beautiful today,” to a teenage girl that feels ugly and unwanted. Or, how about knocking on your neighbor’s door to see if they are all right? You might be restoring his or her faith, answering the prayer, “God, does anybody care?” You’ll never know what God wants to do through you to touch someone’s life in an amazing, unimaginable way.