Sunday, June 12, 2011
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matthew 6:25 (NIV)
According to the Random House Dictionary 2011, a “defining moment” is “an occurrence that typifies or determines all related events that follow.”
To apply the term in a spiritual context, Dr. Ray England, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Greenville, Kentucky says, “defining moments” are those times in our lives where God’s preparation and opportunity meet to provide a meaningful God experience for others, for the church, or for ourselves.”
Based on Dr. England’s definition, I would like to relate a defining moment that took place in my life many years ago. To this day, what happened has continued to shape my life spiritually and has given me total confidence and trust that God is, and has always been concerned about every detail of my life.
As the parent of a beautiful 12-year old daughter, I struggled to meet my monthly financial obligations. The school district where I worked paid their employees once a month and I was always careful to spend sparingly. Being extremely conscientious of paying my bills on time, there was very little money left to carry us through the remainder of each month.
During one particular week, our church had hosted a visiting evangelist for a series of messages. As a result of the week long revival, many people had accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. These messages had certainly brought life and revival into our midst. The Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of our congregation so dramatically that the result was complete surrender to Jesus. It was an amazing time that I shall never forget.
At the close of the service on Sunday night, our pastor announced that a special “offering" would be taken for the visiting evangelist. I wanted to give something, but was keenly aware of the $20.00 balance sitting in my bank account. Furthermore, that $20.00 was intended to last until my next payday, a whopping 18 days away! I also thought of my doctor appointment which was scheduled for the next day. At that point, I had no way of paying for my visit to the doctor and was already dreading the embarrassment of having to share this news with his office manager.
Even though I knew what my financial situation was, I felt strongly that half of my bank balance should be given to this offering. Joyfully and without worry, I wrote a check for $10.00 and never gave it a second thought.
When I arrived at the doctor’s office the next day, the office manager was busy. I concluded that there would be no mention of my inability to pay until after my appointment was over. My wait time was approximately 20 minutes before being escorted to the examining room.
Only God could have orchestrated what happened next. An unbelievable defining moment was about to happen!!
When the doctor entered the examining room, he spoke politely to me and then apologized for the long wait. This certainly was not an unusual amount of time to wait in a doctor’s office. Somehow, it seemed strange that he was apologizing to me. My doctor then turned to his nurse and said the following, “I tell you what. Since Carolyn has had to wait so long today, let’s take $10.00 off her bill, and she doesn’t have to pay us today. She can mail her payment in whenever it is convenient.” With those words I could hardly keep my composure! Remember, no one in the office had been told that I would be unable to pay for the doctor’s services that day. I walked out of my doctor’s office with a self-addressed envelope in my hand and was told to mail the payment back at my convenience. Please believe me when I say that I was in total shock and disbelief of what had just taken place.
As far as I know my doctor was not a Christian. I believe that because of my obedience in giving what little I could as an offering at church, God showed me in a tangible way that He cared about my needs—both large and small. This was my assurance that He would always provide for me, even in times of anxiousness and uncertainty. Through this experience, I gained total confidence that God is faithful to keep the promises found in His Word.
Saying this brings a smile, because I also think that God loves to surprise us when we least expect it. When we think there is no way out of our circumstances, no matter what they are, He says to us, “Just watch me!” “Nothing is impossible for me.” “Let me give you a defining moment.” It is in these times that our hearts are impacted in such a way that we desire to tell others about God’s faithfulness.
If asked to do so, could you relate specific defining moments in your life where God has proved that He cared about your circumstances? How did He take action to show His love and care for you during this time? How have you been shaped by these moments when God acted on your behalf? If you have not thought about this, please take a moment to do so. I believe that each one of us can find such a moment—or many moments, simply because God is always working on our behalf. He wants to show us His love and bring joy and peace to us until we are finally home with Him.