I don’t like randomness. I much prefer orderly, well-planned preparation for whatever happens in my life. That’s why I groaned when God spoke to me in Walmart yesterday.
It was a day of random things.
A Random Reading
Something on the internet about how God is at work in the lives of people of the Middle East, even giving them visions of Jesus that open their hearts to him. Visions. Those are pretty random things. A warning light should have gone on with this realization, but I forgot the reading and went on about my business.
A Random Trip to Walmart
I didn’t really have to go, but I had time that day, and there were some things I needed to buy. So I went.
A Random Prayer
On the way it occurred to me that I was spending my day on trivial things. Things of no eternal consequence. How many of my days are like that? Too many, I thought. Not good. So I had this (random) urge to ask the Lord to use me for his purposes, amongst the common ordinariness of my life. I asked, and then forgot about it.
A Random Thought
As I wandered the aisles of Walmart, my attention was drawn to a beautiful young Middle Eastern couple shopping together at the back of the store. He was so handsome. She was so pretty. A striking pair. I was walking away from them, heading to the front with my purchases, when the random thought came into my mind: “I want you to tell that young couple that I love them.”
This is not the first time God has made me do something like this. Every once in a while, when I’m out of the house, he asks me to tell someone that he loves them. Total strangers. It’s always hard. So embarrassing. So random. I’m sure they will think I’m crazy. I mean, it’s a good thing for them to know, but there are better ways of getting the message across, I’m sure.
So this day I did what I always do. I kept going down the aisle away from the beautiful young couple, praying for them, promising God I would continue to pray for them until the crazy urge to tell them he loves them went away.
I don’t know why I keep trying this line on God. It never works. It just gets crazier. Once I actually had to go back to a store a week later, look up the clerk that God loved, explain to them that I had been disobedient and that I had to come back to give them the message. A week late.
But, in spite of my past history, I tried it again, and when that didn’t work, I followed up with my usual back-up plan, the fleece thing: “Lord, if I run into them again, I’ll tell them.”
By this time I was at the front of the store and I chose (randomly) a line at the checkout counter.
The person in front of me had a problem. This was not a random thing. People in front of me at checkout counters always have problems that take a long time to solve. Never fails. So I waited patiently in line, until the beautiful young Middle Eastern woman walked up and began putting her items out on the counter next to me.
I was cornered at this point. I had to obey. So I walked up to her, excused myself, and gave her the introductory line: “I know this is going to sound really weird, but I have this strong feeling that I have to tell you . . .”.
I must have mumbled. She frowned and leaned over: “What??”
So I repeated it, more distinctly this time: “I think God wants me to tell you that Jesus loves you very much. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true.”
She straightened and her face lit up with a beautiful smile. “Oh no. I don’t think it’s weird. I BELIEVE in such things. Thank you for telling me. It makes me feel so good to hear that.”
Well, we both felt good. I don’t know if she knows Jesus yet, but I know he knows her, and that day he wanted to touch her through me, randomly.
Or maybe not randomly. I wonder. Maybe there are no random acts of evangelism in God’s great plan. Maybe there are just random moments when I remember why I’m here.