4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people[a]in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world.10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
One Saturday I was having a problem logging into a site, that I had used many times over in the past few years to make purchases for my business.
After trying unsuccessfully several times, I decided to just call the company in hopes that someone would answer the phone. I didn’t think that anyone usually worked there on Saturdays, but I was willing to give it a shot in hopes that just maybe, someone other than a machine would answer the phone. I know now however, that it was the Holy Spirit prompting me to just call anyway.
After a few rings an older gentleman answered the phone. His phone calls were being rerouted to him at his home, instead of going to the usual business address. When he answered, I asked for his wife, who is usually the one that takes my calls and handles my purchases. He informed me that she was working at a Conference out of town and would be gone for a couple of weeks. I proceeded at that point to tell him about the problem I was having logging in. He told me that he would be happy to assist me.
After quite some time had passed, I told him that I was sorry to have taken so much of his time. He assured me that it was no problem at all. He actually made it a point to tell me that twice. He also said ” you are not bothering me, and I am in no hurry.”
I could tell that, not only was he a kind and friendly gentleman, but he was also a very patient man who was sounding a bit lonely.
Because it had taken so long, I was pretty eager to get off the phone, as I had other things that were pressing. For some reason I heard more than the actual words that he spoke. It was as though the Holy Spirit helped me to really tune in, and listen more intently to hear, not just his words but the tone in which he spoke them. It seemed to me that he was not ready to get off the phone, and that he needed to talk. Something made me start to slow down inside, and just take a minute to hit my pause button. He needed someone to listen, he just wanted to talk. I did not know him from Adam, but I knew in my heart that God was working in all of this somehow.
As the older gentleman started to talk again, he shared with me that he was actually the owner of the company, and that he was the one who started the company thirty-five years ago. I could tell by listening to the inflections in his voice that he loved talking about his business. He shared information about his years in the business and he even told me how much he loved and looked forward to visiting with the women from my company because we were always so happy.
For a minute I thought that this gentleman just sounded like a lonely person just wanting to talk. As I continued to listen he shared with me that one month ago he was placed in Hospice Care. My heart sank! He had been so pleasant and visited as though everything in his life was great. I instantly wondered, what my attitude would have been under the same set of circumstances.
I saw this as my opportunity to share God with him. As I began to share with him, he then begin to share with me how many close calls he had encountered earlier in his life. He told me that one time he was in a horrible motorcycle crash, and on another occasion his car crashed into an eighteen-wheeler. He shared with me that, during both times he knew God had an angel on his shoulder.
Before I hung up the phone I felt a tugging at my heart to pray for him. When I asked him if it would be OK for me to pray for him before I got off the phone, you could tell in the way he responded that this was a surprise. It was the last thing he expected to hear from someone calling in about logging in to make a purchase, and I can assure you, that when I made the call I had no idea that the conversation would go down this road. I had no idea that this was actually a Divine appointment.
His reply was ” that would be great”! I could hear a smile in his voice as he answered. I asked his name and said a short prayer and he thanked me.
I have thought of him everyday since, I have asked myself things like, is he really ready to meet God? He told me in our conversation that he knew God. I must tell you based on the things he said it sounded like to me that he had made total peace with God and himself.
Other things I have wondered of course is how much longer will he have. I have thought of his wife and how loosing him will affect her, as well as their family and their business.
So many times, we are so busy with our own agendas and we just don’t want to stop or slow down long enough to be available to someone else as they are going through the hurts, pains and devastations that this life can bring. We are so consumed with what we want when there are others all around us that need so much more than we do. Although I was busy and working on some things that were very important to me, it seemed like absolutely nothing in comparison to his need and what he was going through.
Since that day I have thought several times about the times that Jesus was on His way to a certain destination, but He stopped to heal those in need of healing. I certainly could not heal the gentleman I spoke with, but I could certainly pause and pray to the one who could heal him. I don’t know how much time he has, but what comfort a prayer can be to those who are suffering or facing uncertainties.
Today I want to challenge you to periodically press the pause button in your life and look around and actually take a moment and pay close attention to see who has a need greater than your own. Sometimes it’s not a material need. Sometimes it’s just giving fifteen to thirty minutes or an hour to hold a hand, say a prayer or just comfort someone by listening.
I was blessed as much or more on that Saturday as the man I prayed for, because I knew in my heart his heart was touched by something so simple as me taking the time to listen and say a prayer with him.
Listen for God’s voice, and when you hear Him prompting you to stop or slow down, to speak, or not to speak, don’t disregard it. He just may be guiding you to help one of His children who are in desperate need of a compassionate ear to listen and a strong shoulder to lean on.
Let us remember that our purpose for living is to glorify God, and many times that comes through serving others. When your heart is truly available and surrendered to His will, hitting pause will be no problem.
Matthew 14:13-14 (NLT)
13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Luke 7:12-15 (NLT)
12 A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. 14 Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.”15 Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.
Matthew 9:35-38 (NLT)
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”