They say hindsight is 20/20. I used to be annoyed by this saying because usually when you see your past in 20/20 you see how dumb, wrong, or blind you were in a situation. One day a friend of mine challenged my perception of hindsight 20/20. Why does it always have to be a negative thing? Why can’t you use it to connect the dots to see how something magnificent was mapped out in your life to get you to this place and time? Could I spot Jesus in disguise as I reflected on my past? I decided to try…
There was a short time in my life when I quit working and decided to do some traveling a.k.a. soul searching. It was great for my soul but terrible for my bank account. I got back home and signed up with a temporary employment agency to make ends meet. The agency booked me for a 2 week receptionist cover.
On the first day the manager was so incredibly rude. She barked a few orders as she walked out the door. She acted like I was inconveniencing her when I tried to ask a question as she sped past the front desk. I’m not easily offended but this lady just got under my skin to say the least. I called the agency and asked if they could send someone else, after all, they were my employer and I felt very uncomfortable around this lady, so surely it wouldn’t be a problem.
They flat out said, “No. It would inconvenience the client.” No regard for me whatsoever!
I found myself up on Monday morning. A bus detour, and no internet connection on my phone lead to me getting completely lost. Typical. So flipping typical. It was cold and I was even more frustrated than ever as I tried to find my way to a stupid office that I didn’t even want to go to!
As I wandered around the twisty streets of a quiet neighbourhood I grumbled to God. “If you want me to go to this place today you better send me a sign because I’m so close to just heading home!” Immediately after I said that I looked up from my pointless phone and saw someone walking ahead of me.
“Excuse me! Hello!” I said as I walked faster to catch up to her.
“Can you please tell me how to get to Red Lane?” I was trying to sound pleasant even though I was sure, in my pessimistic mood, that she wouldn’t know the answer. She turned around and my heart melted. It was Mary! A sweet little old lady from my church. I hadn’t seen her in over a year. She looked at me with the sweetest look of surprise on her face and squealed with excitement as she threw open her arms to hug me. We had a quick chat and she told me exactly how to get to my destination. I laughed to myself as I walked away from Mary… Nice one God… Nice one.
That same day I met the CEO of the company, a kind and fatherly gentleman. He took me under his wing whilst I was temping, told me how to win over my grumpy office manager and kept in touch via email as I hunted for a job.
A few months later we met for a drink after work. He spoke about his daughter and even took a phone call from her to wish her a good night as her mom probably tucked her into bed. I could see he was very fond of his little girl and loved her with all his heart. He didn’t mention his wife until I brought her up.
Drinks turned into dinner and to my surprise he said something about a friend cheating on his wife and how it wasn’t a big deal if the wife never found out. (Yes I realize you are probably thinking I should have known better than to go for dinner with a married man, but in all honesty, my mission was noble, my heart was pure and I really didn’t think I had anything to fear. I thought he was a fatherly figure remember?!)
I spent the next 1.5 hours pouring my heart out in what sounded very close to a sermon on the damage caused to a wife and daughters by a husband/father that is unfaithful. He never once interrupted as I shared personal experiences and my Christian values to illustrate my point. As I finished my long winded speech I wondered what in the world I was thinking?! Did I really just say all this to a man I barely knew? What was he going to say or do now? Did I offend him? What was I even doing at dinner speaking with such conviction when I was all of a sudden fully aware of the role that I was playing by sitting across from this married man… gulp. How did I get here?
By the time the check came Mr CEO said, “I had no idea I would be attending church for dinner. Thank you so much for sharing all this with me. You are truly a remarkable young lady with obviously a very strong faith.” I breathed a sigh of relief.
A few days later I got an email from him thanking me again for all I had said. He hadn’t stopped replaying my mini sermon in his mind and now he was heading out of the country to see his wife and daughter. He stuck with his story that his friend was the unfaithful one but said it was enlightening to hear my side of the argument “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” He was astonished at how much he had learned from our conversation and said he knew he saw something special in me. He explained that he attended church on Sunday’s to make his wife happy, he thought it was a good place for his daughter to learn about morals and values but wasn’t interested in believing in God for himself. After our conversation he decided he still didn’t believe in God per say but hearing my passion for my belief and the integrity and honesty I displayed was encouraging. He wished me all the best in life and I never heard from him again.
The Dust Moment
Hmmm. My friend may have been right… At the time I couldn’t see that these seemingly meaningless string of events could add up to reaching one person that God wanted to deliver a message to. I had to fight pride to make myself show up to a job way below my pay grade and skill set. I had to keep walking in the cold to find the stupid office building that I didn’t want to go to. All along I was convinced that I was reaping from the bad seeds I must have sown in my past. God’s way was supposed to be easy, light and joyful right?
There is no way I could ever have thought up this plan and followed through with it on my own. I would have been disgusted at the possible intentions of this older man and never would have accepted an invitation to dinner, I would have told the grumpy manager to cover the damn phones herself, and I surely would have taken my frustrated self back home that cold day instead of wandering around the streets lost!
I contemplated the events of the last few months, every action, ever step I had made were all part of a bigger plan. God had a message for His son (Mr CEO), He was looking after his daughter (the wife) and protecting his little angel from heart wounds that she could incur if her father agreed with his friend’s thoughtless opinion and chose to act in a similar manner.
The Gold Exchange
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
– Matthew 5:8
I never really grasped the concept of this scripture until this moment. I’m not always pure in heart and I surely am not as naïve as I seem to be in this story but I can see that it was all orchestrated in loving care by God.
If I had done the sensible thing and declined dinner I would never have gotten to speak to Mr CEO about how a father’s actions could damage the heart of a little girl. This man may not have realized that a woman’s intuition usually knows when a her beloved is distracted by another. Most importantly, I would have never gotten to be Jesus in disguise and let Mr CEO hear a tough message in such an unconventional setting.
I got to share my faith and values with a stranger and I hope and pray that I was indeed a mouthpiece for God’s wisdom to Mr CEO. Who could have had that conversation with a man in such a high position? Who was I to think I could say all that I said to him?
You never know who you are talking to and you may not realize the impact your words and actions may have on a person.
I hope to remember stories like these when I’m having a bad day or things seem to not work out as I’ve planned for them to. I hope I am perceptive enough to consider that maybe God is up to something.
The common good deed is seen as feeding the poor and building schools in 3rd world countries. Yes these are good, but what about in daily circumstances? What about the men and women living life in a ‘perfect corporate setting’? Who is Jesus to them? Who is displaying love to the city dwellers and the suburbia lives? If we are not Christ to the people we see everyday who will be? I want to live a life that displays the love of God whether I’m on a mission trip or my morning commute. The only way I can think to accomplish this kind of life is to stay in constant communication with God, allowing Him to guide my decisions even down to the daily routines.
I’m going to try to reflect like this more often because I can think of a few more times where I can connect the dots and see God’s hand gliding through my life, for the benefit of me and most of all for the benefit of others.
I challenge you to take a peak into past events and try to connect the dots and see how God works in your own life.
Be blessed so you can be a blessing.