As a Christian, I believe there are some times when God very specifically directs our steps and sometimes even lets us in on the process. I have been ruminating on my past Sunday's activities and realizing He was certainly speaking to me and guiding my day.
All last week I had been looking forward to attending our new church body, putting in an appearance despite my husband still being overseas, but when I woke up Sunday morning I felt very very strongly I wasn't to go. It seemed so odd to feel so certain it was the wrong direction, so I hemmed and hawed and got all ready to leave, but come that time I just couldn't seem to make myself drive over there.
I remembered a friend in another town had casually mentioned she was doing a drama production at her church that morning and I just had time to drive out there, so away I went. It was a great morning and her pastor preached a sermon I found exceptionally helpful personally. After church my friend and I went for a quick lunch together before she had other committments. It was fun, good to hear that sermon and to see how the congregation put some of the pastor's ideas into action immediately following the service, but none of what happened seemed "deep" enough on any level to explain the complete assurance I had to not go to my own church at home.
Then as I was about to head for the highway back here I suddenly thought of some other friends in that town. We have been close over the years but there have been a lot of stresses in their family life and in their businesses that have been growing stronger, becoming more socially and spiritually debilitating for them over the past year in particular. That is when I clued in that my time in that town was to include an attempt to visit them, however briefly. Instead of feeling excited by this apparent direction from the Lord, I "just knew" it wasn't going to go well, but I knew I had to make the attempt.
Short version: yes, although I did not face personal rejection, it went rather badly. However, I realized that these people are in the same position my own husband and I were in nearly 20 years ago. Our own business was tanking, horrendous stresses were going in the lives of our family members that involved us rather a lot and we just didn't have the ability to relate on a social level, or even participate in the life of the church, very well. It was a horrible time and the best thing anyone could do for us was to simply leave us alone while we sifted and sorted and worked life out between us and God. Neither of us could face so much as sharing a cup of tea with another person for a very long time and we no longer answered our telephone.
On Sunday I saw a similar scenario going on in the lives of our friends. They need space to breathe, to rest from the weekly stresses whenever the smallest opportunity presents itself. They need to enclose themselves with God alone when they are not at work and seek relief and new direction. I needed to know how better to pray for them and how to treat them as they go through this awful time.
As of Sunday, now I know. There are some events coming along in the near future that I wasn't sure about asking them to participate in. Now I know it is not wise to ask them. I could feel their pain so deeply on Sunday afternoon because it is a mirror image of my own pain when I was going through similar disasters.
I feel so relieved to have some answers about what to do with and for these dear ones that have graced my life for many years. They are important to God....important enough that he changed my entire day's plans on Sunday so that I could discover their greatest need and be able to act and pray accordingly for their greatest good. Long term problems may need long term healing process and my husband and I need to be prepared to give them the time alone that they need to regroup and eventually be set free from the bondages they struggle with right now.
Having "been there and done that and bought the tee shirt", it feels good to be able to give them what they truly need right now. Thank you Lord and please, please help my friends the way you helped my husband and I to overcome the problems and develop wonderful new directions and purpose. May they too be so blessed by your amazing grace.