God Surprises

I was at a Wycliffe Associates event out in Phoenix this past week end. Almost 200 people attended the event. On the first evening I was a table host for eight people. Only four seats were  taken as we prayed and began the meal. Then I saw a couple approaching. I looked up to greet them and froze in shock. They looked at me and started in recognition. These friends—Chris and Alexis–from Columbus, Ohio, I had not seen for more than a year and a half. And right behind them were two more friends—Brittney and Will!

“Tabitha!” They exclaimed! “We were just talking about you and wondering if you would be here!” I had no idea they were even on the invitation list. We celebrated our reunion and quickly caught up on news.

As the week end continued we found opportunities to connect, share God’s passion on our hearts, and inspire one another in our journey with God.

 I am awed by how God chooses to use us in each other’s lives. I love how he connects his body. The writer of Hebrews says this in chapter 10: 23-24: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”  The blessing of re-connection this week end, has challenged my thinking again on this passage. How do we encourage one another regularly toward love and good deeds?

One obvious way we do this is by recounting the goodness of God to one another. As I share what God has done in my life with another believer, I am testifying to his goodness and his faithfulness. I am spreading the conviction. I am bolstering my friend’s faith.

Another way we do this is by listening as they share the goodness of God in their lives. As Chris and Alexis shared with me their wedding story (they weren’t even dating last time I saw them) I was awed by their purposeful missional focus during the ceremony.  I felt “spurred on” by their testimony.

We also encourage one another by sharing in fun times. During the week end we went out on a gondola ride together, sat around the pool, and star gazed from the rooftop at night. These simple times of rest and enjoying God’s creation, refreshed my soul.

And we encourage one another by praying with and for each other. As we said our good byes on Sunday, Chris said, “Let us pray for you before you go.” I gladly agreed. My heart and soul were touched by the power of God’s love as Chris prayed over me.

Finally, we spur one another on to good works by reminding one another of our common mission and future glory. Will has begun plans for a Scripture translation with Somalian refugees who live in his city.   Brittney is planning to work with Chris on a training event with their churches. We know the glory that awaits us. We expect His return. And we work together to invite as many as we can to join us in that expectancy.

I am not only encouraged and refreshed, I’m also reminded that God does His beautiful work in and through his children, not only to the world, but within his family! And I’m thankful to be a part of that kind of loving connection.



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