From the Archives (originally posted March 22nd 2007)
By Claire Alexander
Isaiah 55:8-11 (New International Version)
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
A friend attending a seminary class was able to drive me from our rural town to the subway, after I learned that this year’s final Bible study for retired alumni was being held in Toronto. The unusual topic, from 1 Kings 22, dealt with Micaiah, the true prophet of the Lord, and 400 false prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18:19). Photo shots of archaeology showed recent findings of Ahab’s palace, verifying 2800 years later the syncretism of his version of the Hebrew faith, and the ivory of his house (22:39).
At the end, as I waited in the entrance of a college closer to the subway, I was musing on my own need for “pure religion,” when a small, unshaven man diffidently approached me in the foyer for money. Though we often see beggars and homeless people on trips to Toronto, this encounter seemed different. The Lord nudged me that this shy little man was my responsibility, regardless of the truth of what he said.
I knew I had nothing in the bank until my month-end pension cheques would come, but a wonderful sense of being God’s messenger filled me, as I gave him my remaining seniors’ subway tickets, except the one to go home on, and unexpectedly found two twoonies ($2-dollar coins) and some change in my pocket. As I searched my bag, I offered the wrapped cookie from the coffee time, saved for lunch on the way home and, regretfully, said that was all I could do.
Then I thought about integrity and purity. My almost-empty change purse had something in it, I knew—and as I gave him the last eighteen cents, I said it came with the love of Jesus, and I was trying to trust Him, too.
Though I’ll never know if anything helped him, I myself needed to go back to zero to start a new journey of faith. The next morning as I got a ride to the Post Office, I suddenly remembered in the car that I had stamps but no money to mail our daughter’s birthday present.
However, at the end of the long farm driveway, the mail flag was up on the green rural mailbox, and the mail had arrived earlier than usual. Inside was an envelope for me, not only with an unexpected cheque for services rendered, but also with an added $25. God’s way of amazing me was more than a 500% return on my few coins, and yet I learned that His ways are not my ways. It doesn’t seem strange to ask Him to help me listen, but when He nudges someone else to meet my need, somehow I find that amazing!
Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV
10 “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven… 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”