I started writing down my shopping list and I got a very strong nudge to put diapers on the list. Whaaat? Why? I have not needed to buy these for over three years. But it was a strong feeling that I just had to buy diapers for …someone. No harm in putting it on the list.
Once at the store, as I weaved through the aisles, knowing this was my last trip here until after the holidays, I found myself staring at the diapers. As I looked at the prices in the $40 range, I thought how expensive these are! I don’t miss buying these on a regular basis. Was I really going to buy some? That strong nudge again – buy diapers. But what size? I didn’t even know who they were for so how would I know what size to buy? I’m not sure why but I grabbed a box of size 2 diapers. I put them in my cart and just shook my head while smiling to myself like a crazy person.
So, the diapers now sit in the back of my car. Could I drop them off at church – sure. A food pantry could use them or a foster/adoptive care donation center could find someone that has that need. But somehow I feel like I am supposed to be in a situation where I hear of the need and say, “here you go” and hand over the box. When and where will this situation take place? I have no idea.
I told a couple friends who have recently studied with me the “Voice of God” (Priscilla Shirer, highly recommend!) and they were so supportive of me responding to God’s nudge and obeying what he was asking me to do even though it sounded ridiculous. He’s not asked me to build an ark but it is still a strange and very clear request to buy a product I have no need for myself or anyone in my immediate circle needs. I can’t recall another time when He has asked me to do something this odd or this far outside of my comfort zone. It’s actually kind of a cool feeling the longer I think about it.
After my supportive friends cheered me on in my listening to the voice of God they said, “I can’t wait to hear how this story ends!” I’m thinking that I can’t either. Will it be some magical moment? Will it be a story that I can share with others as an example of why it’s so great to listen to God and obey Him – because of the outcome? Will people get goosebumps upon hearing the story?
Maybe; maybe not at all. The doubt and questioning of purpose set in. What if there is no exciting story to tell after this? What if the diapers sit in my car for a few weeks and/or I get impatient and just go ahead and drop them off at church? There’s no exciting ending there. There’s no realization of: this is the moment. This is what God’s voice was leading up to! It would be a pretty boring ending to what seemed like the start of a great story.
And then “it” hit me. Maybe I’m not supposed to know who this box of diapers will bless. Maybe that’s none of my business. Maybe God will take it from wherever I drop the box off to. Maybe my business is to listen to God, do what He asks me to do and let Him handle the rest. After all, I’ve been wanting to give more anonymously so here’s my chance, right?
When is the last time you listened and obeyed, not knowing what the outcome would be? We won’t always get to see what God is doing with the rest of it. Think of the ripple effect that happens when you do a nice gesture for someone; you may never know how far the benefits carry on, you just knew it was right to do the gesture in the first place. When you pay it forward at a fast food drive through, you bless the person behind you by paying for your meal and theirs, but you don’t really get to see how far that goes or how it affected other peoples days. You bless them and keep moving forward. What happens after you pull away is not in your control.
When we step out in faith, when we obey “promptings” or “gut feelings” or other terms for what I believe is God’s voice, we won’t necessarily see the end result. But God knows it all. Perhaps your role in His plan is to fulfill part of it and He’ll take the rest from there. I think He really likes it when we follow his lead regardless of if we understand or will see the outcome – but do it on pure obedience.
If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. Job 36:11
I’m not patient but I’m trying to be. I’m not sure how long this box of diapers will be in my car. I’m waiting. I’m waiting to get direction on what to do with them. I’ll be going to church in two days – do I bring it inside and drop it off? I have a strong feeling if I’m quiet I’ll get that nudge to know what to do next.