Often I write on the issue of staying focused. There are always moments when incidents and conversations distract us. Events out of our control and distractions of this world can take us away from God's agenda. Recently, however, I found myself in the middle of a day that was totally out of my control, but meant for God's glory.
I decided to travel from Fresno to San Diego on Amtrak, my first train excursion in more than two decades. I'm sitting in Fresno when I hear the announcement that my train has been delayed because of "traffic congestion on the rail." A second delay was announced. I finally boarded the train and was on my way. Everything was going smoothly until I reached Los Angeles only to discover I had missed my train to San Diego.
I rushed to the customer service counter where I ran into what I can only describe as an "iceberg." After telling her my plight, she looked at me, pointed her finger to a sign above the counter and asked if I could read. I quickly retreated from what I considered the "customer intimidation counter," bought a sandwich and found a seat while waiting for the next train.
A young man with a child was sitting across from me. We began a conversation and in just a few minutes, Elmer, an immigrant, opened his heart filled with pain. It seemed his wife had left, he was out of work and was caring for his three-year-old son. Elmer was on his way to visit his parents. The only thing I knew to do was share God and His comforting grace, even in what seemed a desperate and hopeless situation.
Elmer told me he was a believer, but had drifted far from God. I told Elmer that the Father is waiting for his return. Elmer said he knew and understood that, but asked for my continued prayers. As he and his son walked away to catch their train, I knew why I missed my connection. All my frustration that day was part of God's plan to share hope with Elmer and his son.
Please don't forget that your detour may be an opportunity to connect with a stranger in the middle of a frustrating day. My emotions that day were raw and I was ready to take on Amtrak's administration.
Instead, God used me to remind Elmer to "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
All around us there are agendas. My agenda is to do the will of Him who called, sent and encourages me to take a moment at a train station to tell Elmer about a loving Father who cares a great deal about him.
I encourage every California Southern Baptist to fill each conversation with the hope we find in God's Word. Do not allow anyone to highjack your conversations by imposing their agendas on your mission to share Christ. Remain faithful!
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