Friday, August 26, 2016

DEVOTION: Travelling with Jesus

"Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" Ephesians 5:1-2

A few weeks back I was fortunate to be travelling through America. I had a conference to attend in North Carolina and decided to extend the trip and do some exploring in Los Angeles and New Orleans. I’d never been to New Orleans before, so I was excited. The fact I was travelling alone had me more excited, so off I went. I started in LA, which was amazing and full of laughter, good food, great fellowship and some really cool God moments. On a high, I waved goodbye and boarded the plane for my next stop, excitement bubbling over. And then I landed in New Orleans.

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, let me tell you, it’s something else. It’s an amazing place, but one of extremes. You have voodoo stores sitting alongside cafes sitting alongside strip clubs sitting alongside children’s clothing stores. Faith, religion and voodooism are side by side, and in some cases, intertwined.There is so much heart and love, yet at the same time you have a restaurant full of people happily ignoring the young homeless girl asking for food by the door. And while this is not a reflection of all New Orleans, it was the part that I was staying in. After a stroll of the surrounding streets of my hotel left me feeling unsettled and uneasy, I sat and prayed. And as I prayed, God whispered into my heart, ‘I will send my angels before you. Go.’ This promise made me pause and ponder what He meant, to which He replied, ‘go be a blessing.’ Right.  

Unsure what ‘be a blessing’ would look like but determined to try, I prayed for opportunities to bless others and God began prompting me to do little things for people. And each time I would hesitate (which I hate to admit was on a regular basis), God would gently nudge me to do more, say more, be more. One night He nudged me to pray for my Uber driver. Now, while I’m comfortable to pray, I’m not really comfortable in asking random strangers if I can pray for them. It’s awkward. But one night as my driver complaining about his life and his singleness I felt God say, ‘pray for him.’ Me, in all my self consciousness, ignored it (obedient to a fault.) The guy kept talking and I told God it was a bad idea because this guy probably didn’t even believe in God. Right at that moment, the guy referenced the bible, and I’m pretty sure God chuckled. Finally taking the hint, as the car pulled to a stop, I asked the guy if I could pray for him. A little stunned, he said yes and I prayed for him. His face at the end of that prayer is something I won’t forget; there was pure joy shining out of his face. Pure joy! I barely remember what I prayed but it doesn’t matter because obviously God turned up for this guy. And He used me to do it. 

It’s easy to forget how much people need Jesus. Often my insecurities get in the way of being Jesus for someone and God used an Uber driver to remind me that even though I was on a vacation, it’s still about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus, regardless of where we are or why we are there. And that’s difficult at times. It wasn’t easy for me to pray for a partner for this guy while inside, I was struggling with that very thing myself, but the reality is that for some people, we are the only Jesus they will ever encounter and our willingness to be vulnerable and uncomfortable could be the turning point that brings them back to God. 

God’s blessings look different and maybe for you, God is calling you to bless someone with a copy of your book, or a home cooked meal, or a listening ear. Or He could be asking to you to walk up to a random stranger and pray for them. Whatever it is that He is nudging you to do for someone, let me encourage you to do it, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel or how odd it may seem. God is unique in what He does and how He loves, so He will use unique ways to love His children, and He will use your unique gift to do it.


Leila Halawe is a Sydney based coffee loving nonfiction writer and blogger. She has published a short devotional, Love By Devotion, shares her life via her blog page Looking In . You can connect with her via Facebook at Leila Halawe Author  and via Twitter at @LHalawe)


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