As soon as I lifted the 40-pound bag with my left arm and slung it into the trunk, I knew I had made a mistake. I heard sounds from my shoulder and felt a pain shoot from my shoulder to my neck. I should have used two hands. I’ve done this before when lifting luggage, and I should have known better. I thought I had pulled my neck out of line, so I immediately called my chiropractor to see if I could stop in for an adjustment before we boarded the plane for 24 hours of traveling to Australia. Thankfully, they could work me in as the last appointment of the day.
After being adjusted and while I was going through some muscle therapy, I prayed and asked my Father in heaven what this was all about. Why did I do such a stupid thing? What was His purpose behind this injury prior to such an important ministry trip? How could I make much of Jesus in this situation?
As I listened to the Lord and watched Amanda, the aid who was helping patients in the therapy room, the thought came to me that God loved her and wanted her to know it. I knew that Amanda was not a believer in Christ and that she was leaving the chiropractic office within a week or so. My wife had discovered that information about her earlier in the day when Amanda had helped her.
The thought came to ask her if she knew what her name meant (we have a daughter, Amanda, so I knew the meaning of her name). When asked she replied joyfully, “Worthy to be loved.” I commented that she had a wonderfully meaningful name. Strangely, she became quite transparent. She volunteered that when she went to college, she wanted to go by her first name instead of Amanda, to signal a new start in her life. She said things didn’t change in her life while she was there, so once she graduated, she decided to revert to being called Amanda.
As she finished taking off the therapy tabs, I told her that while I was sitting there, I had been praying for her and thinking about her with God. It startled her and interested her. I continued, “I think God wants you to know that He loves you and wants to make His presence known to you today.” At that, she was speechless. “I don’t know what is going on in your life, but perhaps knowing that God is thinking about you will be encouraging to you. May I pray for you briefly?” I asked.
I reached out my hand and she gripped mine firmly as I prayed. As I paused to listen about how to pray, I became aware of God’s love and compassion for her. It welled up in my heart and brought tears to my eyes as I thought of His love for her. “Father, I want to thank You for working circumstances in my life today that brought me back in this office to meet and pray with Amanda. Thank you for her care for me. She needs to know of Your love for her in Jesus Christ today, so would You make Your presence and Your love known to her? Pour out Your love in her heart and encourage her by Your presence. Amen.”
When I looked up at Amanda, she too was in tears. As we both wiped the tears from our eyes, I think we both were aware of God’s presence. There were not words to describe what happened in that moment. All I knew was that Jesus desired to express His love to Amanda, and I had the privilege of being His channel of love to her. I don’t know if I’ll ever know what happened in her heart, because she will no longer be working in that office once I return. However, that isn’t what matters. The important thing was that the Spirit of God was expressing the love of Jesus in and through me to Amanda. God used the occasion of an injury, even one that could have been prevented had I been more thoughtful, to move us into the space where His presence and love could be manifested to both of us.
What a privilege to be moved by His Spirit to make much of Jesus in a God-orchestrated circumstance. This is what I call a Jesus Story. Things like this don’t happen naturally; they are supernatural works of God in our lives. Ephesians 2:10 comes to mind. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” This was one of those works that God prepared for me to walk in for His glory.
God wants to share His love through His children. He uses all the circumstances in our lives to bring this to pass. I’m telling you this Jesus Story to encourage you that God also may want to share His love through you! I’ve discovered that in any circumstance, if I ask, “How can I make much of Jesus Christ in this situation?”, my Father in heaven will reveal a way to do that. It’s a work God has prepared beforehand for me that wouldn’t have been revealed had those circumstances not occurred or had I not asked for help to make much of Jesus.
God has called us “to live to love” with Christ. Every day, we have the blessing of waking up and saying, “Lord Jesus, today I am here to live to love with You. Fill me with Your Spirit and guide my steps to those You wish to love today.” I want to encourage you, if you are a Christ-follower, to be intentional about living to express His love with Him each day. You’ll find that such intentional obedience to Jesus’ command to love as you have been loved (John 13:34) will result in a fulness of joy and much glory to God in your life. May God make you aware of opportunities in life to share His love through Jesus Christ.