In the Funnel

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

I was on another short business trip recently. I had packed an overnight bag just in case I couldn’t make it home. On the way, I spotted a nice Holiday Inn I could use on the way back home. It was about 1-1/2 to 2 hours from my customer call. That was the plan if my sales call took longer than expected.

It did.

Also during the course of the day, I got a couple phone calls, essentially giving me a couple projects I had to finish that night, because my customers needed them the next morning (darned customers!).

On a hunch, I checked my GPS for hotels to see if I could find a Holiday Inn a bit closer. Sure enough, there was one less than an hour away. The only issue was that it was in the wrong direction. But, wanting to have that extra time for working and not driving, I decided to go there.

My stomach rumbled along the way. I had eaten very little during the day, and dinner time approached. I had an idea of what I wanted, which would still be a bit sparse. I’m trying to lose weight.

The first restaurant I saw was a Pizza Hut. I had crossed that off my list months ago as part of my calorie reduction program. I reasoned, however, that I was well under my daily limit. Who knew if there would be much else in this tiny burg? On with the blinker and into the lot!

I normally leave my computer bag in the car. It’s a hassle to carry, and I always make the effort to park in a very visibly spot to discourage thieves. This evening I decided to carry it in with me. Odd, unusual choice, but OK.

A young girl greeted me and showed me to a booth. As we walked I asked her how she was today. She replied listlessly, “Oh, ok.” She explained that she had to leave town tomorrow, which sounded ominous. I asked why.

“There’s been a death in my family.”

I expressed my sympathies – sincerely. I’ve been close to death three times so far, so it isn’t something I allow myself to gloss over when it comes up.

In fact, death and I go way back. Both of my parents were only children, so all of my aunts and uncles were a generation older than what most kids experience. They started dropping when I was still young. I went to a lot of wakes and funerals.

Do you recall how, as a child, you focused on something that you wanted to do and decided that, on the day you could do that one, important thing, you’d be a grownup? My idea of being a grownup was being able to serve as a pall bearer.

So I have a lot of sympathy for anyone who suffers loss of a loved one.

I realized that, in my computer case, I keep my bible, Portals of Prayer devotion book and my prayer list. At the bottom of my prayer list are several of my favorite verses which have sustained me through some pretty rough times. I took the knife out of the rolled napkin, cut off those bible verses, and handed them to her before I left.

I honestly don’t know if she read them. For all I know, she figured I was just some over-aged Jesus Freak or simply a creepy old guy. I prayed that God would not let Satan whisper to her to just throw out that piece of paper. I prayed she would read it and get something, anything out of it.

I’ve got no idea how that little act will play out. I do know that God wanted me there, that evening, in that restaurant, to share His Word with her. That’s all that matters. Too many coincidences and out-of-habit behaviors were part of that chain of events. I was in God’s Funnel, directing me to someone who needed encouragement, who needed to be built up.

I could have muffed it, as I have on several occasions recently. I finally got one right. I hope it’s the start of better things.

Are you paying attention? Is God trying to funnel you to opportunities to touch other people with His love and Word? Are you resolved to look for it when you’re being funneled along and to do something about it?

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