One of the things that is becoming more and more evident to me all the time is that the Lord works in mysterious ways to teach people important lessons.
Most recently I realized this through a crazy ball of energy disguised as a 4-year-old boy. This kid wants to know about everyone and everything, and it is very apparent that he’s been raised in an environment that has attempted to suppress his curiosity. After witnessing one of our interactions, his mom told me she could tell I didn’t have kids because I was so patient with her son.
One night at dinner, he and I were talking about something when he stopped mid-sentence, stood up on his chair, and asked me point-blank, “Do you love your job?”
I was taken aback, but I said yes, to which he responded with a nod and a sort of self-satisfied smirk as if he had already known how I was going to respond.
Later, he continued his interrogation with such questions as, What color is your hair?, Am I eating a sucker?, What’s your name again?, and so on.
Before I could get overwhelmed, his mom looked up from her phone and said, “Don’t worry about responding to all of those. He only asks questions that he already knows the answers to.”
Yesterday I was headed into my apartment when I learned that a woman had left a note on my desk. This woman is one that I’ve mentioned before, the one with the sometimes-crazy hair and the questions about tax fraud (I still don’t know the answers).
The note, in part, said this: “Now that Jessica has this note in her possession Please ask that they Please forward my reduced fare i.d. to the proper authorities due to the inability to have my own living environment stepped on by those that deem themselves qualified to yell and scream to people…Don’t go to the back! Fair warning–Fare is fare.”
I’ve now read that note at least half a dozen times, and I still don’t understand what she’s asking me to do, but I recognize that she trusted me with something that she sees as valuable .
During this season of Lent, I have been spending time each day (or, more accurately, attempting to spend time each day) reading and meditating on the Psalms. One thing that stood out to me immediately was the fact that the word “refuge” is used over and over. It’s mentioned 19 times just in the first forty Psalms. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him, and so on.
It feels as though I am constantly praying that Jesus would make my heart more like his, though the specifics of that are changing regularly based on circumstances. These past few weeks, this has meant that I’ve been more specifically praying that, through my actions, people would see that the Lord is a refuge–a safe place, that people can trust Him and trust His followers.
It is not always easy for me to give off good first impressions (those of you who know me are probably not shocked by that admission), and so I have just been praying and asking God to change that, to change a fundamental part of me, knowing that it won’t be easy but that the end results will benefit every person who I encounter.
And honestly, I’ve been discouraged. But this week, the Lord used a 4-year-old and a woman with schizophrenia to show me that He is, in fact, slowly (and oftentimes painfully) changing me, and that He is refining me into someone transparent and trustworthy.
I am telling you this, in part, because I think sometimes it is easy to become frustrated when our prayers aren’t answered right away, or when we try so hard to change but it doesn’t seem as though anything is happening. In those times, know that God is working, just not always in the ways you most expect or hope for.