Their First Encounter

November 12, 2012
by Kirsti Sipila

1 Thessalonians 2:13 – We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers. (NRSV)

"Where has the time gone, anyway?" I was wondering out loud, looking at the date while routinely opening the restaurant for another day. Coffee was hot and ready, and in silent devotion to God, I sent a prayer heavenward: Dear God, guide, lead, strengthen us for the day ahead, for without You, all is in vain.

A family of four arrived, and taking one look at them, I was in horror. I sought God's help: Lord, what is this all about? How am I to handle this?

They all talked at the same time, and chilling laughter punctuated their sentences. I approached their table with great trepidation and was relieved to retreat to the kitchen to cook their order. I could hear the rough conversation emanating from the dining room.

However, in the time that it took to do the cooking, something strange happened. I heard only one voice demanding the attention of the others. As I approached the table with the tray, I saw the father holding his family in rapt attention as he read from one of the pamphlets I had placed on each table. For years, I had kept a supply of evangelical material in my restaurant.

The father kept on reading. I stood by with the tray of food on my arm. He appeared to be in no hurry to receive the food, but rather continued his reading, and the more he read, the more excited he became.

He turned to me: "You know this is the best reading I have ever seen — just what I and my family need." He continued his reading aloud in a strong, clear voice, and when any of the others would interrupt, he would silence them with a raised finger.

When I finally was able to set the food down, the obvious joy of this man made my heart rejoice. So this is what it is all about! Jesus, thank You, and bless this family! My day was turned completely around, and the joy I had just observed made my own joy somersault to new heights. Praise God!

My little restaurant had been chosen to be worthy. God was present in a mighty way, His power filling the room. This family had come to my restaurant for earthly food, but had found instead some heavenly food to taste and to be nourished with.

As they left, the man gathered a number of gospel tracts to take with him. I thanked God for His providence — another family touched by the Scriptures, another man on his way rejoicing in the Lord. And as they went, I said a silent prayer that he would indeed follow through and truly commit himself and his family to Christ.

Many others have had their first encounter with God's Word by reading the tracts while waiting for their food. Today's Scripture speaks to me as I think of all those brothers and sisters who took their first steps of faith in that restaurant.

As we go about our daily life and work, we can think of many people for whom we can pray. Angels will report, "Someone's praying, Lord!"

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your counsel and might. You are watching us in the morning when we call upon You. You see us all day and at night. Deliverance belongs to You. Let Your Word work in us and through us. May many more receive Your Word from us, not as a human word, but as what it really is, Your Word. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Kirsti Sipila <kirstiksipila@hotmail.com>
Brantford, Ontario, Canada

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