Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Leads Us Along"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. (NRSV)
I was going to be alone for the Easter weekend. My friend Katie agreed that it didn't feel like Easter this year. Despite the online Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services that we had both enjoyed, there would be no visiting with friends, no Easter breakfast at church.
I promptly descended into a COVID-19 self-pity state. "God, I hate feeling like this! Help!" The answer came quickly: "Help other people to feel like it's Easter. Send cards."
Yes! I could send those beautiful digital cards. For three hours that Friday, I sent cards. As a name came into my mind, out went a card. Some were people I hadn't heard from for a long time and had been wondering why.
A card with a beautiful Easter message came back from Katie. She had caught the card-sending spirit.
Among other things, my associate and general helper, Ray, works on my newspaper, Hi-Rise, which I publish from home in Toronto, Canada. He appeared, coat on, ready to leave for the long weekend. Suddenly his phone rang. The client for today had cancelled. "Since I am going to be around, I might as well do a few things — and maybe pick up some fish and chips later" — a two-hour bus trip there and back! "I'd like that lot," I replied, happy that I would not be alone, at least that day.
On Easter Sunday, a phone call came from the mother of Danny, my technical support person, who lives nearby. "I love those electronic cards," she said. "I know that you have been trying to reach me. I haven't replied because both my son and I had severe stress symptoms and sort of withdrew. But we got treatment and feel better now. I just got my Easter ham out of the oven. We'll be there in half an hour with two plates, one for Ray" — who wasn't supposed to be here.
The next day, a friend and colleague called. Usually he, his wife, and son shared an Easter meal in their home. "This year, because of COVID-19, we had lasagna with our son, outside his condo, in our car. It was only when I opened your beautiful card that I experienced the spirit of Easter."
One more thing. On Easter, I always enjoyed getting a chocolate bunny. One appeared on my desk on Monday!
By this time, I was feeling stunned by all that had happened. When I asked God for help, why was I surprised when I got it, especially when His answer involved listening for His direction and acting upon it? That set in motion the spiritual law described by Luke in today's Scripture: "Give, and it will be given to you."
I just finished a very stressful production period of my newspaper, more difficult due to COVID-19. Thinking of what happened as we moved through the rough spots, I praised God and kept going. I do not want to let this experience fade. I am asking His help with that.
Have you ever been surprised by God? Cherish it. Tell others. Together, we can help one another know God better and strengthen our faith in Him.
Prayer: Lord, help each one of us to trust that You hear and respond to our prayers. Even though it may take time, help us to remember that You will always hear and answer. In the name of Christ, we ask it. Amen.