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A Sudden Prompting for the Plumbers
by Anne O'Donnell
4/02/2021 / Christian Living
Opening the front door, I welcomed the plumbers in to snake the clogged sinks. Not a huge fan of tradesmen servicing needs in our home, I kept the conversation to-the-point, not wanting to give off an air of over-friendliness. Some employees linger and then have to be told to leave. But today was different - I pointed out the problem areas and soon felt comfortable with these two strangers in my home.
Engaging in small talk to create a pleasant atmosphere, I commented to the one, “You are the first female I have seen in this trade.” She chuckled in her soft voice but gave no response. Pondering her reaction, I thought of how I would feel in grungy clothing every morning, or if I could tolerate foul drain smells and hands covered in slime for forty hours a week.
I wondered if she had been a tomboy and liked hanging out with the guys, or if she was forced to compromise her femininity and step into man’s world of removing garbage to make ends meet. I stared at her face, curious to know the beautiful woman inside, and thought, if given the chance, I would enjoy a conversation with her.
Remaining in close proximity to their work space, I sat down and opened FaceBook and saw the song Wide Open with lyrics by Austin French displayed on my screen. Not familiar with this song, I clicked on the link, and immediately the words became a prayer flowing from my heart to God.
“I'm wide open, here I am, send me where You want me to go.”
I enjoy listening to a song while reading the lyrics because the combination of audio and visual sends its message into my spirit with double the impact, enhancing the worship experience.
The meaning of these lyrics provoked many reactions in my heart as I listened. I had no choice but to evaluate my own reality of stepping out in faith to answer God’s call, and how many times I have been deterred by circumstance or surroundings. Often, following Jesus requires us to surrender more than we are prepared to relinquish.
“I’m wide open, I surrender all to You, my heart and my soul.”
Lyrics like these hold power and meaning, ones we like to sing when we are in a zone by ourselves because they make us feel more Christian. We enjoy considering ourselves believers who love to do right by the Lord. We want to think of ourselves as a servant of God who would do anything at the drop of a hat to obey him.
“Lord, all I want, is what You want for me”.
As a Christian, surrendering to the will of God is always a goal, and one we want to believe is at the center of our existence. It’s easy to raise my hands at church as a sign of my desire to surrender my will to His. I can even encourage others to wait upon the Lord to listen for his leading. I want to think of myself as that person who is so yielded when God steps into my space, and that giving him my attention and obeying his leading is effortless and automatic. I want to believe I live as though nothing matters more.
But believing you are open to respond to God and actually stepping out in faith to follow His leading are two different things. Acting in obedience may feel very uncomfortable or inconvenient and take you against the familiar current you’ve been moving in. You may feel hesitant at first and even ask, God, is this you? Can I be sure I am hearing from you?
Speaking for myself, I can be certain it is God’s voice based on my reaction to it; my pulse rate goes up, awareness heightens, sensitivities are alerted, focus sharpens, and I move into standby mode, waiting for what happens next.
In fact, you know when the Holy Spirit is calling on you because of a pull taking you in an opposite direction of what you are comfortable with. The challenge holds your attention until you admit you are at the crossroads of decision making. God promises to bring us into his will if we are ready to enter in to it.
“I surrender all to you my heart and my soul”
All these thoughts I pondered while following the lyrics to the song. As I reflected on my own past experiences of saying “yes” to God, some more quickly than others, He suddenly filled me with his compassion for these two strangers. The feelings came on so unexpectedly, and suddenly I was crying, because the heavy weight of God’s love for them was more than I could withstand.
I looked over at the two disheveled workers bent over slime and grease fixing something I could not fix myself. Something happened inside me - an urge to run over and extend the biggest, tightest, heartfelt hug I had inside of me, wanting them to experience how much their heavenly father cares about them. God wanted them to know his love in the same way I was feeling it at the moment. My soul became flooded with an indescribable urgency to communicate their Father’s love to them. But I waited, and He then told me to pray for them before they left the house.
I knew God was using the words of the song as a tangible prompting for me to reach out to these two workers serving me in my home, and I could not resist the opportunity. I realized the door was wide open to live out what I believed in my heart.
I stood up as they collected their supplies. I wasn’t going to let them leave without following through on God’s request. I thought of how I might feel at the end of the day with regret and sorrow if I failed to obey. How would that reflect on what kind of a follower I wanted to believe I was? I would be ashamed if I remained silent. Besides, when God fills you up like that, you cannot resist the desire to respond; he activates his power in you for the task at hand and you cannot remain idle.
I sat down on the stairs by the front door as they readied themselves to leave the house and said, “I would like to ask you a question.” They poked their heads forward, as if to say oh no, and said, “Oh? What kind of question?”
I said, “One you have probably never heard on the job. But a question I really want to ask you.”
The male plumber said, “Now you have me wondering, what did you want to ask us?”
I said, “Has anyone ever asked to pray for you while you were in their home on the job?”
They said. “No”, and I asked, “Can I pray for you?”
The woman answered in her soft and gentle voice, “That is so touching”. We bowed our heads and the words from the Holy Spirit poured out of my mouth like an unleashed waterfall. I don’t remember the words I spoke, because they weren’t for me - they were for these two strangers who just served me in my home and God wanted to tell them something before they left.
I thanked them for their humble servanthood, and for their willingness to help us in our home. I asked for God’s blessing to rest upon them, that they would find fulfillment in the work they enjoyed. When our eyes opened, they stood motionless and uttered a quiet thank you. The woman spoke again, “That is so touching”. I told them I believe everyone has worth to God and their skills and talents matter, and they mattered to us. I told them I hope to see them again and thanked them for taking care of us.
That was a WOW moment for me. I don’t have the words to express what it felt like to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit’s work and watch this happen. I suppose it’s the equivalent of trying to explain the color red to a blind person - you just can’t do it, the words are just not there.
Thoughts about how the lyrics to Wide Open and how the Lord’s request came together was a Holy Spirit moment, when two strangers in my own home came under the blessings of the Lord.
When God gives you the weight of his love for someone, it breaks you, and the revelation of who he is overtakes your conscious mind. If God’s love were to rest upon us continuously, in its fullest measure, we could not stand up under it. We would cease to function as human beings. The weight would crush us. Yet he chooses to give us his heart in moments such as this, to reveal how deeply he loves his creation of humans.
I returned upstairs to listen to the end of the song.
“Don’t wanna reach the end of my life and find that I missed it.”
“Lord, all I want is all you want for me.”
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