Unexpected Preparation

God’s way of preparing.

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And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These things I do, and I do not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16 ESV

Unexpected.

At the evening praise and prayer service where I lead prayer, the speaker for the evening was called away unexpectedly. A crisis needed his presence. No time to delay.

As he walked out past the stand where his notes lay waiting, he picked them up, walked toward me with pages outstretched, saying: Here’s my outline, Carol. You can use this if you want.

In that moment — something I had no way of knowing was coming — I calmly took the pages. began to read the words. to determine if what I felt prepared to do. was what I was to do.

What?!

Now understand. If you knew me, you would realize there would be no looking over the message wondering if it was mine to give. This introverted be-prepared-and-practiced-before-you-speak kind of girl wouldn’t have even considered it for one microsecond. A deer-in-the-headlights look would’ve tipped everyone off in the general vicinity that: No, Carol would not be taking over the podium for the evening.

But here’s the deal. This was God’s deal.

God prepares.

I was blind to what He was up to. Yet, I knew He was up to something… sort of. All day long the post I published on my blog the day before was on my heart and in my mind. That’s unusual in itself. Once published I don’t often continue to think about posts. Before they are finished… yes… words brew and content may continue to come to mind. But this… this… was different.

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An impression was attached: I would be speaking it. sharing it in a setting where others would hear me tell my story. not just read it aloud. but (you know) preach it.

Yet, it was such a far-fetched idea I didn’t give it a second thought. No mulling it over as if it could actually happen. No panic or performance anxiety. No need to reread and prepare. There was just no way.

Until…

Until the unexpected opportunity presents itself and your heart is already prepared to perhaps say Yes without hesitation.

Saying yes.

With about fifteen minutes (twenty max) before the service was to begin (streaming live on Facebook, no less) the one leading worship calls everyone together to make a new plan… one without a devotional for the evening. She starts talking about extending the prayer time in a way we don’t usually. She felt inspired. Then she looked at me: Unless you have a different plan.

She knew the look in my eye. The one that says: I might have another plan. You see she’s my business and ministry partner. What she didn’t know, was in the few minutes prior, in my perusal of the outline and Scripture for the evening, I actually saw that, yes, my post might be forming into a message. She also didn’t know what God had been preparing in me. all. day. long. (Of course I didn’t either!)

After a pause, another absolutely incredible thing happened. I said: I think I am supposed to speak tonight.

What in the world?!

You see, this introvert not only had to determine she was prepared with a message, but she had to speak it out loud!

Remember, we’re talking f-i-f-t-e-e-n minutes here. to make a new plan. And as I spoke the words: I think I am to speak tonight, I saw the eyes go WIDE on another member of the worship team. Then crazy enough, they trusted what I said! The brief re-planning went ahead. I would speak and another would lead prayer.

Unexpectedly prepared.

In the remaining few minutes I worked the evening’s verses into an opening and closing for the message from my blog post: Drawing Near.

God making rough places smooth.

The service went forward. Not one other person knew the last minute changes made. The unprepared prepared by Him and Him alone.

Whew!

What did I learn?
Well I re-learned, yet again, how faithful He is to those who are faith-full to Him.
I understand more fully the importance of obedience in the everyday things He leads us to. in the ordinary steps of our ordinary days. He prepares us for extraordinary happenings.
And the ultimate way to prepare, is to be faithful to all He calls us to do in our ordinary days. Because we are blind to what the future holds, but He certainly is NOT!

In all the ordinary He calls us to, He has a plan.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Plans for good not evil.
Plans for a hope-full future.
Plans to make rough places smooth.
Plans you never saw coming.
Amen!


What are you preparing for? does it have anything to do with your ordinary days?

Consider His plans for you. the unseen ones. ones you never imagined. Would you trust Him to lead your ordinary days in a way to prepare you for the unexpected? for the extraordinary?

Today, open your heart to let Him lead your daily doings. He alone knows what He is preparing for you.


Part of my ordinary way includes writing on JeremiahsMenu.com. A blog He’s been forming and transforming for several years now. The following Him into blogging led here to shining and a new endeavor of sharing stories on Medium.

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