One of my dearest sisters in Christ recently returned from her missions trip to Africa. I cannot describe how joyful my heart was to have her back and to hear her voice again, but as I read her blog, I could not help but feel my heart just leap in my chest. She described the beauties of the African community and the people. And while I was most definitely blessed to have her back in the U.S., I was also absolutely floored as I thought of the amazing journey the Lord had taken her on; that same amazing journey put a joy in her voice and an undeniable bounce in her step as she returned to her life in the United States. I could say that during those two months I would have loved to have her talking with me multiple times a week or texting me every day, but in truth, I would have loved more to just take the journey with her.
See, those two months of praying daily for her and praying that the Lord would touch and move her heart did not just result in His providence for her safe return home, but it also deeply touched my heart. As I prayed for her, I would imagine and simply contemplate on what she was doing or what she was learning during her time over there, whether she was in boot camp or in Africa the day. It took me literally weeks to finally let the realization hit me that though we could physically not be in contact with each other, we were in contact with each other spiritually every day. And I am sure our Father was rejoicing with us as we walked our different paths those two months together. We believed our thoughts brought memories of each other in the small, every day things, but truly, it was simply the Lord reminding us that He was directing both of our paths with a beautiful and mysterious deliberation. Her journey taught me though my prayer for her while her journey was teaching her through physically taking part in it. Is not our God just absolutely breath-taking? He showers blessings on us so freely when we deserve none of them.
It is with this story that I realized how much each and every child of God is no more than a piece of a large and very intricate puzzle. So many people think that their life is the only life that matters and that they need to live it out to the best of their ability for themselves. Oh, how those people are missing out on the magnificence of life! My life is not worth living if I do not hand over pieces of it to others, if I do not devote time to praying and pondering the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Each person has their own journey to take, yes, but that is not the only journey we are taking. Each prayer said for another, each hand reached out in compassion and love to another, each leaping of the heart for those hungry souls out there, each gathering of His children together holds an amazing amount of power because we learn just as much from their lives, sufferings, joys, mistakes, and successes as we do our own. It is such a privilege, an unspeakably glorious gift, to be a witness to God's hands working in our neighbors, our best friends, and our strangers lives.
In the same way, our lives can teach others lessons. We do not walk our journeys alone; we walk it collectively with every other follower of Christ. We are running for the same prize, ready to be taken to the same home, serving the same Father, being shaped and molded by the same Lord, and being covered in white by the same Savior! Not a single moment of our lives is worth wasting, is worth sitting with our hands in our laps, is worth watching the clock tick away. Our lives impact others more than we can ever imagine. One loving look and word of comfort to a stranger crying at a grave can mean more than a thousand hours of their stumbling through the next few days of grief and learning to live life all over again. Why do we waste our time? Why do we waste our words? Why do we flounder in life when we already know the end?
However, I must caution that we not equate serving the world with all of our hearts with never allowing ourselves time to rest and let His Spirit move our thoughts and longings. We need refreshment, not just every week, but every day. We are weak; we are human. While we must understand the impact that the body of Christ can have on this world, we must also realize our dependence on each other and the Lord's timing. We must not become so caught up in making an impact that our hearts harden to His gentle nudges to rest or to sit quietly and simply listen. Using our time wisely is not being always busy. Using our time wisely is purposely grasping and utilizing every second for His glory, whether that be sitting in a chair and resting for a few minutes or actively studying material for school or getting our hands dirty building houses for those that have none. The question is not so much of time as it is how much we are willing to give up our entire lives in pursuit of His Spirit, His truth, and His guiding.
See, the moral of the story is not that we need to work to be better time managers (though we all can). It is the simple fact that we must be willing to constantly soften our hearts and let our eyes become perceptive of all that surrounds us. It is not about living our lives to the fullest (though that we must and can only do by pursuing Him); it is about being able to let others leave footprints on our hearts. It is about letting every single person and every single person's journey teach us something and to leave an imprint on our lives and hearts forever. The Lord does not only use our personal situations to affect the manner in which we live; He also uses our prayers to others, our aid to others, and our wondering thoughts about others. The Lord used my dearest sister's journey to Africa to touch and move my heart with love for all that surround me, for appreciation for the smallest blessings, and to reveal to me how much further I have to go in letting Him soften my heart. The Lord used my prayers for her to move both of us. What God would do that? What God would find so much joy in moving His children to realize the interweaving of our lives? My God would. The Lord of Heaven and Earth would. The Father of every single human being on this Earth would.
So next time we step outside our door, let us use every second for soaking in all He provides for us to observe and learn from. When an opportunity to aid another presents itself, let us not be hesitant to take it. When we sit down to pray about our dear friends or fellow brothers and sisters or His lost children, let their lives and their plights touch your hearts. You never know; He may change your entire life in one, simple moment.