The other night our family went out to eat. My son ordered the hot wings appetizer for himself. Or so he thought. When the plate of wings and celery sticks arrived, my wife asked him, “Will those be for everyone?” His reply, “Um…yes.”
Most of the time, we’ll pray to God and ask for blessings for us and our families. We expect something along the lines of having a great day, no stress and maybe finding a gift card for our favorite coffee. And sometimes, God blesses us by blessing other people.
This happened to me recently. My friend, Tim Riter has written some great books. One of them, 12 Lies You Hear About the Holy Spirit spoke of being filled with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Practicing this makes us available for God’s will being done. I thought I’d give it a try.
I asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit so I could experience His blessings. Now, I knew at the end of the day I would be picking my mother-in-law up in another city close to mine. This prayer wasn’t exactly for the ride, because despite the popular stance against in-laws, she’s a sweet older woman with a great laugh and we get along fine. I picked her up on time and headed home, which was about an hour ride through traffic.
Or so we thought.
Due to a traffic collision on our freeway, the hour ride turned into almost four. Four hours in a car. I thought I had asked for God’s Holy Spirit to bless me? Four hours in traffic was not on my list of blessings to receive. Where was the good vibes? What’s going on here?
When we ask for something special from God, like my son asked for hot wings, the blessing may not look like what we thought. We may need to share what we have in any situation. See, God knows our hearts and what we need. Here’s what I discovered in my situation:
Blessing One- Traffic is one of those situations I detest. Time is valuable to me and I view traffic as a thief. God wanted to me to have patience with this.
Blessing Two-God wanted me to display this patience to my mother-in-law. I could have pounded the steering wheel and acted like a jerk. Instead, I tried relaxing and cracking jokes to hear her laugh. It worked.
Blessing Three-She wanted to see her daughter and had no way to get to our home. She wanted to relax in a peaceful environment and get away from her busy community. God used me to get her there.
God wants us to have joy and good things, but to get there we need to see outside of ourselves. God wants to use us to bless others and sometimes it won’t be full of smiles. That comes later.