The Power of a Simple Invitation
by Gwen Smith
I ask for God’s guidance every morning. I invite Him to bless my average with His amazing. I ask Him to teach me, use me, and show me what He’s up to. And sometimes He surprises me in extra-special ways that blow me away.
Like this …
It’s completely normal for me to run late. Especially when I’m trying to catch a flight. On this particular day, however, I arrived at the airport much earlier than normal. I was faced with a dilemma: pay seventy-five dollars and get home two hours earlier, or save the money and enjoy some time to relax and reflect on the conference I had just left. Not feeling that I could justify the added expense, I checked my luggage, went through security, and boarded the train that would take me to my gate in terminal B.
With time to kill and a tummy to fill, I eyed the TGI Fridays located near my gate, B21, and then walked into the restaurant. The hostess led me toward the back room to be seated.
“Can I sit here instead?” I asked as we passed by a tiny booth in the middle of the restaurant.
“Sure!” she replied. “Your server will be with you in a moment.”
A beautiful young woman I’ll call Bria greeted me…
She liked my hair. I liked her friendliness. She told me about her two littles, a boy and a girl who were two and three. I told her about my teenagers who were growing up way too fast. We shared smiles and conversation; then she took my drink order, and I turned my attention to the menu.
After she came back with my drink and recommended the salmon, I told her that I would be praying for my meal and asked her if there was anything I could pray for her about.
“Yes!” she said, seeming somewhat amazed that I had asked. “That would be great. My husband has a court date this week, and we really need prayer.”
Tears puddled in her eyes.
As she continued to wait on tables, I prayed. When Bria came back to my table, she asked me what I do for a living. I told her.
“What is your husband going to court for?” I asked.
Serious face. “He was just doing a favor for a friend. The lawyers can’t even believe he was charged…. It’s a really bad situation … prison bad.”
“If convicted, how long could he possibly be in prison?” I asked gently.
“Ten to twenty years,” she said with eyes that searched mine for hope. “I’m really scared.”
“Oh, man. I’m sorry. That’s hard stuff.” She waited on a few more customers. I prayed. When she brought my check, she looked me in the eye, leaned in close, and softly said, “This morning I prayed and asked God to send me a sign.” Then she leaned in a little closer and said, “I believe you are my sign. Thank you so much.”
Wow. Chill bumps.
I agreed and told her that the Lord surely wants her to know that she is loved and that He is listening. We said good-bye as new friends, knowing that we had both just experienced God.
I paid my bill and headed to my gate: B21.
I was early for my flight, so I wasn’t surprised to see that the gate’s notification board didn’t say that the next flight was to Charlotte, North Carolina. After a few minutes, I looked up and realized that the flight on the board was too close to my flight time to make sense. So I pulled out my ticket and looked at my gate number.
My ticket said D21! That was in a completely different terminal. No. Way. And right away I knew. I knew that the Lord had me arrive at the airport early. I knew that He led me to pass up the earlier flight. I knew that He had placed B21 in my mind so that I would go to terminal B and connect with Bria.
Before heading to the train that would take me to the D terminal, I ran back into the restaurant to find her.
“Bria! Just wanted to let you know that my gate is D21. For some reason, I thought I was flying out of B21. You’re the reason. God really did send me to be your sign. He’s listening.”
Oh the look she gave me. My chill bumps had chill bumps.
Does God really hear our prayers? You bet He does.
Does God want us to extend Him an all-access pass to our days?
The grace of Jesus held us close as Bria and I hugged and said another quick goodbye. Then I headed to terminal D with a fresh awe for a God who loves so much and listens so attentively. “I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them” (Isa. 25:1 NLT).
When we extend God an invitation to use us, He shows up in powerful ways. Add this step of invitation to your times of prayer. Open your heart to the ways God is at work in the lives of others and be ready to enter their God stories. God is all about exciting faith adventures.
Gwen Smith is an author and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina and has been married to her college honey, Brad, for 23 years. They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing teens who keep them on their toes and on their knees. Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net to connect and be encouraged, and her goal is to help women think big thoughts about God and be inspired to live out the grace and truth of Jesus. Gwen Smith’s new book, I Want It ALL, is filled with practical help, Biblical depth and applicable lessons. And it includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back. No extra purchases required! READY TO PEEK INSIDE THE PAGES? Download a FREE sample chapter at iwantitallbook.com. or order yours today from Amazon.