We are firm believers that God places you exactly where He wants you. It may not always make sense to us while we’re living it, but hindsight often exposes His plan.
We live in a great neighborhood in Oklahoma City. We live on a feeder street, and there are always interesting people around. We’ve always loved this about our neighborhood. God can use you exactly where you are. Don’t ever forget that.
Recently, we have befriended an older man from Pakistan. He won’t tell us his real name, only that he is N.M. He walks everywhere he goes (which isn’t easy in a huge city like ours), and lives in a small apartment nearby.
This man is interesting. I’m not going to pretend like it’s a super easy friendship or that it isn’t difficult for me at times. It makes me uncomfortable to be around people not like me. Maybe that’s ugly to admit, but it’s the truth. I never want to pretend like I’m perfect or we’re SO awesome for being kind to people. We’re just being obedient…uncomfortable or not.
My husband? He comes by this kind of relationship naturally. He is so friendly, and loving the people on the fringes is his spiritual gift. This places us in situations I usually dislike, but later recognize was God’s perfect gift to us.
So back to N.M. He asked the Man Foster to come fix his fax machine. Why on EARTH the Man Foster thought he could do this is beyond me, but he tried anyway. He took the Boy Foster over to N.M.’s apartment and was shocked at what played out.
N.M. had prepared the most impressive feast he could. He had fresh fruit laid out for the Man Foster to enjoy, and insisted that he sit and visit and partake in the food before starting to work. He also made him a cup of tea from his finest collection of tea, served in a styrofoam cup.
The Boy Foster played and laughed and put a smile on N.M.’s face while they visited. As they were talking, N.M. interrupted the Man Foster to ask a question he had been considering for a bit. “Do you enjoy your beautiful life?” This clearly caught my husband off guard, so N.M. went on to say “I see how happy your children are when you get home, and your wife loves you. Do you enjoy your beautiful life?”
The Man Foster and I have been through quite a year. No details needed, but 2015 will always go down as the hardest year of our marriage. But N.M. doesn’t see that. He watches us take walks in the evening. He sees the way our kids love us. He understands that real beauty doesn’t come through financial stability, nice things or having it all figured out. No, he grasps that beauty is found in the small things. He understands that a life full of love is a life worth living.
We often enter into these relationships assuming we are going to be the ones to bless the other people. How arrogant and prideful of us. God loves to show off in those scenarios and teach us more about His true character.
We haven’t been able to share the gospel with N.M. just yet. In fact, when we tried, he said, “let’s talk about that later” in a very matter-of-fact way.
Maybe we’ll get to reveal the gospel to N.M. Maybe we won’t. But N.M. reminded us of the gospel in his own way, and pointed us to Jesus in the simplest question. He showed us real hospitality and the value in personal relationship. God used N.M. to align our hearts to what truly matters.
Do you enjoy your beautiful life? Do you recognize that it is in fact beautiful?