i had a few hours to kill before i had to [wanted to] serve dinner in regent park with my church. i had a book in my bag, as i often do, and truthfully, i just wanted to be able to sit in a coffee shop and read it more than anything. but where? tims is cheap, i thought, but it's not necessarily the best atmosphere to sit down, relax, and read a book in. second cup is hands down my fave when it comes to their coffee selection, but i didn't know of any close enough to my church and feared that i may get too caught up in my book to make it in time. there was, however, a starbucks close by, but i really had to think about whether or not i could justify spending money on a latte when i haven't been working, and so i just sat there contemplating what i was going to do when my bus reached the big city.
what seemed to be less than a minute later, my phone made a ding, informing me that i had received an email.
"adam gilfillan had given you the gift of starbucks", it read. i tell you no lies; as i was sitting on the bus wrestling with whether or not i could afford a coffee, my friend was sitting in ottawa emailing me a starbucks card.
God knows our thoughts, and cares about even the 'little' things in life.
a week a go, i was sitting on the couch feeling lonely - like the deep, unshakeable kind of lonely. most days, i can force myself to snap out of it and dwell on the things i have to be thankful for, but i found it especially hard to do so this particular day. i was thinking about how much i missed my parents and how not having them around made me an orphan [i put this word in on purpose - keep reading], how i'm not married and don't have kids, how many friends i've lost over the years due to my brokenness or due to the fact that people [and seasons] change, all of which have the ability to make you isolate yourself even further.
my phone dinged once again. only this time, it was a text from my friend kari that said, "i've got youtube videos playing in my office while i work. this one popped up and as she prophesied over loneliness, i felt like it's a word for you".
i opened the link she sent me and began to weep. at the 4 minute and 38 second mark, the singer, amanda cook, began singing "this is the year your loneliness ends" over and over, followed by - get this - "he sets the orphans in families", a word that had been playing in my head all day. after a few more bars, she began praying a powerful prayer that i believe was for me in that very moment, and i felt a peace come over me. [for those of you who understand the loneliness i'm talking about here, i've included the link at the bottom of my blog for you to copy and paste in hope that it will encourage you also].
God not only knows our thoughts, but He cares about the state of our hearts, too.
i had this excruciating earache this week, and because of my past experience with this, i was terrified to go to the doctors. the first time this happened, the doctor - i warn you, this may get gruesome - grabbed not one, but two sharp objects - broke the cyst in my ear, and spent the next few minutes draining it as my mom held my hand. i bled for hours.
the second time, the doctor used a needle. A NEEDLE. he jabbed that big up thing in my ear and suctioned all of the stuff - i'll say stuff here in case you're eating as you read this - out, and i squeezed my friend's hand so hard that she needed an xray before we left ;)
so you can appreciate how petrified i was to go to the doctors this time [and why i would consider an ear transplant if there were such a thing].
in that very moment - again, i tell you no lies - i get a message on twitter from a friend i've lost touch with over the years, asking for my phone number. i gave it to him, and seconds later, he sent me a text.
"God says ... do not be afraid".
I CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, PEOPLE.
here i was, scared to death to get some huge needle stuck in my ear [and no hand to squeeze during it], and BOOM - another message.
needless to say, i jumped up right away while i had the courage, got dressed, and walked across the street to the walk in clinic, where a very hot [and i assume very rich] doctor looked into my ear, poked around a bit, whispered sweet nothings in my ear [at least i think he did, i couldn't really hear him], and prescribed me antibiotics. no sharp objects, no needle, nothing. just medicine.
do not be afraid.
i can't help but think about one of my favourite passages of scripture, psalm 139, as i sit here and reflect on the past few weeks:
you have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
you know when i sit and when i rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
you discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
[verses one through four].
he knew i was worrying about my finances when he put me on my friend's heart, he knew i was feeling lonely when my friend was listening to that song in her office that day, and how scared i was about going to the doctors last week when my friend sent me that text, and he knows which thoughts i'm wrestling with today, too.
as the above psalm clearly points out, he perceives our thoughts from afar!
our thoughts - not just mine, but yours, too!