Summary: I was so busy doing things for God, that I didn`t have time for Him!
In the 1980`s I was Warden of a Conference Centre, a demanding Ministry with a large amount of Counselling in addition to the talks we had to give. Saturdays were always very difficult - we were all involved in Hoovering, Cleaning and Bed making on top of all the other work we had to do. But two Saturdays stand out in my mind from all the Saturdays we were there.
On the first Friday I went to bed dog-tired, longing for a good nights sleep. But at 3 o`clock in the morning I woke with a start. A voice was speaking to me, saying "Be still and know that I am God". I lay there wondering why God was saying this, and, to tell the truth I was more than a little angry. Again the voice said, "Be still and know that I am God". I groaned and said, "You know that I`ve got a lot of work today tomorrow - today now. You know that I needed a good night`s rest, and that I`m no good at all if I`m worn out when I`m speaking to the guests. Why did you wake me at 3o`clock in the morning when you know that I`ll be exhausted later?" No reply except, "Be still and know that I am God".
Morning came, and I woke feeling terrible. The day seemed twice as long as usual - and, when I began my talk to the guests that evening I was exhausted. I was five minutes into the talk when I realised I was getting nowhere with what I had to say - people`s eyes were glazing over. I stopped and said to them, "I`m sorry. I can see I`m not doing any good with the subject I`ve chosen"......... and then I went on to tell them what had happened the previous night........ how God had woken me saying "Be still and know that I am God". I told them tyhat my prayer life had become barren, that I was so busy doing things for God, that I had no time to BE STILL WITH HIM, and how this was coming between me and Him, and Him and me. I went on speaking for another 20 minutes about this, and saw that I had connected with them - lots of those good Christians were in the same boat I was, and they were hearing God saying so through me. At the end of the evening I thanked God for waking me at 3 o`clock that morning, and thought I`d learned my lesson. But I hadn`t!
A few weeks later we were coming up towards our daugher`s birthday. On the Monday she said to her Mum and me, "Can you take me to town on Saturday afternoon. I`ve been given some money for my birthday, and I want to buy some sneakers for the School Dance next week. Everybody`s wearing them!". Jill said "Yes", but I said, "I can`t, I`ve got two guests booked in for counselling that afternoon. They`re coming a long way and I can`t put them off". And that was that, I thought!.................. but on Friday Jill went down with a migraine. In those days her migraines were terrible and landed her in bed for at least 48 hours, and this was no exception. On Saturday morning our daughter said to me "Can you take me this afternoon, Dad". "I`m so sorry, but I can`t". She looked glum.
But that afternoon something unexpected happened. Both guests turned up early, each one of them with the same tale. "I`m so much better. I don`t need to see you this afternoon". So off to town we went, my daughter and I. When we got to Frisby`s shoe-shop she pointed at the sneakers in the basket outside. "There they are - just my size" and as I looked I was horrified, for those sneakers were purple! "PURPLE TRAINERS? Jill would never approve of them" I thought. "Lord! Get me out of this", I prayed.
My daughter went into the shoe-shop carrying one purple trainer and asked the Assistant for the other. When it came she took one look at it It was stained in three places - "I can`t have THAT" she said, "Have you got another pair". "No!" the shop assistant replied. "It`s the last we`ve got in that colour........... but I have got a red pair in your size". "RED sneakers" I thought, "They`re just as bad as purples ones" - and when they came they were. "Lord! Get me out of this" I prayed again. My daughter tried them on - "They`re too tight" she said, "Have you got another pair?" "No" said the shop assistant, "But I do have them in brown". "Brown" she said, "My friends would laugh at me in brown sneakers. They`re square". So we left the shop. "Thank you, Lord" I said.