My afternoon got rearranged with a simple phone call, just a random call put through to me.
Fridays are sermon writing days for me. Don’t get me wrong here, I work on my sermon all week, but Friday is the day that I put all the research and study together and write it.
The morning is the best time for me to write. I’m focussed, energized and think better and faster at that time of day.
It seems that once I take a break for lunch, I don’t have the same focus or energy, and sermon writing slows down considerably.
This week I had a fairly productive morning but had a hard time getting back to writing after lunch. I had a few other things on my mind that distracted me.
Then I got a phone call. I get phone calls like this regularly – maybe once a week – from someone who needs some help.
The story she gave me was long and complicated, and I wasn’t sure I believed everything she was telling me. Still, I didn’t want to turn her away in case she really was in need and I could do something to help.
I told her that the only way I could assist her was to meet her at the bus station and purchase a ticket for her. I don’t give people cash.
Well, she said she needed to check a few things first and would call me back.
I was thinking there was a good chance I wouldn’t hear from her again, but about 15 minutes later the phone rang and it was her.
This was the second time I had to stop my writing process and change gears.
She had discovered that getting where she wanted to go was not going to be possible, so she had a Plan B.
She asked if I could pay for a night’s stay in a motel. I replied that I could do that, but first she needed to check if a room was available.
When she called back the third time, I had not really been able to write anything more on my sermon. However, just before the phone rang, I had a brainwave and was ready to write a bit more.
She told me that she reserved a room at a motel, could get a ride, and would be there in about 10 minutes.
I said it would take me a little longer but to just wait in the lobby and I would get there shortly.
I got off the phone and quickly tried to put down the thoughts I had had just before I picked up the receiver.
I was almost finished my sermon; I just needed an illustration and would try to think of something while I drove to the motel about 15 minutes away.
When I got there, she was nowhere to be found. The front desk clerk had no reservation and no knowledge of this person.
I hung around for a few minutes and then drove back to the church … all that for nothing.
The whole ordeal sidetracked me from my sermon and I didn’t even end up helping her … but it sure changed my day.
Here’s the thing: We like to know the end; we crave resolution. But with God there is mystery, and sometimes we have to be okay with the mystery. It’s in the mystery that faith and hope can grow.
Question: What mystery do you have to live with? Leave your comment below.