Thank you for a couple of days free from strange and unexpected occurrences.
I expected nothing less that to hear Gina theatricise (is that a word?) about her efforts with the computer today after yesterday’s lesson …
“…and the fingers on my right hand throbbed every time one of them hit the keyboard. I wanted to spend the day writing things like ‘kill, kill, kill’ & ‘my polo pony’ because they only need you to use your right hand for a while …” grand sweeping gestures of the right hand working the keyboard … “but then – oh my right arm! The muscles just ached! Holding that bow just so …” again she demonstrates, “and manoeuvring it to play … Oh my ..” she stops short and looks at me, “… garden gnomes!”
And that finished me. I laughed.
“Fine friend and teacher you are. Oh, yes – here’s the picture of sympathy!”
I keep laughing.
” You’ll live.”
But that only takes me back to yesterday ….
For the most part work was unremarkable – but then there’s always Scott.
When they were handing out patience I think Scott thought they were playing cards and decided to pass. Seriously. After Bible study (okay, so that was actually remarkable … but it doesn’t fit in the work box properly and I was too nervous to concentrate well) in Graham’s office Scott’s all,
“So what have you got planned for Gina for tonight?”
“A Cello lesson and dinner.”
“Yes, but, come on, an ideal situation for witnessing…”
“Scott, everyday is witnessing. We witness by being godly and speaking when it is opportune. But if I’m reading James correctly, if I’m not living righteously then I’m wasting my breath.”
“What’s so wrong about hitting her with the gospel while you’ve got her at your home.”
“She’s coming for a Cello lesson. She’s invited to dinner, not an evangelistic programme. She’s not coming for an altar call, Scott. It’s dishonest to trick someone into a situation they don’t want – do you think it will make her open to listen? Do you think it reflects how God wants us to come to him? I’m not going that road. I’m going to pray for opportunities and openings and boldness – but deception is not an option. I’m not railroading her, Scott. She has already said that she doesn’t want to discuss it any further than we have.”
Scott nodded and walked away looking slightly perplexed.
But it’s true. I mean, I know that James 2 is talking about showing generosity and acting on faith in sacrifice – but its also about demonstrating by what you do that you trust God to be God and be prepared to act accordingly.
So – I will prepare myself to act, to invite, to talk, to comfort, to do whatever is needed to make her way back and be ready to make the most of opportunities, and I will continue to pray. But I will go about doing as I have promised Gina that I would, and with God’s help I will act in a way that is godly in all I do as his witness that he is trustworthy even though she does not believe that at the moment. To show that he is real even in the way he opens the way for the sharing of the gospel.
Gina’s lesson went well. Her aunt’s cello is a beautiful instrument. I can’t wait until she can play it well. And she will – if she keeps it up, of course. Very basic stuff today, but Gina picked up some quickly. Apparently her Aunt was going to teach her when she was younger, but something interrupted before they got into it. Still, she was complaining of sore fingers and having trouble holding arm in position to use the bow properly by the end. She has a nice feel for the instrument and a good ear. I hope she keeps it up, even if she decides to go to a different teacher after a while.
Dinner was great – as usual. I hate cooking for just me – so I tend to pull out all stops for a visitor and enjoy myself. There so much that’s more practical to cook for two or three than for one – even using leftovers.
Gina asked me over dinner what I’d been reading lately. It was actually a novel that I had found among her books called Bamboo and Lace. Reading it now it surprised me that she’d been into that genre of book – I’d have picked her as more of a mystery lover than this book. But then I’ve only ever met the dark, bruised Gina – not the idealist. When I told her about the book she smiled at some memory, then let it go following it out through the window with her eyes with a distant expression on her face.
“I used to love that book. Back when I was thinking of mission and so dedicated to Christ. I always found the way that she was ready to give up so much of what she wanted – of what the world tells you is important – to do what she was convinced was the only righteous way to respond to her situation so inspiring. I always hoped that I’d be able to do that if pushed.” She re-entered the room, her voice hardening, “Now look at me,” she added with a brief attempt to laugh at herself.
“Do you ever wish things were different?” I asked
She shrugs here.
“Sometimes. I haven’t for ages.” she paused. “You can make it look real again sometimes.”
Silence. I let her look at her own ghosts. I’m not unsettled. Now is a time she needs to listen to the Spirit moving moving in her – not to me.
“What? No words of wisdom?”
“You already know anything I could say,” I grin at her. “You just want an argument so that you can talk yourself out of your thoughts.”
“You’re good.” She smiles back at me.
“No. God is good. But you know that, too. Coffee?”
Lord, please keep Gina second guessing herself. Help her to keep questioning you again. Father, occupy her thoughts – day and night – with your word, your truth, your gospel, your mercy, your hope. Please bring her back to your fold.
Help me to be wise in how I act and speak, that my deeds will speak of my faith so that you may use me as your mouthpiece be it directly or indirectly. May I bring honour to my Lord and my God in whom I pray,