God Sat Next to Me

Posted on: August 25, 2015 Written by
God Sat Next to Me
Photography by: DarthArt from iStock          

“We have to learn to make room for God, to give him elbow room. We calculate and estimate, and say this and that will happen, and we forget to make room for him to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting in a way we had never looked for Him to come? Do not look for Him to come in any particular way, but do look for Him. The great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I was on my way to meet Masudi for lunch and take him to the doctor. It seemed like any other day in a matatu (a small van for public transportation). At the Karen stage, when I was unexpectedly moved to a different matatu, I was glad to get one of the front seats. A minute or two later, the conductor seated an older white gentleman next to me. While I do see other white people on public transportation now and then, it is not very common.

He was sitting much lower in the seat than I was, and the brim of his khaki safari hat was bent down to shade his eyes from the sun. As we headed down Ngong Road in the slow-moving traffic, I greeted him. He told me he has lived in Kenya for fifteen years. When I told him I have been here for thirteen, he lifted his head so he could look me straight in the eye.

With a sigh, he replied, “Hmm. It is not easy living here, is it?” When he shared that sentiment, I immediately felt drawn to him.

I had been praying about a serious issue that had been on my mind lately. I purposely had not discussed it with friends; I was instead waiting to hear from God on the subject.

Still, for some reason, I felt prompted to mention the subject to this guy—a complete stranger. As he again tilted up his head and turned to look me directly in the eye, his immediate response was exactly and precisely what I needed to hear.

I was flabbergasted.

We sat next to each other for about 30 minutes. He rambled on and on with one wild story after another of his life. Almost 80 years old, he referred to himself as an apostle of God. “I am Apostle Seth,” he declared, “just like Apostle Paul in the Bible.”

Was he an angel sent from God? Or just an eccentric old man?

One thing I do know for an absolute fact. It was God’s voice sent directly to me. Over the span of a few weeks, God had very clearly spoken the same exact message three times and from three very different sources!

As we continued down the road in the beat-up matatu, Apostle Seth kept up with his crazy stories. Several times, though, he suddenly stopped and looked right at me. He interrupted himself in order to emphatically repeat those same words—the very message I needed to hear.

“We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. All of a sudden God meets us. There is no escape when our Lord speaks. He always comes with an arrestment of the understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

 

Question to consider: How has God “surprised” you by coming “in a way [you] had never looked for Him to come?”

 

 
©2015 Thrive.



About the author

When God called me to Kenya, he revealed a simple assignment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ He then connected me to a handful of single parents and their children, orphans, and refugees in urban slums and rural villages. I have come alongside these friends in long-lasting, one-on-one relationships since 2001. We share meals, we laugh and we cry together, we go on picnics. Sometimes it includes a financial hand-up and other times it includes balloons and a birthday cake. I am currently learning how to better do cross-cultural ministry through a balanced lifestyle that includes contemplative practices.

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