Our simple idea this week was to buy flowers and take them to the person who we thought might need hope, life and encouragement from some other human beings. God confirmed this before we went out, giving one of our students a picture of a tree just as another was reading from Job about a tree which felt dead, but as it was given water, it came alive again.
We ended up buying a strange mix of flowers, 2 bottles of water, strawberries and a bag of pic'n'mix as giveways (don't ask!). The old addage 'don't accept sweets from a stranger' doesn't seem to apply to grown up kids, as everyone we approached was happy to take a sweet and have a chat. We chatted with a lady who was thrilled to still be alive one year after a major operation. We prayed blessing and spoke words of life over a new business and some very cheerful staff. We gave a bottle of water away to a man happy to be starting a new job the next day with a throat infection with the promise of prayer. Where were the sad, lonely and depressed?
We revisited an assistant manager who we've been connecting with over the past few months. She is coming closer to faith, and has been given prophetic and 'seeing' gifts, but is still relying on clairvoyance and spiritualist roots to bring her insight. Both she and I were astounded to discover that God had answered my private prayer 2 weeks earlier that God would silence the enemy and prevent her dead relative from speaking to her any more. She has found since then that she isn't connecting with the dead anymore and she has starting praying to God instead and that He brings her peace. Astounding! By now we'd given away all our 'gifts' except for the flowers, and I really hadn't seen anyone who looked sad enough to warrant them!
We then bumped into a chatty and bubbly lady who we know from the 'homeless drop-in' who hung around with us and came out for a cuppa. Extending hospitality to her wasn't my idea I must confess; but it was very powerful, as we shared life stories over steaming cuppas and a pile of buttered toast in the market; we captured the moment with photos and she was drawn into the middle of a loving family and for a little while belonged. We gave her the flowers and she was touched as she couldn't remember the last time someone bought her flowers and confessed that she had actually been feeling very low that day.
I re-learnt a few very valuable things today - don't judge a book by it's cover.... (smiles can cover sadness), the victory our God has over the powers of darkness .... and the simple powerful gift of inviting someone into 'family' to belong and know they are special and loved for a while.