I had no idea where God would lead.
It all started back in September. It was time to get the word out about my new book, Come With Me Devotional. I had saved all year for funds to spread the word. As I prayed for direction on how to do that, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying this:
Put it in the hands of those who wouldn’t receive it otherwise.
It was my “Come With Me” invitation. Instead of marketing a book, we’d give books away. Every time someone preordered a book, we’d match it with a book. During that month of pre-order, we joyfully put books in the hands of pregnancy crisis shelters, and sent books to India and to Turkey. Books were sent to refugee ministries, and books were sent to ministries that rescued women from the sex slave trade.
The preorder period finally wound down. The last of the funds I had saved went to purchase 30 books for a local prison ministry. As I packaged those, I received a message. It was from the prison ministry.
We love that you can give 30 books, but would you consider 60?
I sat with my bank balance in my hands, unsure. Where would the funds come from? The next morning two friends — without knowing about the other — said they sensed the Lord leading them to buy a few devotionals, and allow me to place them wherever there was a need. With those funds, and digging deeper, we were able to purchase the additional books.
Then we received another message.
Thank you for the 60 books. Our women’s prison population is 115. Is it possible for you to give a book to each of them?
Realistically, the answer was no. It was impossible. The preorder period was over. Marketing funds gone.
As I sat with my computer in my hands, wondering where and how, I was reminded of the story of Philip (Luke 9:13). He held a meager lunch in his hands and stared out over the crowd of thousands as Jesus said, “Philip, you feed them.” This was Philip’s “Come With Me” invitation. Jesus was asking Philip to take his eyes off the obvious to trust him. He was asking Philip to hold up that meager lunch and Jesus would use that to feed those who were hungry.
So I held up my bank account. I help up my uncertainty. I held up the 115 women that were on his heart, and asked that he help me see beyond the obvious.When we focus on the obvious, we may miss the miracle. #ComeWithMeDevo #livingfreetogether Click To Tweet
Somehow those 115 copies came together. As I boxed them, I received one final message.
It was an invitation to accompany the books when they go through the doors of the prison. To stand before the women and share my story of encountering Jesus.
May I be honest with you?
The financial faith walk wasn’t the biggest adventure in this story. It was the small voice that whispered almost every day, “You aren’t marketing this book. You aren’t doing what is you are “supposed to be doing.” How will anyone know about this book?”
This was a beautiful experience, but it wasn’t without struggling to move beyond the obvious.
When we focus on the obvious, we may miss the miracle.
I couldn’t help but see the obvious obstacles, but there was something God saw as well. The faces of women who were refugees, in desperate places, those who didn’t know him, and those who were imprisoned.
He also saw the unexpected invitation. The one where I’d walk through prison doors and get to share my story. To encourage these women, and tell them that Jesus offers hope, redemption, and transformation — and that he loves them like crazy.
This unexpected invitation is a beautiful gift, and I’m humbled by it. In fact, I’m amazed by it. This was never about me, or books, or my bank account. It was about people. It was about the fact that God loves them.
It was about the eternal aspect. It’s always about the eternal aspect with God.
We see an obvious mountain. Jesus is looking at what’s waiting on the other side.
We see someone as lost. Jesus is aware of their desire to be found.
We say it’s impossible. Jesus says, “Try me.”
What we see as obvious, he sees as a potential miracle.
21 Life Changing Invitations as We Walk With Jesus
Invitation #21 — our final day in this study — is to look deeper than the obvious.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7 (NIV)
On this last day of our study, I’d love to extend a personal invitation.
Do you know someone that others have given up on because of the “obvious?”
Will you consider placing a copy of this Come With Me Devotional in the hands of a woman who might not ever buy a devotional?
Leave a copy in a waiting room, or at a laundry mat. Leave at a bus stop, or give it as a gift to a stranger. Place it in the hands of a friend who longs for truth. Will you partner with me in that?
As you do, share her first name with me, and let’s pray together for her. ~ Suzie