The following is a true story.
As I was leaving Sunday school, I was chatting with a friend, and I could tell that Jim was kind of hanging around like he wanted to talk to me. I’m not sure if I had even spoken to him before. I had been gone for two months that summer on a Cru mission trip, and he had started coming to the class during that time. As we got off the elevator into the lobby, he initiated a conversation with me saying, “You don’t remember me, do you?”
I frowned, looked at his face real hard, and tried to place him. Then I remembered and said, “Krispy Kreme!”
I had first “met” Jim on Match.com. After some emails through the website, we decided to meet in person one Saturday morning at Krispy Kreme. (The location was chosen because I had listed it on my profile as one of my favorite things. Yes – I know how to attract men!) The date was fine, but there weren’t sparks on either side, and that was the end of our communication.
I told him that he looked different to me, and he looked away and mumbled something about having lost some weight. He told me he had moved near the church that summer and that was how he ended up in my Singles Class. Then Jim said that he was sharing his testimony in our class on the Sunday before Veterans Day, and he wanted to be sure I was there to hear it. Of course, I was happy to do so.
As I drove out of the parking lot, I realized that Jim looked different because his countenance was different. It was because God had changed his life in the months since our date.
Well, that Sunday finally came, and Jim began to share his story. He was in the military and had been in the first Iraq war in the early 1990’s and then went back to Iraq after 9/11. After coming back in the fall of 2005, he began to go through post-traumatic stress disorder and became suicidal. He shared in detail how that Christmas he had planned to commit suicide and yet each night, he could never follow through on his plan.
Then he fast forwarded the story to that past April. He told how he went on a date with a girl to Krispy Kreme and how she prayed over her doughnut. He said it reminded him of his mother and that it was the first light he had had in years. God used it to spur him to come back to Him which led to his coming to my church and to our class. He then shared that one day in August, this girl from the Krispy Kreme date walked in the class and his heart leapt in his chest only to fall when he realized that she didn’t remember him. At this point he shared that the girl was me – and I corrected him by saying that I remembered him but didn’t recognize him!
I have a lot of crazy stories that have happened in my life, but that is definitely one of the craziest. I share it not to say that I am great because I’m not any different from you. I think many Christians have these stories – they just don’t know them because they don’t see the person again. I share this story because it taught me some things about being light.
- Your consistency matters. It’s not enough to just live out your faith in those times when you know people are watching. You need to live it out all the time because you never know how it will impact someone around you. (I will mention that I do not remember praying over the doughnut and, honestly, I don’t usually pray over doughnuts. But apparently I did that day and God used it.)
- You have no idea how God is using you. In God’s sovereignty, somehow He led Jim to come to my church and even to that specific class. Jim didn’t know I went to church there – he wasn’t looking for me. Amazingly, God decided to have our paths to cross again, and I just happened to get to hear how He used me. But what if I had never seen Jim again? God would have still worked in his life through shining a little light into it. I just would have no idea. I think that there are amazing ways God has used you as part of what He is doing to change a person’s life, but you just don’t know it. I think that when we get to heaven, we’ll get to learn all our doughnut stories and rejoice and reflect all the glory back to God.
- Don’t limit what God can use. How many women go on Match.com dates thinking about being light and glorifying God? How many trips to get doughnuts seem to carry eternal impact? But God uses all kinds of things – things that seem significant to us and things that don’t. Don’t limit Him. Keep being salt and light in the big and the small.
Jim went on to meet his future wife in that class. And God used Match.com to allow me to meet my husband in person just a few weeks after I met Jim. His plans are sometimes a little crazy, often surprising, and always good.
So keep on being salt. Keep on being light. In the big and small. Even while eating hot doughnuts.