November 22, 2013


What a great time of year to recount one’s blessings! I’ve had so many.

I’m particularly thankful that God hears and answers our prayers. He also speaks to us and is willing to guide our footsteps each day. His promise is: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Ps. 32:8).

The Spirit of the Season

God heard my prayer about Becky last holiday season. I had been to her home a few weeks earlier, leaving the first few Discover Bible study guides. I tried calling her several times afterward, but got no response. She had been in my prayers, and I wanted to see how she was doing with the lessons and if she needed any help.

Then I decided to give out Thanksgiving baskets, and I prayed about who should receive them. Immediately Becky’s name came to mind. I telephoned again, but as usual there was no answer. I left a message asking her to call me back because I had something for her.

I should have known better; I’m no good with directions.

Since the weather was cold, I almost hoped she wouldn’t call back. Yet I felt that God had spoken to me and that I should definitely go if she returned my call. I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. I decided to leave the matter in God’s hands.

It wasn’t long before Becky called and was happy for me to come for a visit. As soon as I got the basket together I went to MapQuest, printed out four pages of directions to Becky’s house, and put everything in the car. When I got to where I had to check the directions to make sure that I made the right turns, I pulled out the last three pages of my MapQuest directions. To my surprise and horror, they were all blank! Why hadn’t I checked all the pages before leaving home?

Having been to Morengo Valley before, I remembered that I had to go through town, and I wasn’t too worried, because I had Becky’s address and telephone number. I prayed that God would help me find her place. The clerk at the first gas station I stopped at told me I could buy a map for $4 and find it myself. But he finally relented and wrote down the name of a street at which I was to turn right. He said that from there I should be able to find the street I was looking for.

But I couldn’t find the street, so I stopped at another service station. I hurried inside and made my inquiry, but no one seemed to know the street I was looking for.

Then a middle-aged woman asked if she could help. I surely needed her help and decided to call Becky on my cell phone to get directions to her place from where we were.

Fortunately, the friendly woman, whose name was Mercedes, talked to Becky on my phone and got directions. She asked if I wanted her to take me there. The directions sounded so easy that I told her I didn’t think it was necessary. I should have known better; I’m no good with directions.

As I drove down the correct street I slowed at each traffic light to look at the names of the streets. After a few blocks I noticed a car behind me slowing down each time I did. I finally realized it was my new friend, Mercedes. She was following along, making sure I reached my destination. I pulled over and asked her to please take the lead, which she did. Soon I was at Becky’s house.

The experience was so typical of us wanting to go our own way. We are so confident in ourselves of our spiritual walk that we don’t think we need God’s help. But in spite of our feelings and actions, God steps in and promises: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). What a wonderful God we serve!

Gifts for the Giver

After reaching our destination, I had to learn more about my new friend, Mercedes, to thank her for her generous help. I told her she was an answer to my prayers. In appreciation I gave her a box of candy I just happened to put on top of the Thanksgiving basket at the last minute before leaving home. I also gave her the first of the Discover Bible study guides and explained how it answered questions she might have about God and the future.

Mercedes was thrilled with the gifts, especially the Bible lessons. It was as though I was an answer to her prayers. How ironic! I was the one who had to thank her, but she thanked me for my gift to her.

What a privilege is ours to help people find the Lord and the answers to their questions!

Becky greeted me warmly. She had misplaced the Bible lessons I had left with her, and since I carried extra lessons with me, I left them along with the Thanksgiving basket. After a short visit I prayed with her, and she assured me that she would study the lessons and call me if she needed help.

How thankful I am for all the blessings God pours out upon me, especially for the people He has placed in my life. As Paul mentioned in his letter to the saints in Philippi: “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Phil. 1:3).

Here are three ways to have true joy this Thanksgiving season:

Think of those for whom you are thankful.

Tell them why you are thankful for them.

Tell others you are thankful for those people.

And, of course, if you want to share your faith in Christ, enroll people in a free Bible course, such as the Discover Bible study guides.