Uncomfortably Available

Lori Futcher
Uncomfortably Available

            I plastered a fake smile on my face as strangers mingled around me. I didn’t want to be at this health fair, but my best friend Becky had talked me into making an appearance. I couldn’t hang out with her, though. She was busy taking people’s blood pressure. All of the other student missionaries were helping with the fair. I was the only one without something to do.

            When I first learned we’d be holding a health fair, I felt charged with excitement. I had lived in Majuro long enough that the newness of the island had worn off. The health fair would replace the monotony of my routine with something fresh and exciting. I couldn’t wait to volunteer for a role in the event.

            But then I felt an overwhelming impression holding me back. Don’t volunteer for the health fair, an internal voice directed me. Wait until you are asked.  

            At first, I wasn’t bothered by this impression, thinking maybe there was a special assignment God had chosen just for me.

            I waited anxiously for my call, but it never came. Then the health fair coordinators showed up at my apartment where the student missionaries were hanging out. The coordinators who had arrived on the island a few days earlier, worked their way around the room starting at the left and working to the right. One at a time, they asked each person there if they would volunteer.

            My heart raced as they moved across the room. By the time they got to the person next to me, I could hardly contain my eagerness to accept their invitation.

            But then they skipped right over me, leaving me the only person who wasn’t asked to help.

            I seethed silently. Didn’t God want me to do anything at the fair?

            On the day of the fair, I found myself alone and without a purpose in a crowd of strangers. I decided I’d circle once through the booths and then walk home.

            But before I completed the loop, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning, I recognized a couple of non-denominational missionaries who had visited our church a couple of times. 

            “Can we ask you some questions?” one of them asked. 

            Having never been put on the spot quite like that before, I sent up a quick prayer. As they began asking about the history of our church, the things I had learned in my Adventist History class the previous semester came quickly to my mind. We talked until the health fair was over.

            “It’s a good thing you weren’t busy like the rest of us,” Becky commented as we headed back to our apartments. “Those men wouldn’t have had anyone to talk to.”

            With chills, I realized why God had not wanted me to volunteer. Instead of putting me in a role where I would have felt more comfortable, He had wanted me to be available. God had planned a special role for me after all.

Lori Futcher is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and speaker living in Nampa, Idaho.

Lori Futcher