For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)
“You are the only friend I know who believes in Jesus,” Michaela confided in me, a friendship only hours old. Our paths woven together as we waited in line to tour the Empire State Building on the first day the famous structure opened to the public following the traumatic attacks in New York City on 9-11. My journey to The Big Apple materialized during a prayer time on a routine day of commute around Houston. Feeling heavy-hearted about the devastating losses I asked God for an opportunity to help. Within days, I received a phone call about doing so and several friends and I joined others in the effort to offer hope in Christ.
On this particular morning, we set out to explore the wounded city. I whispered a prayer for an open door to share the gospel. Little did I realize how God already orchestrated a surprise intersection with a young woman while I stood in line for the Empire State Building. Moving forward inch by inch, I began a conversation with Michaela and learned she currently worked as a nanny for a family in Connecticut. However, this delightful young woman explained her journey originated from a much more distant place, Prague in the Czech Republic. Upon exiting the elevator at the top, I soaked in the view, smiling as we snapped photos overlooking the vast city. I encouraged Michaela after finishing the tour to join us for the afternoon since she was by herself.
While finding our way to Ground Zero, I shared with Michaela that my friends and I traveled to NYC because we experienced the love of God in our lives through our relationship with Jesus and wanted to extend His love to those who were hurting. I cherished the immense privilege of relaying to my new friend from a faraway country which in its recent history denied the very existence of God the offer of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. As we sat in a café just blocks from the rubble of destruction, the smell of death, and the horror of evil I told her the truth. God did not intend the world to be this way and that man, in his rebellion, strayed from God. Even though He could abandon mankind, God instead chose to give the priceless life of His Son as a sacrifice for mankind’s sin. A true message of abundant peace in a place of overwhelming loss.
I tell this story because I still marvel at the way God surprised me by sending me to be an instrument of hope. AND He surprised with a new friend who I kept in touch with for a number of years until the distance became a barrier. I am grateful for God’s heart to reveal all kinds of surprises when we make ourselves available to kingdom purposes. May you find great delight in God’s creative ways as you depend upon Him to influence people He brings across your path.