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When God is the Operator

by Sonny Childs

I was on my way to Pennsylvania to speak at the funeral of my aunt Mary Ellen. Somewhere between Elizabethtown and Bardstown, Kentucky, my cell phone rang. As soon as I said hello, two things became very obvious – one the woman had called the “wrong number” and two she was very upset. As she sucked back the tears and stumbled through an apology, my mind raced to think of something I could do for her. I didn’t know her name or even from what part of the globe she was calling. Then the light bulb came on – when you can’t do anything else, do the most effective thing that you should have done in the first place. “Ma’am, would it be okay if I had a prayer with you?” I wish you could have heard her reaction. It was like I had gotten up and walked across the room to give her a hug. “Oh yes! That would be great!” she responded.

Well, to make a long story short, Linda had just found out that her grandson, Allen was in an accident. She was beside herself with worry and was frantically dialing numbers to find out about his condition. When I suggested that we might pray together, it was like flood waters bursting over the banks. She could not hold back the emotions or the story of grief that had been bottled up inside her. As I drove along and listened, she shared a very sad account of her life and the grandson she had struggled to raise. Descriptions of drug use, family abuse, separation and other common themes of a dysfunctional family came rushing out of her broken heart. I was moved by her condition and I was overwhelmed by the fact that God had brought us together. There we were – total strangers connected by nothing more than a satellite signal that was dialed by “accident”. There was no way to help her except to give her to God. And not only was that enough, it was exactly what she needed.

Wow! Ain’t God good?

As soon as I could, I pulled off the highway, and had my own private prayer….
Now that I’ve had a few days to think about that experience, I’ve come to the following conclusion. Sometimes, I try too hard. Sometimes I forget that it is not up to me to orchestrate conditions, it is up to me to work within the conditions God orchestrates. Over the years I’ve written books on soul winning techniques, I’ve taught hundreds of evangelistic training classes and spent countless hours knocking doors with a prescripted speech. But do you know, by far the most effective evangelistic moments I’ve ever had came when I forgot myself for a moment and God took over. Is it possible that scripts, techniques and religious talking points are more of a distraction than they are a help? Is it possible that instead of us trying to create the perfect moment, it would be better for us to let the perfect God do the creating?

I would like to issue a challenge. Let’s get real. Let’s throw away the artificial techniques and prescripted sales pitches. Let’s resolve to only speak from the heart. Let’s just live in the will of God and let Him open the doors. Let’s relax in the arms of grace and let Christ orchestrate our day. May we always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. But may we also remember, it’s not up to us to save the world, it is up to Christ to save the world through us. Let’s let God make the connection. Let’s let Him be the operator.

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 (NIV):
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13