Way back in the dark ages when my husband was in the Air Force, we were stationed in a small town in Illinois at a base that's now closed. (For you history buffs, that was Chanute AFB in Rantoul, Illinois.)
We lived in an apartment complex in town until base housing became available. Another couple that occupied an apartment across the street from ours was in the spotlight because on a regular basis, this large American man would yell at; berate; cuss loudly at and degrade his tiny Asian young wife.
One morning as I walked my kids the few blocks to school, I heard God tell me to stop at her house and tell her that He loved her. I determined to do that on the way home. But I didn't follow through. I made excuses and piddled the day away. Before I knew it the clocked chimed time to go walk the kids home from school.
As my toddler and I passed her apartment, I felt God nudging me. But I walked all the way down to the corner kind of "arguing" with God about it, making excuses why I couldn't take the time to stop. "She won't understand English." And, "It's too late now, I'm halfway to the school, if I turn back now I'll be late getting the kids." God wasn't hearing any of that. "If you'd have stopped as I asked you to, you wouldn't be running late."
Convicted and knowing how much I love knowing that God loves me, how could I not turn back and tell her? As I approached her door, butterflies were having a wrestling tournament in my stomach. Why? I have no idea! I knocked on her door. No answer. Gentle nudge; I knocked again. No answer. Smile. Sigh. "Oh, God, you just wanted to know that I would do this, or rather, wanted me to know that I could do this!"
Before I could turn to walk away with relief, she opened her door a little, shyly peeking through the crack. She looked up at me (yes, I'm taller than she was, if you can imagine that) with pleading eyes, whispering Asian words I couldn’t understand. I sweetly told her that God asked me to drop by and tell her that Jesus loves her. Her face melted as she began to cry. She came out onto the step and hugged me, tears turning to sobs as she wailed, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
As I walked to the school to get the kids (no, as it turned out, I wasn’t late), I marveled at how simple that was. I felt a glowing joy about doing it, but wondered why I was so easily intimidated in the first place.
I never saw the woman again. I have no clue what happened to her. But I can’t tell you how happy I am that I obeyed the voice of my Father.
“…To obey is better than sacrifice…” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
God prefers our obedience to a million sacrifices. Ponder this!