Frustrations and the Holy Spirit’s Fruit

directions.jpgI went to the bank to make a deposit a couple of days ago. There was only one teller on duty at this small branch. The line was long. I waited patiently for the five people who were in front of me. It seemed to take forever for each one to do his or her business.

Finally, my time arrived. With her usual cheerful countenance, a teller named Connie said, “Next.”

I stepped to the window. I handed her my deposit. She counted the cash in typical bank teller fashion. After the second time her nimble fingers worked their magic on my $20 bills, she looked at me and said, “You’re one short.”

Instantly, I thought I knew what had happened. Earlier, I had tucked the deposit under the sun visor in the car. When I pulled it out, one of the $20’s must have gotten stuck and separated from the deposit.

Regardless, my time waiting in the line had been wasted. Not only would I have to return to the car to find the missing money, I would also have to wait in line once again. GRRRR.

When I returned, I was glad to see that only one person was ahead of me. An elderly woman who could barely see over the counter was standing at the window transacting her business. I heard her tell Connie in a shaky voice that she had gotten lost on her way to the bank. She said it took her over an hour to find the place. She then asked if Connie could tell her the best way to get back home. Connie said, “I’m new here. Even if I wasn’t, I’m terrible at giving directions.”

The dear woman’s shoulders drooped. Even though I was standing behind her, I could sense the expression of concern on her face. Connie’s eyes met mine. A look of concern was on her face. I spoke up and told them both that I would help this woman find her way home. Connie was relieved. The woman quickly stepped aside to let me conduct my business. But, she didn’t go far. She was like a scared little child who didn’t want to get too far from her daddy.

Connie deftly handled my deposit. The older woman and I were soon out the door. I was able to give her simple directions back to a place with which she was familiar. All she needed to do is make one right turn and then one left turn on to a road that would take her to familiar environs within 10 minutes. She would be parked in her garage within 15 minutes.

She was so grateful. I was humbled. We went our separate ways. As I drove towards home, I remembered something my wife and I have often discussed. We are agreed that not everything that happens to us is for us. I had just experienced this.

God had a job for me. It wasn’t a big job. It hardly required any effort at all. But, it did make a big difference in this woman’s life. She was probably praying about her predicament the whole time she searched for the bank. God had her answer all worked out. His Spirit working inwardly in me was producing the fruit of patience necessary for His servant to be in the right place at the right time. All I had to do was walk my talk and I would be right where God wanted me to be in order to help this dear woman find her way back home without incident.

Why was I so humbled by this? Well, I almost blew it. For a moment, while I was standing behind this woman, the thought that crossed my mind was something like, “I don’t need this. I might have to drive several miles out of my way just to lead this woman back to her neighborhood. I’m in a hurry. I have places to go. I have important things to do. Keep quiet, Bill. It’s really none of your business, anyway.”

When the trembling hand of this dear woman touched my arm as she was thanking me for taking the time to help an “old woman”, I knew I’d done the right thing. I’m glad the Spirit of God guided my steps in the pathway of righteousness. I’m glad God used me to help this dear soul that day.

Now, I’m wondering how many opportunities like this I’ve missed in the past, because I was not walking in step with the Spirit. Has anyone else had similar experiences?

© Bill Williams
2007-01-28

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Following Jesus, Holy Spirit, Kingdom Living, Writing Samples. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Frustrations and the Holy Spirit’s Fruit

  1. Lisa says:

    Recently, at the grocery store, something similar happened to me. I was stuck in a long line, and when another one nearby opened up, I considered going to it. But several other people who hadn’t been waiting in line as long as I had, ran over to the newly opened one (grrr). I was frustrated with my 2 children getting antsy and my own desire to get out of the store! But the Spirit calmed my frustration & encouraged me to find a reason to be glad for the extra wait. Then (a story I’ve already told on my own blog), a man in one of those scooters appeared behind me & I felt he needed help getting the groceries out of his basket onto the conveyor belt. Well, my 4-yr-old saw me helping & came over & also helped. I was humbled by that, as well as how grateful the man seemed that both of us were helping him. I have felt encouraged in many ways by many different people recently to “stop & smell the roses;” in other words, to stop being in such a hurry and enjoy the extra time at a stop light, in the check-out line, in traffic, etc. The Lord is teaching me a lesson in how even a minute can truly be used for His glory, rather than my own gain!

    I witnessed the sweetest “sermon” at church services last weekend: our Children’s worship program had a little presentation of bookmarks with Gal. 5:22 printed on them, but first the children recited the verse. It was so precious!

  2. Dee Andrews says:

    Bill –

    I know you were being the “grace note” in this story, but this post has “Grace Notes” story written all over it and is a perfect example for us all about how to act in times of frustration to be grace notes people to people we meet in everyday life, which is what Grace Notes is all about!

    PLEASE post it over at Grace Notes to as you have time. This is a wonderful Grace Notes piece.

    Thanks for sharing it and giving us all the opportunity to think about how to act in those times of frustrations we ourselves have. That’s what life is all about, after all.

    Cheers & Blessings! Dee

  3. brian says:

    thanks for sharing that. Notice how God doesn’t have to tell, wave his hands, and quote scripture to give us a really good sermon.

    I love it when that happens. Praise God!

  4. Neva Cooper says:

    Oh Bill,
    I loved your post. I am so glad that happens to others, too. Our God is so amazing and if we just let Him, He does amazing things with us. You are probably still in that woman’s prayers. She got to see Jesus—-in you.
    Bless you,
    Brother

  5. jel says:

    this make you think don’t it, that things happen for a reason.
    if you had not missed that 20 , and done though the first time, you would have missed helping the old woman!:?

    Blessings

  6. Kathy says:

    You are what a dear friend calls, a speed bump, helping us slow down, look around us and reach out to those needing a bit of help. Blessings to you, dear brother in Him!

    God puts us in position to help others, if only we keep our eyes and hearts open to His whispers and workings.

    It happened to me just last week. I’d planned to go to our Christian Ministries center on Friday morning to pick up a few things, but I kept being nudged to go Wednesday. Wednesday is a difficult day for me to get out in the morning since I have to be here for the gal that comes to do my laundry. So here’s how God worked the details.

    My gal had an emergency need to go to her clinic for new medication, so she would be in later than usual.

    I got myself moving and out of the house EARLY [yuck!]into really cold weather [25 degrees] arriving to CMC just after they opened.

    Another gal was already there, filling her wheeled market basket with her bundles. I found I could NOT ask if she was planning on walking home? Yes, and she lived nearly five miles from the Center. “May I take you home? It’s too cold to walk and too far away.”

    She had to come home with me so I could get the laundry gal started. As we were waiting it turned out “joan” needed some help with obtaining some documents since hers had all be stolen. We did about a 1/2 hour’s work to help her with the documents, and then off to her house. Another of God’s surprise parties! She lives across the street from our little mission church we began about a hear ago and is a steady, faithful attendee.

    All the details God set in place for this to happen just astounds me.

    LORD, thank You! Help us all to be Your speed bumps – to slow down, look around and reach out our hands in Your name and to Your glory!! Amen

  7. Donna says:

    This reminds me of a story I need to tell on my blog….I will do that later.

    Unfortunately I probably miss more of these opportunities than I take advantage of…..I too need to slow down.

  8. Greg England says:

    You asked the question: Now, I’m wondering how many opportunities like this I’ve missed in the past, because I was not walking in step with the Spirit.

    My guess is far more than we’d care to know. Which is why a reminder such as this is so good.

  9. Kathy says:

    Donna, you will find that as we go longer down life’s road [euphemism for getting old 😉 ] of necessity, we slow down. The slower body makes it easier to notice things since we can’t just zip past them quite so easily as in our younger days. So take heart. 🙂

  10. Maria says:

    Thanks for a beautiful sharing
    God bless you this day
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  11. J Paul says:

    Thanks for sharing this Bill; I also really need to slow down. You never know when you’ll encounter angels as well!

  12. Oh Bill. This is so sweet. Thanks for posting it. We all have jobs from God. Sometimes I’m afraid we do miss them because we aren’t listening close enough.

  13. Bobby R. says:

    Wow, what a great story, Bill!

    — Bobby

  14. cwinwc says:

    After my Dad passed away, I remember praying for God to put “good people” around my Mom if she ever needed help whenever I wasn’t around.

    Your kindness to this dear lady expanded God’s Kingdom.

  15. Bill says:

    Thank you, dear friends, for all of your kind and thoughtful comments. They are appreciated very much. To God be the glory! -bill

  16. Bobby Cohoon says:

    Hey Brother Bill,
    I know that there are many times we have all missed the chance. It is always our hope that if wemissed someone else covered for us!

    Bobby

  17. Trey Morgan says:

    Excellent post … I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. I’ll make sure and “stumble” back by again soon.

  18. Angie says:

    As a reward for your kindness, I would like to present you with one late night peanut butter sandwich, guilt free!

    But we both know the reward that really awaits us!

    I love you, man! 🙂

  19. rindy says:

    Excellent post. I’m reading Bill Hybels’ “Just Walk Across the Room” and exact.y the same thoughts! I used to think that it would be awesome and that it was my job to say or do something fantastic that would make someone else “see the light” and I instantly become a Christian…but I’ve learned that the little things/opportunities may be my part…but an important part. I’m with you….

  20. Keith Davis says:

    I know i’m late on this one, but am glad the Spirit led me here. You just don’t how much I need this inn my walk. Bless you brother!

  21. Wow! I love when we “see” God working! I’ve had those times, but fail to really “see” them. Thank you for the reminder to “see” the opportunities that God puts before me. (And I know I’ve let 1 too many slip away too!)

  22. Jim Martin says:

    Bill,
    A great piece! Wow. Makes me want to really pay attention to the “interuptions” more than I do at times. Thanks for a powerful reminder.

  23. Excellent story. Great reminder for all of us. Thanks for sharing! –Ms Crankypants

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