A little more than four years ago my wife had to have breast surgery for a cancerous tumor. Each year since she has had a mammogram to assure that the cancer has not reoccurred. A couple weeks ago she had her mammogram and got a call asking her to come back as they “found something strange” at the surgery site. Well, we prayed that it would be nothing, but couldn’t help being a bit apprehensive of having to have more surgery. Her re-exam was scheduled for this past Tuesday. That morning, as we are accustomed to doing, we read the Our Daily Bread devotional after breakfast. It was entitled “A Risky Detour,” and related the story of how Harley had to meet again with her insurance agent and was not looking forward to another boring sales pitch, but decided to make the most of it by looking for an opportunity to talk about her faith. When she noticed that the agents eyebrows were tattooed, she hesitantly asked her why. The agent said she thought it would bring her good luck, which opened up a conversation about luck versus faith, giving Harley an opportunity to talk about how she relied on Jesus, not luck.
Our Daily Bread spoke of how Jesus took a “risky detour” by taking His disciples through Samaria rather than by the usual route for the Jews of going across the Jordan River and around to bypass the hated Samaritans. The Apostle John relates the story of how there at the well near Sychar, Jesus met a woman who had come out at noon to draw water. Most women came out early in the day while it was cool, but this woman was an outcast because of her lifestyle. Jesus asked her for a drink, which opened up a conversation that led to her trusting Him as Messiah/Savior (Jn. 4:1-26, 39-42).
Then the devotional article went on to ask: “Are you meeting someone today you really don’t want to see?…Consider taking a ‘risky detour.’ Who knows, God may be giving you a divine opportunity to talk to someone about Him today!…How can you go out of your way to share the good news in a bold but loving, sensitive way?” Obviously, as we read that we both thought immediately about Kathy’s appointment in Imaging at the hospital.
When she returned from the re-exam, I asked how it went and what they found out. She said that it was only some different tissue, probably from radiation she had had near there as a child to remove a birth mark. It was nothing that needed attention—Praise the Lord. But then Kathy went on to say that in her conversation with the technician who did the mammogram, Kathy got to share that she was currently teaching a women’s Bible study on Ephesians. The tech told of how she was a Christian but had made some bad decisions and been out of fellowship with the Lord but was now back in a good Bible-teaching church and hungry to grow in her faith and to get to know Jesus better. Kathy had prayer with her before she left. The tech is pregnant with their first child (a boy) and having a C-section today! Pray for her if you would.
In the Apostle Paul’s final letter, written to his understudy, Timothy, he challenged: “Preach the word (share the Good News); be ready in season and out season…Do the work of an evangelist” (II Tim. 4:2,5). Even though we may not have the “gift of evangelism,” we are all—as believers—responsible for doing the work of an evangelist; i.e., taking advantage of opportunities God provides to tell people of God’s love and forgiveness. The Apostle Peter writes: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (I Pet. 3:15). Pray that God would open doors of opportunity for you—even in your “less-than-desirable encounters.” Pray for open hearts and pray that God will give you courage to open your mouth and give you the right things to share. We are to be ready “in season and out of season,” i.e., when we feel like it and when we don’t; when it is convenient and when it isn’t—always be ready to give a reason for your hope. You may have such a “divine appointment” today and it may come in an unexpected way. It seems that God loves to work that way and sets up those “risky detours” for us. Don’t miss them!