Saved by a Jam Jar

Do you think the Lord talks to people today? You know in the Bible He sometimes talked to people with a voice from heaven or in a dream. Sometimes he sent angels and then, of course, there was Jesus living on earth and speaking with people on a daily basis but what about today?

I told you the story about praying for my friend and her family. I was on the tractor and just really “felt” like they were in need and so I began to pray. I continued to pray for them until I was at peace. There are other times when I think “I should call them/I should write them a note”. What about the times when I feel I should just do something nice for someone?

So many times our response is “that just dawned on me” or “I don’t know what made me think of that” or “it just came to my mind” or what about this one “it was just intuition”. I have learned through the years that these are all ways of the Lord speaking to me and I need to be still, listen and then obey.

At one of Jesus’ teachings he referred to himself as the good Shepherd who cares for his sheep (that would be us) and He said this

“ My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 CEV

We need to be more attentive to the Lord’s voice and then we need to be obedient. I’d like to tell you a story that happened to me personally.

Several years ago we were back in Iowa working for some friends. I had gone home from the airport early and planned to get some of my own chores done. I set up the ironing board, got out some shirts and got started. My friend, Melody, stopped by to drop off some papers. I got light headed but thought it was just the heat so didn’t mention anything to her and she left.

I got back at it and I hadn’t been working very long when I was hit with a terrible pain in my abdomen. It was so severe that I almost passed out. I began to pray and kept myself conscious. Then another pain came, it drove me to my knees and another and another. I crawled to the bathroom thinking I was going to throw up. All the time I was praying “Lord, I need help!”

Unknown to me, in my neighbors kitchen, Jan was washing dishes and there on her counter she saw a empty jam jar. I had made jam a week or so earlier and had given them a jar. They had finished it and now the empty jar sat on her counter top. She told her husband “I’m going to take that jar back to Kristi”. He asked, “Now?” and she said “yes, I need to go now”.

There should have been no urgency in returning an empty jam jar. She could bring it over anytime but she just sensed “I need to go now”. She didn’t know it but she was on a mission from God! Jan was the answer to my prayer for help! How silly was that – God used a jam jar to save me.

When she got there and saw what terrible pain I was experiencing, Jan helped me get my phone and I was able to call Dave and he came with Melody and they took me to the ER. From there it was a trip by ambulance to the nearest large city and a 6 day stay in the hospital while I recovered from acute pancreatitis. I don’t even think about what would have happened if Jan had put off returning that jam jar.

How many times have we had “a thought” and pushed it aside as being silly or unimportant? Maybe it was a prompting to do a kindness for a stranger and then we held back because we wondered what will people think. It could be that phone call we’ve been meaning to make, a word of encouragement that needs to be said or a prayer that needs to be whispered. Or maybe it was something we’ve done that didn’t turn out well and we’ve said “I just KNEW I shouldn’t have done that”.

“But He, your Teacher, will not hide Himself any more. Your eyes will see your Teacher. 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:20-21 NLV

It doesn’t take much to send a short text that says “I was just thinking about you and wanted you to know I prayed for you. I love you.” Or a quick call to say “Is there anything you need?” Jan could have thought, I don’t want to bother Kristi. She just got home. I’ll go later. She didn’t know she was the answer to my prayer but she was obedient to what her heart said and that’s exactly what I needed.

There was a young boy by the name of Samuel whose family had taken him to live with the priest in Israel. His parents had dedicated him to the serve the Lord. One night he was asleep and he heard someone call him. He thought it was the old priest, Eli, so he got up and ran to Eli. Eli was sleeping and said he hadn’t called Samuel so Samuel went back to bed. After he fell asleep, he heard the voice again. Same result – go to Eli, no he didn’t call and back to bed. A third time it happened and this is what Eli told him.

“ When the Lord called out his name for the third time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

Eli finally realized that it was the Lord who was speaking to Samuel. 9 So he said, “Go back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I’m listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?’”

Once again Samuel went back and lay down. 10 The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“I’m listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?” I Samuel 3:8-10 CEV

Now there’s the right response. We’ve all had times that we have missed God speaking to us, no point in getting condemned or upset about it. No point in looking back. The right response is “I’m listening Lord, what do you want me to do?”

I know I need to listen better and so I encourage you to listen and obey.

Maybe someone you know needs a jar of jam!

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