Sunday, March 18, 2012

You cannot out give God.

Kruis san damiano

While exploring the village where my husband and I just spent the weekend away - we discovered an op shop. Yay - I though (I know that 'yay' would not have been the word my husband would have chosen for that moment). In that lovely shop I found some books; a book about Akiane , which I gave to my niece - who is a lovely artist, an illustrated Beauty and the Beast for my daughter (because that is her favourite fairy tale) and one for me about money from a Christian perspective.

It is this last book that has me thinking. Over and over the author speaks of how he gave things away, including cars and a house even, and how God would use those gifts to bless others, and in return the author was blessed in many different ways.

Two years ago, when I was sitting my test to become an Australian citizen (finally after 40 plus years of living here), I met a lovely young woman (we'll call her Sally, though that is not her real name)- together we had helped an Afghani woman with very little English. I had lunch with this new friend. We spoke deeply and honestly from the first moment. As she was speaking to me I had this overwhelming urge to take off the military chaplain cross that I had been gifted with (in extraordinary circumstances). God was pushing and prodding me to give this cross to her. No - I was thinking - that can't be God because he gave it to me (I was a high school chaplain when I was given it), he knows it is very special to me. But the urge was very real. So I placed this little gold cross badge into her palm and said truthfully - "God is urging me to give this to you. I really don't want to. It means a lot to me, but I know I have to." I had tears in my eyes as I tucked my now empty hand into my lap.

I looked at Sally's eyes. She also had tears in them. She said to me, "Last night I was supporting a friend who is suicidal. I said to God - I know you love her, but sometimes I just don't know that you love me. Could you show me that you love me?" This simple gift was her answer to prayer.

I remember saying goodbye to her - feeling the loss of my cross and yet strangely lighter.  I rushed to get to the book store where I was meeting my best friend in the coffee shop. Before I could even tell her my story she rummaged in her bag and pulled out the San Damiano cross - the cross that has special significance to Franciscans. She was a little nervous giving it to me (Catholic to Protestant), unsure of how I would receive it. She also gave me the prayer attributed to Saint Francis. She started to explain about St Francis, butI had to stop her. I hadn't yet told her that I was a novice with the Third Order of the Society of St Francis (TSSF). Imagine how all three of us felt when we realised that at that very moment when I handed over my cross, Caroline was buying the other cross for me. Sometimes I wonder - what would have happened if I hadn't given my cross to Sally?

But that is not the end of the story. My TSSF novice counsellor, when he found out, told me he had been a military chaplain - and so he sent me a new cross to wear.

No - you can't out give God it seems.


  1. Beautiful.
    Thank you for encouraging me to trust God to continually lead, provide, bless and out-give me.

  2. What a beautiful story! God is a riot sometimes, eh?

  3. Replies
    1. Wow, that's a beautiful story, Asta. The book you just bought sounds great too. My family are into simple living through necessity. One of the themes in my "Design of Gold" novel is about a fellow who gives things away, prompted by God.
      Thanks for the good post.

    2. Paula - I am reading your book 'Best Forgotten' at the moment, and I have requested 'Design of Gold' at the library. I love your themes. Thank you so much for using your gift!

  4. Wow!! Such a generous God and what a blessing when His people respond to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. Your obedience not only blessed your friends, and you that day, but us as well, as we read your story here. xx

    1. Thank you Dorothy. This 'story' is one that I hold close to my heart and often refer to when I need to remember the reality of God's provision in my life. So glad I have now shared it with you - with the readers of my blog. It is a good reminder that we should not keep these moments to ourselves. A x