// Lynette Hagin
AT THE BEGINNING of the new year, I always ask the Lord what I need to concentrate on during that year. As I meditated on the Word and prayed, these words began to come, "Focus on listening to My voice in every step that you take and in every decision that you make."
We are living in one of the most trying and difficult times that I have ever experienced in my life. Every day we hear of another tragic situation. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that the last days would be very difficult times (2 Tim. 3:1). I believe we are in those days now.
This also presents great opportunities for us if we will listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 37:23 reminds us that "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way." The Lord will order our steps daily and give us opportunities to minister to people who are hurting if we will only recognize and obey His voice.
I recently experienced a divine appointment from God. My husband and I took a few days off to relax before the busy holiday season. Our biggest decision every day was deciding where to eat for our evening meal. That decision was certainly minor in comparison to the decisions we normally make on a daily basis. But one day as we were determining which restaurant to go to, we had no idea what a weighty decision we were making.
My husband suggested several types of food, and we both decided that Italian was the choice of the day. However, there were two Italian restaurants in the town we were in. I preferred one of them and Kenneth preferred the other. He was hungry for bruschetta and did not like the bruschetta at the restaurant of my choice. Although I liked my restaurant better, I said, "Okay honey, let's go to the restaurant that you like."
Once at the restaurant, we waited several minutes for a table. The hostess seated us and gave us a menu. As we scanned it, we did not see bruschetta. We had another decision to make: Do we stay or get up and go to the other Italian restaurant?
Just as we were about to discuss the matter, our waitress appeared. I was taken aback as this young, attractive girl only had one arm. I tried not to stare. Thoughts were whirling through my mind. How did this happen? How can she ever manage? I watched the other waiters swarm around with heavy trays and wondered how she was going to carry a tray with one arm?
I composed myself hoping that she didn't sense my thoughts and asked about the bruschetta. To our dismay, it had been taken off the menu.
I was curious as to what happened to her arm but didn't want to ask. I was overwhelmed by her positive attitude in spite of the handicap. Without my asking, she volunteered that she was in a car accident. Her children, ages 4 and 1, were not hurt. But the car rolled over on her arm, and it had to be amputated. She said that she went into depression, her husband left her, and she lost her job.
After taking our order, she left and went about her business. I asked God, "What can I do to encourage her?"
Suddenly I got the answer. I reached in my wallet and pulled out the amount the Lord told me to give her. When she came by again, I called her name and said, "This is not your tip. I will be leaving that when I pay the bill. This is for you personally."
She hugged me and started to cry. "I have been in dire financial need," she said. "What a blessing this is." I asked if I could pray for her. She quickly agreed.
I didn't particularly enjoy my meal. But the satisfaction of knowing that this was a "God assignment" was far more satisfying than any meal I could have eaten. Know that God wants to give you assignments this year, but you must recognize His voice and obey Him.
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)