You Just Never Know
December 9, 2017
by Maria Fontaine
You Just Never Know
One Christmas, Peter and I were traveling and needed to be in a hotel for a couple of days. Arriving early, we were told that our room wasn’t ready yet. Disappointed and very tired, we thought we would have to wait a couple of hours. Then, suddenly, as though sensing our thoughts, the lovely young woman at the desk said, “But there is another room ready, if you’d like to take that one. It’s an upgrade, but I’ll give that one to you for the lower price.”
Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity, thanked her profusely, and knew that the Lord had given us a sign of His love.
Before we left home I had the idea to print out some simple cards on colored paper. I put “Merry Christmas” on the front. Then I selected about ten different Christmas-related quotes and added them to the inside, one quote per card. This created a variety of cards, so that I could give people whatever message the Lord led me to give them. Some of the quotes contained a little more direct message about Jesus being the meaning of Christmas, and others gave a more general message about showing love and care for others. I made several sets of these cards, so that I would have plenty to give away.
Just before we were to check out of the hotel, I went to the office with a couple of these cards and offered them to the woman who had been such a help to us, saying, “These remind me of you, Lisa, and the sweet things that you did for us.” (She had also given us a late checkout without charge.)
These are the two messages that I gave her:
It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you ... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.—Author unknown
Somehow, not just for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy you give to others,
Is what comes back to you.
—John Greenleaf Whittier
She immediately opened the cards and read them. Then to my surprise, she got up from her chair, walked around the front desk, and threw her arms around me, a complete stranger, giving me a big, warm hug, with a very heartfelt, “Thank you so very much.” I was surprised, as I hadn’t expected such a strong reaction. The Lord had prepared the way with exactly what she needed to hear.
Once home, since I love witnessing in any way I can, I really wanted to understand more about Lisa and why the Lord had engineered this little interaction that had apparently made a significant impression on her. I asked Jesus about this. He said, in prophecy:
You just never know by looking at people what is deep within. Lisa was away from her family at this special time. The hotel needed her to work the holidays again this year, so she had decided again not to go home for a visit. She was feeling lonely.
Though she has a few friends, she misses her old friends back home. And at times like Christmas, the memories of her childhood and teen years, when her faith was such a dominant source of strength, creep in. Since moving away from home and all her Christian friends, she hasn’t reconnected with her faith in her new location. She still loves Me but has gotten very busy as the time has flown by, except at Christmas when memories have reminded her of what she wishes she could feel in her present situation.
She never meant to let go of her strong faith. It just happened, and she hasn’t been sure how to rekindle it. It was My perfect time to motivate her with a few words of encouragement placed in her hands by a stranger. My plan is to show her how to make Me her anchor and foundation so that, wherever she is, she will know that I’m with her, being her strength and shield and the source of everything she needs in order to help others, whether she is surrounded by people of faith or on her own.
Sometimes it takes a number of steps or stages in the growing process, and you played a part in one of those stages.
Lisa was pondering all those memories with a twinge of guilt that another year had gone by without her trying to reach out to others in the way she had done before. Being on her own, she didn’t feel the bravery and excitement that she’d had in the past.
She wanted to do something. This Christmas she was determined to try to bring a little light into someone’s life. That’s why when she saw you there and could see that you were tired and could use some help, she put forth the effort to help you.
It just felt right to her to try to show My love by doing something she didn’t have to do, just because she cared. She experienced a surge of inspiration and contentment that she had at least done what she could to try to show My love.
That’s why she was so touched when you gave her those Christmas messages. That action showed her that somehow you had sensed her heart. It made the loneliness lift. It gave her a boost in spirit which communicated to her that she wasn’t far away from Me, but rather, that I was watching over her. She sensed that I was tuned in to her. This experience confirmed My presence to her.
Maria: I continued to think about Lisa and pray for her. The Lord laid on my heart to write her a little note, as follows:
Hi, dear Lisa,
I have been thinking about you since we returned home, and I want to thank you again for your kindness to a couple of “weary travelers.” We definitely took your concern for us as a sign of your loving and caring spirit, and an indication from our dear Jesus that He cares for us in all the ways that we need. You, in this case, were His representative!
I was struck by your enthusiastic response to the little “Merry Christmas” cards I gave you. I wondered if perhaps it was because you were missing your home and friends, not being able to be there for Christmas? Perhaps you were thinking of Christmases when you were younger when you possibly felt closer in your faith to Jesus? Perhaps you were wishing it could be that way again?
Well, Lisa, if you do feel that you’ve lost something from your earlier years, you can regain it by determining to live your faith daily. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same way you did it when you were younger; there are so many ways to express your love for Jesus, both through your praises directed to Him and through sharing His love with others.
You may be familiar with His words: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
Those He was speaking to asked how and when they had done those things to Him. Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35, 36, 40).
As we serve and care for others, we are serving and caring for Jesus. This is His assignment to each of us who know Him. It’s something that all of us can do in one way or another.
The things we can do may be very small in our eyes, but for the recipients, they mean a very great deal, just as your hospitality to us did when we arrived exhausted and you went out of your way to care for us. When you do something kind to help others in their need, this can be a sign to them that there is a God who cares for them because they have felt His love through you.
May your year be one of happiness and joy, as you share God’s love with others. He needs you!
In Jesus’ love.
Maria: Lisa isn’t the only one who is lonely at Christmas. She isn’t the only one who thinks deeply about past years. Not all are sentimental about Christmas, but many at this time of year are thinking about where they’ve come from and where they’re going.
Whether someone is reaching out to the Lord for the first time or wants to reconnect with Him, we can be the link for them, if we are willing to be. Everyone has that need that can only be filled with that someone who loves us unconditionally, that someone who can fill the empty places in our hearts to overflowing, the one who is always there when we need help in order to face the challenges of life.
Reach out with love and compassion and a prayer. The Lord will help you to discern others’ needs. He will inspire you with something you can do or say to point them to Him. Then He can continue to work in their lives, answer their questions, and provide the motivation they need in order to come closer to Him. You just never know how important your faithfulness in these seemingly small things can be.