With Christmas approaching and life feeling a little crazy, it can be easy to get mired in details and frustrations of life and to miss the bigger story God has planned. Don’t miss it — even when it means wading into uncomfortable situations and maybe even difficult relationships.
Recently Pastor Dave Kountz shared about a time when God spoke to him through a single verse that opened the door to a bigger story.
I remember the first time God really spoke to me. We had been coming to Blue Ridge for about a year. We had moved to Lynchburg and had been renting a place to live. We found some land and built a farm-style house with a wrap-around porch. My wife and four kids loved it. Life was good.
Then my wife came in one day and said, “I met this woman today. She’s living on Campbell Avenue in a really rough area in a rental. She’s got four kids and her husband is in prison. We have four levels. Don’t we have enough space to let them in?”
I said, “Do you want the long answer or the short answer? They both involve two letters: NO.” There’s no way this turns out well. My wife’s name is Debbie. The other lady’s name was Debbie. We each had four children. They go to Blue Ridge. So if it doesn’t work out, then we might have to leave this church we like.
My wife just said, “Would you pray about it?”
I said, “Yeah, I’ll pray about it.” But I knew this was a bad idea.
The next week, Debbie came to me and asked if I could find some verses on serving because her small group was doing a study on serving.
I could do that.
I can still remember sitting on the couch, sort of skimming through a lot of verses. But when I got to 1 Peter 4:9, I just stopped. It was almost like that verse was written in neon.
“Begrudge not hospitality one to another.”
I knew it was God and He was speaking in that moment. I told my wife that Debbie could move in. She did, and she lived with us 11 months, 7 days and 23 minutes. Not that I was counting or anything.
God showed me a lot during that time. He showed me I could be petty. That I thought my stuff was my stuff.
The other Debbie worked, cleaning houses when she could. She worked really hard. And she eventually got qualified for low-income housing. By the time she left us, she bought a house.
When her husband came home, he came home to that house and they began rebuilding their family.
Let me tell you the rest of the story.
Her husband was an alcoholic in recovery. When he got back home, he and Debbie started a small group in their home for others struggling with addiction. They eventually came to a curriculum from Celebrate Recovery — and they brought that to Blue Ridge.
Today, David and Debbie O’Brien have been leading Celebrate Recovery at Blue Ridge for 12 years.
That’s the bigger story that God wanted to write. All I could see was the little story.
God wants to write a bigger story in your life too.
Watch the whole message here.