There's an old story I heard one time .. I don't remember exactly how it went. But, something like this:
There were a group of farmers experiencing a severe drought. They agreed to all meet at a local pasture to pray for rain. They all gathered and prayed, and God sent a downpour. The farmers were scrambling around because they were getting soaked. Only one had brought an umbrella and he pulled it out and stayed dry. They had come to pray for rain, but only one believed in God enough to bring an umbrella for when He sent it.
That happened to me yesterday.
Rick and I sent out an "open" invite to all of my 160+ friends on Facebook, and those on my e-mail list who aren't on Facebook. Basically we said, "Come to our house if you want to between 6 and 11 p.m. Bring a snack to share. No need to RSVP, our house will just be open." We really felt that whoever showed up was meant to be there, and whoever didn't, wasn't. I was not going to have my feelings hurt if no one showed. I was ready to just wait and see.
I received a couple of messages telling us that it sounded fun but that they couldn't make it. No big deal. I had a couple of "old reliables" (and I mean that with total love Steph and Loren) say they would be there. (They kindof have to .. they're my BFFs !! ) What I didn't realize was that in an "open" invitation on Facebook anybody can basically see it.
About 4:30 p.m. or so yesterday I noticed that a girl had posted on Facebook that she might be attending. I looked at it and thought, "Who is that?" I investigated further and saw that she had some mutual friends as me, so I wasn't too weirded out that a serial killer was stalking us as her next prey.
A little while later the phone rang and on Caller I.D. I saw that it was that person. I answered the phone and her husband asked if I was the one having the party and wanted to know if it was okay if they came. He told me that had three children. I said, "Sure! Come on over!" (By this time I was thinking, "Hmmmm .... could God be at work here??")
But, I will admit. I was nervous! The one friend that they knew, now didn't think they were going to be able to come until much later! So, we were essentially having this little family over to fellowship who would know no one! And I wasn't going to have anyone to break the ice.
A couple arrived that we have been friends with for years, but haven't seen much in the past 5 years or so. I didn't know they were coming so was thrilled! Then Loren and her family arrived. We chatted for a while. About an hour later the doorbell rang and it was that little family.
We had such a nice time getting to know them! They have three little ones, one who is a baby and two daughters around my daughter's age. The little girls just played and played and played! We really didn't do anything all night but just sit around in the living room and talk and laugh. Just an easy night hanging out with friends .. some new and some old.
The little family left a few hours later and then our mutual friend showed up. She was shocked they had called! They know them from church and are friends, but not close friends, and she was surprised that they had called. She said they are fairly new to town and church and are pretty quiet. But as a group we were thrilled!!
Isn't this what I have been praying for?? Haven't I been feeling a need, a longing for true fellowship?? Didn't I truly believe that God would bring those to our home who were supposed to be there? Yet, I was surprised when He actually did it, and scared to death!!
She told me as they were leaving that calling us was completely out of character for them. She said she felt like she wanted to come, but never imagined her husband would feel the same way. They took a risk in calling us. We took a risk in sending out an open invite. Do you think God was involved? I believe that's called "Providence".
I had prayed for rain, and didn't bring an umbrella. Thankfully I had a "rain hat" in my purse and put it on just in time not to get soaked.
We have found new friends. I hope they feel the same.