This morning I was reflecting about my missionary calling. The thing is that I am so blessed all along the way. Often it just blows my mind how much God blesses me. So this morning, once again I was watching the sunrise, my mind blown at what beautiful places God had brought me to in my ministry. Here, even in the heart of the big city of Stockholm, it is so green here, so flower-covered, so sunny for so many hours of the day, being not so far from the Arctic Circle. And as I reflected, I wondered: why me?
Immediately God answered: “You weren’t the first choice.” I was shocked, then He continued: “I offered the opportunity to others first, but they didn’t respond.” Then I realized that He knew that I would say yes, so he offered the opportunity to others first. How sad it will be for those who said no to God’s opportunity. It is not only an opportunity to serve God and my fellow man, but also (and more importantly) it’s an opportunity to receive blessings here, but also to receive the amazing gift of time in God’s presence in the future kingdom.
One of my blessings here came this morning. Since today is a free day before the official start of this trip with Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE), I went for a walk in the city. Stockholm is like most other big cities, but last night when I came in I noticed lots of homeless refugees on the cold night streets (see Finding Refuge in Stockholm). Because Sweden welcomed the refugees, they have come flooding in. This morning there were still a lot of homeless on the streets, and people begging.
I found my way to the old city, which is on a couple of islands in a well-protected bay where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea—fresh water flowing into salty. I had dressed warmly, but especially down by the water, the breeze was very chilly.
Before packing, I always pray that I will remember to bring the things I will be needing. I also check the ten-day forecast for my destination. So before leaving home, I had my scarf in my hand. I had intended to bring it, but somehow I had left it. The fact that my scarf got left was a God thing. Last night when I arrived in the night chill, I thought that the reason I had left the scarf was because I wouldn’t be needing it, as we don’t usually do much after dark. But this morning, with the air still quite chilled, I began to wonder. I found a sunny bench by the historic church-turned-burial vault for the kings.
I sat with the sun on my back. The sensation of warm sun on my back on a chilly morning took me back to childhood in suburban San Francisco. On sunny days we were allowed to take our lunch out onto the playground to eat in the fresh air. I would sit with the sun on my back like a little solar collector. I used to play a game in my mind, that whichever sensation I paid more attention to would be the one I would feel the most. It turned out to be true. If I thought more about the chill breeze, I would get cold. But if I concentrated on that nice, warm sun on my back, I would soon begin to feel warm all over.
As I sat there, playing my childhood warming game in my mind, I looked up and saw a strange sight: it was a scarf tied around a lamppost—the lamppost closest to where I was sitting. I took a picture of the scarf, then I untied it, knowing that this was why I had forgotten my scarf: God wanted to provide me with a scarf as a little thank you token for trusting Him. See what I mean about blessings? And this makes me think of what I wrote recently about God my Husband. He is so sweet and considerate. He takes such good care of His Bride. Thank You, Lord! God is good!