Across the Table from China

Nations flags

I had been reading a book on intercession, which was laying on the table where we talked. I noticed a young guy a few tables over kept glancing our way. I thought, we must be disturbing him with our Jesus talk.

But really what’s the point in having girl time if you’re not going to talk about Jesus? Right?  Oh I understand the need to share struggles and celebrate successes with a friend. I mean we’re girls and we love to “share.” And anyone who knows me intimately knows I love a good gut laugh. (I generally laugh till I cry.) BUT I never have understood the need to talk about the weather, or every other meaningless thing under the sun and never invite God into the conversation. But give me Holy Spirit-led time with a like-hearted friend and I’m all in!! Put the coffee on!! 😉

After my friends left, I stayed to work on a few things over my latte. The guy I had noticed an hour before turned around and said, “I couldn’t help but hear your conversation. When I walked by to sit down, I immediately noticed your book on intercession. Will you tell me what you’ve learned from reading it?”

I shared about the power of hearing God’s voice and praying as the Spirit prompts. I told him since I had been reading the book, God had been waking me up in the middle of the night to pray for specific people. God was revealing Himself to me in new and exciting ways. He smiled as I chattered with excitement.

He expressed that He was currently living in China and had come home to North Carolina for a visit with family. He went on about a girl who had recently been receiving most of his attention. She was in a failing marriage. All the details hadn’t been ironed out with her marriage or possible divorce. He and this girl were “just friends,” but I could see by the way he talked about her that he was in love.

He told me about the new job he would soon be starting (he worked in a well-paying, corporate setting) upon his return to China. He shared how difficult it was to be a Christian openly in China. It was a little odd, he talked to me as if he’d known me for years, like an aunt he often confided in and missed talking to. There was never a weird moment (like he was hitting on me). He was young enough, technically, to be my son.

He bluntly asked, “So what do you sense the Lord telling you about my relationship with this girl?”

I was floored a little by his question but saw in his eyes he was serious. Pausing to listen for God’s voice, I said, “Well… He doesn’t want you to get hurt. You’re playing with fire. You seem already emotionally involved. There’s nothing wrong with being friends, but you need to use extreme caution. She’s a married woman, no matter how badly she’s been hurt or how much she likes you. God loves you and has HUGE plans to use you in China to influence many important people of position and authority for His kingdom.”

He took every word in and got a serious look on his face. I thought, Ouch, I’m sure those weren’t the exact words he wanted to hear. Then he said, “Interesting. So that’s what God wanted me to hear! Hmm. I have to share a story with you. I had driven my mom to an appointment. I told God I wanted to spend some time with Him, listening. I planned to go somewhere else to have coffee (in the next town) in a place where I was more familiar. As I was driving, He told me to exit here. I argued for a minute. I pouted a little, but I listened. I knew when I walked in and saw your book, you were the one He sent me in to talk to. So thank you for being willing to speak that truth over my life.”

All I could think was Wow God!

We went our separate ways. We haven’t stayed in touch. I have no way of knowing what he ended up doing. He could’ve eventually married the girl. They may be living happily ever after in China. They may be fulfilling their Kingdom purpose…together. All I know is on that particular day, I felt strongely God wanted Him to know “Not now. Timing is off.”

For years I had wanted to do a foreign missions trip. People and cultures from all over the world fascinate me, and I know God loves them all. As I drove away that day, Holy Spirit spoke several things to me…

  • Always feel free to talk about Me with your girlfriends over coffee. You never know who’s listening.
  • Know My voice, and I will use you to speak My words.
  • Rivera, don’t ever underestimate the power of your influence.
  • You see… You can minister to the nations right where I have you.

…China can be across the table from you in a coffee shop.

“Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.” ~Psalm 2:8

2 thoughts on “Across the Table from China

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