Destinations and Conclusions

I spoke to a group of Hungarian teachers the other day in Budapest, Hungary. I arrived to the classroom late, because an ambassadorial motorcade proceeding through the city brought all other traffic to a standstill until it was safely past, and the car bringing me to the school where I was scheduled to speak was part of the standstill for a while. Once in the classroom, I did not know how to begin. I had gathered some thoughts together on the ride to the school, but when I stood up to address the teachers assembled before me, all those thoughts flew out the door and waited in the hallway for me to recall them. I had a vague notion of where I wanted to go with my ideas, but no idea how I was supposed to get there.

This reminded me of when I got off the subway train at the Kalvin ter stop here in Budapest where I was confronted by multiple exits, not knowing which set of stairs would lead me up to the place I desired to be. After a few false starts, I eventually learned which stairway would bring me up right outside the entrance to my hotel. I didn’t even know that this stairway existed until I had hauled my luggage across three streets and navigated through a maze-like construction zone. I learned the hard way without any help.

Back to the classroom… What amazed me about the talk that I gave to those attentive teachers was that I learned something that I did not know before I stood up to speak. It was like my ten-minute journey around the square to the hotel entrance – I learned something the hard way, if you want to call it that. My thoughts arrived in the vicinity of where I had hoped to be, but the destination was much more interesting and rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I walked into that classroom intending to share some thoughts that would edify and encourage the staff, but I ended up feeling as though the whole talk had been given for my sake, for my enlightenment. I found myself wondering, “I hope the teachers here got as much out of this as I did.”

Has that ever happened to you? It happens often as I write, but this was one of the few times I have experienced it while speaking in front of people. God found my thoughts loitering out in the hallway and led them back into my mind as I needed them and connected them in ways I had not planned, and by the end, I could actually see where He was going. In my heart, I marveled at how he took my first awkward statements and brought them back to a conclusion that took me by surprise, because we had come full circle, and those initial aimless statements returned with purpose and depth that only God could have given to them.

I learned the truth behind the verse that says God will fill our mouths if we will but open them and allow Him to use our stammering lips. The important thing is to begin communicating, whether in written or verbal form, and to trust God that the Spirit will bring back to mind the meditations of the heart and draw them to a divine conclusion.

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