I want to tell about something that happened when I was a leader in an organization. Somebody in a local part of the organization, in the countryside, several hours travel from the city where I worked, wanted me to visit them. They had asked me to come to speak in a meeting on a Friday evening and I had promised to come. When this Friday afternoon came I was tired and wanted to go home.
But, to keep my promise I had to travel four hours by train and one and a half hour by bus. I did not know how to find the house where the meeting should take place and I was tired, very tired and longed for home, husband and children. I complained a little to God: Why didn`t you ask me to be an ordinary women who can go home and be in my warm, quiet home on Friday evenings? The work of the week is done, the weekend is coming with rest.
My secretary had found a comfort-ticket, a more simple ticket was not available, it included dinner, coffee, newspapers and a quiet comfortable seat . I said thank you, a little surprised about the comfort. The traveling was a quiet blessing. When I left the bus and asked the driver for the way to the chapel, he said; “I see somebody is meeting you, don`t worry!”
The meeting went well; afterward I had to stay overnight in the village. A man and his wife took me to their home, it was a big well-kept farm. The night was clear with a big moon shining all over the valley and the mountains. It was cold and the snow was glittering. A wonderful sight, it gave me a relaxing blessing itself.
When we had entered the house the wife said, “I want to show you something.” She showed me a plant with no flower, almost no leaf. I almost laughed: if it had been mine I would had thrown it away long time ago. Then she said; “I got it for you. I look at every day and I pray for you every day.” I was ashamed, sat down and asked her why she did that and when she got this flower; I had never seen the women before. We had a wonderful talk that late evening, and I was very thankful to this women and to God who give me this lesson. We had a taste of heaven together and the remarkable experience was for me like the words in Isaiah 45.3. “I will give you hidden treasures or secret riches, so you will know that I am the Lord, the God of Isreal, who calls you by name.”
I did not know about this woman, who was praying just for me. Later I saw that God has many men and women like this. And he wants to show me when I do his will, even if it costs me a lot and when “common sense” tell me not to do this, he has something important to teach me.
Today I am reducing my activity in the church and society, I want to be more like this praying women. I want to give support, coaching, prayer to those I see in need for this. I do not need to tell them what I do, but when God gives me the opportunity I am happy to do it.
Berit Westad is a lay representative for Norway in the Nordic and Baltic conference of the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference of The United Methodist Church. She also serves on the board of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.