Surprised by The Inside

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

I was talking to a friend of mine and he shared this story.  We’ll call him Tom.

Tom said he was on a trip taking care of some business. He was in another country and was down to the very last day of the trip with a list of things that had yet to be done. If he didn’t get everything done, it would be months before he could get back and the entire project he was trying to complete would be stalled.

Tom walked into an office to finish his tasks. He already had trepidation because this office was notorious for their slow-moving work ethic.

He stepped up to the desk of the woman who called him over. He explained what he needed and she said “You can’t do that. You need these documents and if you don’t have them, you won’t be able to do what you want.” Tom patiently explained that this was his last day in the city and he needed to get this done trying to gently persuade her to help. She picked up the phone, called someone and explained Tom’s situation to him and he said he’d be right down.

Tom stepped back and waited. He said when he heard the gentleman walk into the room he turned to look at him and thought “Oh no. This is the guy who is going to help me? I am in trouble.” The man standing there was disheveled. His hair was rumpled and he looked like he hadn’t slept in a bed in a while. His clothes were wrinkled and askew. And, he smelled like alcohol. Tom was sure he was at an impasse and would not be able to finish his work.

Tom approached the man and explained what he needed. They started talking and immediately found some mutual connections and a bond formed. The man turned and said follow me. They went to his office. He asked some questions and picked up the phone and started dialing. He called many places (all of the numbers he had memorized) and tracked down the necessary documents sometimes reverting to notes in old log books. At the end of the flurry of activity, everything Tom needed was done except one thing. He mentioned to the man that they were waiting on one more document to be sent but he was told it would take a long time.

The man reached under his desk and said “This package of documents just arrived this morning.” He leafed through, found the document that was needed and with that, Tom’s task list was complete.

As he walked out of the office praising God for the help, he thought of what the Bible says about not judging someone based on their outward appearance. Here he was ready to write off this man but as it turns out, the man was the perfect person to help him. He knew everything and everyone even though on the outside he looked like he didn’t know anything.

You can’t never always sometimes tell who God is using to help you. Don’t look on the outside, look on the inside. You might be pleasantly surprised.

–Elaine (

Written by Diane Levy


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