You Never Know

Holly encourages us to remember that we never know the impact we can make on someone — even when we don't know they are listening.

By Holly Culhane


More often than we would like to believe, others hear us, see us, observe our behaviors – and we are completely unaware. The onlooker may be one who witnessed a sweet embrace, a quiet “I love you,” an affirming glance, or, on a day when we are not at our best, an impatient eye-roll, an irritable response, or a frustrated reaction.


Then, on a day like my friend had recently, you find out someone had been watching, listening, and perceiving more than you thought possible.


It had already been a day of Divine serendipity. I had texted a health update regarding my husband, Doug, to a friend and had included my Hymn of the Day, a surprising method the Father had been using to walk with me during the latest saga in Doug’s 39-year-and-counting cardiac journey. The hymn? How Great Thou Art. Her response? An updated picture of the painting I had previewed the previous day. The message with the picture? “I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder, [the third line to this classic anthem].” And, she added, “That’s literally what I’m working on with this piece!” The text that followed? “I was going to title it ‘How Great Thou Art’.”

Picture of the Unfinished Painting


Wow! I love those God-incidences in our lives! The times He is working and giving us just a glimpse of how truly all-knowing He is, and how He, as the Great Orchestrator, weaves together experiences in our lives to remind us of the great God we serve. But, as amazing as this was, it was just the prelude to the “you never know” moment.


Her text continued: “I had a chance to pray with my atheist house manager this morning. She approached me and said, ‘You pray, right? Everyone says they do, but they don’t. I feel like you actually do it.’ Long story short, her son is having serious health problems.” My friend continued, “and I said, ‘Want me to pray out loud right now?’ expecting a NO. But, she said, ‘Yes’, and when I was done, she hugged me and was emotional. She’s a very tough nut usually.”


My friend went on to share that when the same woman came into her room to view a painting she was in the midst of completing, they started talking, and the woman said, “I knew you would pray because I heard you on the phone praying with your friend the other night…”


“I knew you would pray because I heard you…”


The text went on, “That [friend] was YOU! If I hadn’t prayed for Doug … she wouldn’t have asked me to pray for her son!”


An even bigger wow … and a great reminder! It can be when we are none the wiser to a spectator, to a set of eyes from afar, or to a pair of ears tuned our way, that God is working. We never know when our words, our tone, and our actions are preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering the garden, or ripening the harvest.


Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.

Colossians 4:5


Fellow under-shepherds, it is imperative that we live wisely, among believers and non-believers, making the most of every opportunity with those we lead, influence, and impact – our friends, our family, our co-workers, the fellow shopper, the grocery store clerk, the new couple at church. They are watching. They are listening. They are observing.


We must be fully aware that our “you never know” moments are happening every day, potentially and most probably when we least expect them, filling the hearts and minds of all those we encounter.


Let’s make the most of them.

Picture of Presence Point

Presence Point

Presence Point equips leaders to intentionally live into their calling as shepherds in the lives of those they lead, and partners with multipliers to do the same within their sphere of influence.

4 thoughts on “You Never Know”

  1. Thank you. It’s always encouraging to read these. Recently, our community experienced a significant fire event. I found myself responding by talking out loud to the Lord. I didn’t realize it. Someone else, was listening. After two days, they re-dedicated their life to the Lord.

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