It is Sunday at The Bridge…
I am not “on,” so I go an hour or so early to see how/where/if I can help out. I chat up some volunteers, then stand in the front foyer greeting folks. I end up not going into the worship service (which is not normal.) Instead I plop down in the foyer with someone, and we visit in-depth about his life: his restlessness at work and his sleeplessness at home as he and his wife adjust to a newborn. This, too, is highly unusual. Almost all of my Sunday morning conversations are surface-y and short.
Suddenly a young man rushes through the front doors. I have mostly known him by reputation and from a distance. He is a likable, smart, mischievous, funny guy. He and I have never, ever had a long, personal conversation. And now he lives in a big city in a neighboring state with his new bride. He is smiling, almost giddy. He spots me and makes a beeline for me. He greets me warmly like we are old, best friends, and then the words gush out. I cannot remember them exactly. I wish I could—but he (excitedly? nervously?) expresses these kinds of sentiments: “You have been on my heart for the last two weeks. I have been so burdened for you. And so when I knew I was coming to town (to pick up a few wedding gifts) I knew I just had to come by church to find you and tell you that.” Pregnant pause. “Can I pray for you, right now?”
I reply that I would love that, that I would be honored. And so we huddle there in the church foyer, and my breathless young friend begins praying in an animated way. He is filled with emotion (and, without question, the Spirit of God). I can’t tell, is he near tears—or laughter? His voice is trembling. And the prayer—I cannot remember it verbatim. O how I wish I could!—but it is filled with phrases that exactly mirror private conversations my wife and I have been having for sometime. My young friend even puts words to deep longings and dark questions that I’ve felt and wondered about, but frankly have been too scared to express or voice out loud. How could he (of all people) know such things? How could he know such things?
It is all over almost as quickly as it begins. We hug—hard—and I thank him, and he rushes back out and I shake my head as I watch him drive away.
I think back over my almost 54 years. I cannot recall an incident quite like this one. To be sure, I have frequently been prayed for…spontaneously and lavishly. And I have often received—out of left field—encouraging visits or phone calls or notes. But this was not the same thing as a kindly soul noticing his/her friend is discouraged. This young man and I are mere acquaintances. We have RARE contact. Somehow he possessed “insider knowledge” he had no way of knowing. And he found me at a time and place when I would not normally have been found.
Some could (and would) make a case for coincidence. I choose to believe this was a message. A providential reminder. A divine encouragement. So…
Thank you, Lord.
You are aware (even of things I’m too afraid to say out loud).
You see and know the deepest needs of our hearts.
And you are at work. You orchestrate.
If necessary, you will prompt others to be your feet and your voice, just to prove you care.
Would I be terribly greedy if I said (like an exhilarated little child), “That was fun! Do it again!”?
Or maybe, God, you DO do such things—all the time, only I just don’t notice. In that case, make me more attentive. Wake me up.
“He who has eyes to see, let him see.”