Here's the second God encounter I had today:
I got lost today and happened to go down a "wrong" (but right) street. I had just prayed, "Lord, open my eyes to see, open my heart to hear your kingdom." About thirty seconds later I saw a large, muscular man lying beside the road. I didn't know if he was taking an unusual nap, had a heatstroke, drunk or dead. Two contradictory thoughts battled in my mind: keep driving, or go see how you can help this man.
I chose the second and drove over toward him. I called out, "Sir, sir," over and over, getting louder each time.
Finally he roused. (Darn! I didn't get to try to raise him from the dead!) He blurted out, "What the ***?!"
I replied, "Sir, I just wanted to make sure you were OK." He went on to creatively express his s sentiments, and then he walked toward my car while reaching into his pocket. A gun? A knife?
"You got a cig man?" he asked.
"What the ***! No cigarrette."
"Hey, can I help you? Are you ok?"
"Here's a dollar. Can you get me some cigarettes?"
"Keep your dollar. Let me go get you some water, and I'll get you some cigarettes. I'll be back."
"Yeah. I bet I'll never see you again."
I came back 3 minutes later with a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, water, and a Gatorade. He looked a little stunned. "What the *** are you doing? Do you know you could get killed in a place like this? What the hell are you doing helping me? What are you, some alien or Jehovah's Witness?"
"No, man. I'm just a guy who saw a man in trouble and wanted to make sure you're OK, that's all. I'm a follower of Jesus, and he has shown his love to me and you, someone he created and loves."
"What the ***! God doesn't love me! I've killed people! I was in the service killing people for our country and God. What are you *** saying to me? I could knock your teeth through the back of your head right now and kill you."
"You could," I said. "You're a big man. I just saw you and just wanted to make sure you're OK. I'm not here to do anything else except to help you in anyway I can and to love on you because God so loves you, bro."
He laughed and slurred out more creative, colorful, poetic language. "You really believe this *** stuff!"
"Yeah, I really do."
"You're messed up, man." Then he began to ask me those unanswerable questions about life and God.
I said, "I'm not sure about all that, but I do know Jesus is the expressed revelation of the Father in heaven. Instead of punishing us, he was beaten, crucified and hung on a tree to wipe out all our sins in our past, present and future."
"That's *** amazing. What in the *** are you doing wasting your time on me?"
"I'm not wasting any time. I just want to make sure you're OK and let you know God loves you and you were created by him and for him."
"You're *** crazy man! You don't know me or what I've done. I could kill you. Are you ready to die today?"
"If I have to, I guess I will, but I don't want to. I have a family. I believe God is with me and that I'll be OK. But even if not, I'm still safe with God."
"You really believe this ***??"
"Yes, I do. You know, you're one big guy, and I don't know all you've done, but I know you are loved."
"What the *** are you saying? You're crazy. Or maybe you're not. It's true, I did pray earlier today, 'God show me you're real and here.'" Again, he asked the hard, unanswerable questions as he was processing through the pain, tragedy, war, killing, and so on in his life. "What the *** do you know, pretty boy!"
I smiled. "It's not about comparing. I've been through some rough times, though." I shared a little bit of my story and he changed his demeanor somewhat.
A moment later some rough guys pulled around the corner, so he suggested we leave. He walked off and I drove my car down to meet him in front of a grocery store. He got in my car and said again, "What the *** are you doing helping me?"
I kept responding, "Because you're worth it. God loves you. You're a big guy with a lot of pain but a soft, compassionate heart."
"You are *** out of your mind. Could you take me to the VA hospital?"
As we drove across town, he continued with the questions, telling me how *** crazy I was, and asking what and I doing. "I just want to show you that you're loved and created for a purpose and you're valuable to God. I'm not earning anything by doing this. As freely as I received his love, I'm just simply freely giving it away."
"You're out of your mind. You really believe this *** stuff!"
"I sure do."
As we pulled up to the VA hospital, he looked at me, shaking his head. "I'm not sure why you did this. I could have killed you, but thank you."
"Can I pray for you?" I asked.
He grabbed my hand and said with complete sincerity, "Lord, please save me from the demons in my mind." I prayed for him, and then he clasped my hand, kissed it, and said he loved me.
As he got out of the car I said, "Thanks for not killing me!" He smiled and walked into the VA. I think he wanted to go to get sobered up.
Remember the kingdom of God is at hand no matter what. We just need to look, listen, and respond with the Father's heart of love to those who are broken.