This morning I was walking with Vern one of our two waking routes, and my thoughts went to what I may say to encourage some students his weekend at an awareness event. I was thinking to say what you believe about yourself is very important. I want to communicate these things: they are…
- One of a kind
- Made wonderfully
- Precious and very valuable, and
- Nothing can diminish their value
We approached a white car that was parked into the sidewalk a ways which frustrated Vern. I laughed it off, “it’s ok, let’s just go around” I said. And we did. As we walked, I glanced up for a good look at the owner – a tall, well-dressed, dark-skinned young man with a lit cigarette in his hand . He was standing behind his white rear-end damaged car.
As soon as I said hello, he smiled wide and said it back, quickly apologizing for how he was parked. I asked his name and he said Solomon. “Solomon!” I replied, “I like that name. It’s Biblical!” He nodded and wished me a good day. “You too!” I said back. We kept walking, and I went back to thinking of those encouraging truths, only now I was applying them to Solomon. Perhaps I should have told him, I thought to myself. The moment is gone.
We turned the corner and continued walking at a slow pace, when I noticed that same white car had pulled up across the street from and behind us. He got out, crossed the street and approached me, saying in a slight African accent (from Senegal, to be exact), and an excited smile, “Chelan, I cannot help but thank you for saying hello to me.” “Oh, sure!” I said. God gave me an second chance, “God wants to use you in a significant way to impact the people around you – people in your sphere of influence.”
“How do you know this? I feel as if you may have more to say to me, from your spirit.” I replied back with a smirk, “I’m sure I do!”
I am going through a very hard time in my life, as my wife has left me in March. We have two girls. My 4 year old is on the car. I am having such a hard time, I cry every day. I do not believe in divorce. I feel as if there is something more in your spirit which you can say to me.”
“Oh there is! I have the Spirit of the living God inside of me. He is a God of restoration. He makes all things new. And you feel broken because it was he who designed marriage to be an everlasting covenant. When husband-and-wife separate or divorce, that covenant is broken. That is why your heart breaks. But you must contend. Do you know what that means?” He said, “I do not.” “It means to fight for something and not give up. Be encouraged – the Lord reconciles and restores.” “But my wife”, Solomon retorted. “She is very smart, getting her Masters, but she is being childish, going to her parents who do not like me, getting their advice. They do not share my religion.”
Vern, who was standing close by, kept trying to interject a remark and managed to finally share hope from his own life, “My wife and I have been married for 47 years!”
The dark man’s daughter, whose name was Rikeah, rolled her window down and yelled, “Daddy!” obviously tired of waiting. He yelled back a desperate, “two minutes, baby!” The clock was ticking. Time would not be wasted.
“Do you know Jesus?” I asked him urgently. “I know he was a great prophet. I am Muslim”. “Oh, well, I don’t know much about being Muslim, but I know Jesus, and to me, he is so much more than just a prophet. He is the Son of the living God who died for our sins and rose back to life. He is my EVERYTHING! I LOVE him!”
Would you like to know him? “I do already know him” “No, I mean know him, like I know him. Time is short. Would you like me to pray with you?”
Solomon’s countenance clearly brightened and he did not hesitate, “Yes, please!” So I took his hand in mine and my other hand crossed over, to reach his broken heart.
And I prayed something like this, “Lord Jesus, thank you for your Spirit that lives in me, and I pray the same thing for my new friend Solomon. That you would take up residence in his heart. Fill him up and give him hope for a reconciled relationship with his wife. You restore! Thank you for bringing us together like this today. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”
Solomon hugged and thanked me. And then turned to my sweet client by his walker, hugged and thanked him as well. And ran back across the street to his daughter.
Vern looked at me. “Well,” he said quietly, in awe of God. “That was a holy moment.”