Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2-hour layover

"A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

Let me start by saying i am not in an airport or planning to fly (now or in the near future).  My layover was of a different kind.  A godly kind.  

6:07 pm
Having finished up at the library i went to Wendy's to visit someone who, by the way had gone home, so i got a drink and decided to watch some tv.  My plan (see above verse part a) was to get in and get out.  God however, (see last half of verse) had other plans.

A few minutes into my drink (i am a slow sipper) a gentleman walks in and sits a couple of seats from me.  Two days prior we had a brief conversation about the news and that was that.  While eating my sandwhich I had a sinking feeling (still in the two days prior) that I had missed the chance to share the gospel with this man.  I quick scanned the parking lot to see what direction he went but could not locate him.  Me thinks he has an invisible cloak? 
My prayer: "Lord give me another chance to speak to him.  I know i missed the chance to share Jesus, please forgive me."
Fast forward to today and God answered my prayer.  Here was he.   

Rich asks me "Do you work?"
Odd question as an ice breaker but i am game. "Sure."
(In my mind i am furiously thanking God for the answering my prayer. ) 
In-between bites of food and washing it down we talk.
Rich is new to the area coming from Syracuse, New York and he is looking for some part time employment.  I give him the names of a few places that are hiring and he thanks me.  
(He is eating and I am literally dancing in my seat because God is good.)

With the door open I tell Rich how I prayed to see him again and get the chance to talk to him.
He chuckled and echoed the same sentiment.  Rich desperately wanted to meet people and befriend them so he can feel more at ease in his new environment.
-God ordained-

I take one last look at my watch and decided Adventures in Odyssey can wait. (how selfish of me)

We continue our conversation and Rich tells me some things about himself and I too let my hair down.
( I'm laughing right now.  NO HAIR! )
Our lives almost parallel each other's and it helps to break down any barriers that remained between us.  Rich tells me how hard it has been to get established and find work but in his own words "I am not giving up."  Good attitude.
Continuing on he speaks of wanting to finish his college degree and get back into real estate sales.  
From time to time we look at the news and comment.  As for me I tell him about my job and the things I like to do and I mention going to church and reading my bible.  The air grew quiet for a few minutes and he said he went to church from time to time.  More silence.  Rich next says something about the Ebola virus and I asked him what it meant to him.  "Just another virus, but here in America."  
My eyes light up and I could sense the presence of the Spirit as I kind of corrected his statement.  From that point we talk about the church, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and bibles.

I asked him "Is there room for God in your life?"
"No not right now." is the response.
Having said that he goes into detail about his plans and what he hopes to accomplish by the time he turns 85.  At present he is only 42. 
I have a bad habit of telling people they are under no obligation to answer any of my questions when i get more into talking about the bible.  No one has taken me up on my offer so far.  I should stop asking and just take away the option.
Rich is comfortable talking about the bible so i go on.
I pose this question to him.  "What about the end of you life?" 
He thinks for some seconds and says "hopefully i have enough money and am settled where i can just live in comfort." 
Hmm.  Not what i was expecting.  Let me try a direct approach.
"You have your life planned for the next 40+ years.  Lets just say you have done what you set out to do, you reach your target retirement age.  Now what?  What have you done about your eternal salvation?"

It must have come out of left field because he said nothing for almost 3 minutes.

"I go to church some Sundays."  His statement was more of a question to me in hopes that I would say that is acceptable for salvation.
"Rich, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?"
"I believe in God."
-inwardly i am praying for Holy Spirit guidance because I dont want to offend him and risk him putting up a wall.-
Before I could go on more news about the Ebola virus dots the television.  
"It is a sign of the times."
Whoa!  Rich said it not me.
I mention to him how profound his statement is.  Right there i tell him about why the world is in the shape it is in and what to expect.  Not grasping my point he says he will be ok with his money and house and car, nothing extravagant.  The stock market and real estate will take care of him.
(I push the door open wider.)
"No Rich.  Those things will fail you and many others who put their trust in them."
"What do you mean?"
I stop and pray some more choosing my words carefully.
Pointing to the tv screen I tell him that mankind has turned its back God and is now paying the price.  Abortion, same-sex marriages, crimes against children are part of it.  To put a name on it, sin.
We have steadfastly refused to turn back to God.  
"Not everybody is like that."
"No they are not.  But sin is sin."

Now for the kicker.  I tell Rich about God's love for all of humanity and how He provided a way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins through Jesus Christ and the blood He shed on the cross.  
"God is love."
"Yes, God is love.  But, God is also Just and will judge us based on our lives and whether not we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour."
His eyes glazed over and he turned away.  However, I still heard his words.  "I never knew that."
I did not say anything.  He needed to digest what was being spoken to his spirit.  My spirit was praying for him to hear the truth and receive it.
"I have been thinking about these things for a while (spiritual things) but i put them off.  Now i am not so sure.  I need to get back to church and read the bible."
I asked if he had a bible and he said no.  I offered to get him one and he was quite happy.

In the closing minutes of our talk I tell him how I came to Pennsyvania and part of my testimony and gave the glory to God, because I could do nothing without Him.  God brought me out of my situation and placed me where I am.

We say goodnight and agree to talk somemore tomorrow.  I asked Rich if he would let me pray for him and he declined.  No hurt feelings.
We look out the window to see a slow and steady rain is falling.  Shaking hands we go our seperate ways into the night.
Walking on cloud nine and not feeling the rain I lift up my voice and pray for Rich' salvation and for the Hand of God to be upon him as he goes home and thinks about all that he heard.  I sing praises to God for His mercy and grace.