Often, I wish I could start every post off with “once upon a time in a far away land [insert story here]” because God has truly given me the best fairytale life. It’s not always easy and my stories don’t always have a happy ending, but God is always faithful and never fails to blow my mind along the way.
I will only pretend like I am writing a fairytale for all future postings, but for just this once :
Once upon a time in a far away land, I walked to a local coffee shop.
It was the dead of winter and a group of friends and I scurried our way through the downtown streets of New Haven to grab coffee after church. The moment we walked inside I looked to my left and saw an older gentleman sitting at a table by himself. He was smiling at me almost as if he was waiting for me. I saw the love of God on him like a ray of light so without a second thought I went and sat with this man to tell him one thing,
“Sir, Jesus loves you so much!”
He replied with a simple “I know” and began to tell me his story about how he was baptized in the 70’s and that he just wants to bring hope to this terrible world.
We talked for awhile until it was time to say goodbye and journey back into the cold.
A week later some friends and I were out to dinner and I told them about Frank*, the sweet old man I met at the coffee shop.
After dinner we were wandering through the streets of downtown, and ended up in the same coffee shop. To my surprise Frank was sitting inside. We were standing in line getting ready to order some cookies and sit with this new friend, when Holy Spirit spoke to me very clearly saying,
“Shabba, Frank is a drug dealer”
I seriously wish my reaction was recorded on video because there are no words for how much disbelief swept across my face in the matter of a moment. I took another look at Frank and reality set in – yep, he was drug dealer. He was wearing the exact same outfit as last week and honestly looked no different, but this time he just seemed so tired and sad.
We sat at a table nearby and watched a shady exchange of plastic bags happen between Frank and a young man.
The young man came and sat two tables down from us and the Lord spoke to me about his life. His name was Alex* and I said to him that Papa God told me that he (Alex) had a huge heart for children and that God was going to use him to be a role model for the youth. Also, that God will use his musical talents to inspire others. He looked at me like I was a martian, and then explained that his biggest dream in life is to start an orphanage, and that his passion is for writing and mixing music.
I think it’s safe to say that I had his full attention
I got to talk with him for awhile about his life and encourage him to step out of his current lifestyle and pursue his dreams – the dreams God put in his heart. We talked about Jesus and all of the different ways He can speak.
“Can I tell you something strange that happened to me? I haven’t told anyone because I know they would think I’m crazy, but I just can’t stop thinking about it” Alex said
He was talking to the queen of crazy experiences, so I knew it wouldn’t phase me.
“Well, last week I had a dream where I was standing before two angels and I fell down because I was so scared. Then a woman wearing bright white walked over to me and said ‘It’s time’, and I knew she meant that it was time to be judged before God. I started crying and said ‘No, please no, I’m not ready!’ Then I woke up”
Can we all say AMEN to that?!
When God wants our attention He will even invade our dreams; He will take any measure to offend our minds just to speak to our hearts.
God is the best dad in the world, and He set all of this up so perfectly!
We talked about salvation, and I was able to answer many of his questions and pray with him before we both had to go our separate ways.
I still see Frank from time to time and I always make an effort sit and talk with him, but Alex… Alex I have not seen since. My hope and prayer is that he is a changed man chasing his dreams with Jesus at the center of it all.
I beat myself up for a few days over the fact that I didn’t know that Frank was a drug dealer from the very beginning. Then it dawned on me that I was actually seeing him exactly how I was meant to see him. I did not see a shady and hardened drug dealer, I saw a sweet and loving old man. If I had known he was a drug dealer chances are I would not have talked to him and I probably would have never met Alex.
God works ALL things together for good.
Isn’t it so captivating how God will give us His eyes to see people the way He does? The way I saw Frank that morning after church is exactly how we as believers should see all people. It is only by God’s grace and by His transforming power in our hearts and minds that we can see people for who they truly are – as God’s beloved.
*Names have been changed