And it was so clear, it was almost audible. I’ve never had such clear direction from God before. Yes, he’s directed me, but usually in the way of open and closed doors, or feelings that accumulated over time. Today he gave an order.
Jonathan and I spent some time at the park today. Just before we were about to leave, an old-ish biker man (tatoos everywhere!) showed up with his dog. Jonathan was fascinated and set out to catch up with the (very fast!) dog. Eventually we did get close, and I asked if the dog was friendly, and we struck up a conversation while Jonathan made friends with the (very friendly!!!) dog. It was an interesting conversation. I don’t think either of us quite knew what to say at first, but eventually we ended up talking about kids and the world they’re growing up in today. He has a sixteen year old son living on the east coast (I guess with an ex-wife – I didn’t ask). Then the conversation took an odd turn as he told me that he has terminal cancer. He’s starting chemotherapy next week, but it is just a life-extender, not a cure. What do you say to something like that? It was really sad. Anyway, shortly after that Jonathan got sad and needed to go home, so we said our goodbyes and I walked back to get the stroller. That’s when God said to go back.
“He has cancer, Em, and he needs to know me. Go back and invite him to church.”
“God, you don’t really mean for me to turn around and go back and invite him to church, do you? He’ll think I’m so weird.”
“Go invite him to church.”
So I did. What else can you do when God gives such a clear order? I wrote my name and the name and address of the church on a slip of paper, buckled Jonathan in the stroller, turned around, and walked back praying “God, I have no idea what I’m going to say, so please make sure I have some words before I get there, ok?”
He came through. He always does, doesn’t He? I should trust Him more. When I got back to the man, I just said something like “hey, do you go to church around here?” He said no, that he had never really gone to church, and then we went on to talk about church and how he never felt really comfortable just showing up – “a biker guy who drinks and smokes, you know?” He also said that he had been thinking recently that he should try it, “since I’m going to be meeting my maker and all.” So I told him a little about our church and gave him the service times and the cross streets (he used to live in Placentia and he knows exactly where it is!) Usually he goes biking with some friends of his on Sunday mornings, but he has a back injury right now that probably won’t let him ride. So he may just show up on Sunday. Oh, I hope so. I told him I’d love to have him come and sit with me and Gabe and Jonathan, and he said he just might “as long as you’ll be there so I won’t feel so weird.”
His name is Garnett. (Emphasis on the last syllable.) Please pray for him – that he would come to church and that he would be able to really see the beauty and truth and love there, and thus find Christ.
Thanks be to God for guiding our steps – for the dog, for Jonathan’s single-minded devotion to catching up with the dog, for the timing of our park trip, for Garnett’s back injury that meant he was sitting and talking instead of running with the dog.
Thanks be to God that he can use even me.