A Story: An Opportunity Thrust Upon Me

Even misfortune is a door to opportunity…or so I’m trying to believe. But it certainly was true this time, when the car we had just driven to Spokane for my daughter developed a nasty transmission leak. We had attended her college graduation ceremonies Saturday morning and enjoyed a barbecue with her friends when I set off to find someone who could help with the car. I wound up at a “quick lube” place with a mechanic on duty who offered to put a new gasket in; wanting to leave my daughter with a drivable car I accepted.

I had a couple hours to kill so I asked where I might get a coffee. I was given a choice in both directions but chose one and set off the three blocks on foot. As I neared the small stand I saw the sign “Devils Brew” in front. First I chuckled and then I wondered and then I became un-easy about what I might be walking into so I prayed for wisdom and protection as I walked up the empty drive-thru lane to the window. As I stood there a young woman in a bikini top and a nose ring slid open the porthole and - rather agitated - she growled out the words “We don’t serve walk-ups!” Stunned I simply said “Okay” and she firmly shut the sliding window in my face.

I walked away certain there was a spiritual battle going on there. I, having been to a formal ceremony, was dressed in plain black; that along with my grey beard and long hair might have made me look devilish; but she wanted nothing to do with me. I was certain I had gotten the answer I had prayed for.

I returned to the lube place happy yet contemplative. There was a young man sitting on one end of the bench outside and the only available seating was the other end of the bench from him. I walked around for five or ten minutes and finally asked the fellow if he minded sharing the bench and he was very polite, so I was seated and light conversation ensued. Still stirred by what had happened I told him my story without even asking his faith position. He seemed to sense the spiritual nature of that situation and went on with his own story of encountering a strange group who told him stories of spirits at an ancient burial ground near downtown. So we discussed spirits for a while and I cautioned him they were nothing to take lightly but that Jesus could defend him from bad spirits. That calling on Jesus made evil spirits run.

A few interruptions and again we were alone on the bench so I asked him what his beliefs were; did he know Jesus Christ? He told me he had been involved with a group for a while but when they began to evangelize he dropped out because he just couldn’t sell what he wasn’t sure about. I told him I thought it was right, what he did, rather than just going along hypocritically. So we discussed the nature of the Christian faith a while and then his car was done. I stuck out my hand and he shook it and I asked his name and told him I’d pray for him. He thanked me for that. His name is Huston.

Now it gets good. I was sitting there praying for Huston and he walks over and sits down again. I must have looked at him puzzled and he said. They’re going to park my car but I didn’t think you were through talking. I thought you had something more to say. I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE!? Hallelujah, we weren’t done.

So I asked him what it was that made him doubt Christianity. He said he knew people from a lot of faiths and they were all convinced they were right and were very happy in their beliefs so he couldn’t see what made Christianity special. I believe the Holy Spirit brought him back and gave me the answer he needed. I told him when looking at and comparing multiple religions you had to ask three things of each. What is their beginning, what do they mean now – today, and where do they promise to take you. Then I pointed out that Biblical Christianity begins with a loving Creator who wants a relationship with His creation. The Bible is the story of God restoring that relationship and the promise of eternal life is an eternal relationship with God – from beginning to the end a consistent message of love and relationship. I told him there was a reason I didn’t start out asking him if he lived with a girlfriend or did anything sinful because Christianity isn’t about refraining from the sinful things you love and doing the righteous things you despise. It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ and when you get into that relationship you will do the right thing because you want to not because you have to – that’s how you know you’re saved because you want to obey God.

I said he could look at what the other faiths like Islam had to offer and what their holy books said to do but he wouldn’t find the love and consistency of the Bible. I told him I could spend hours telling him all the proofs that the bible is true but if He would just read it, every day, even a few lines, God would speak to him through it. I asked and made sure he had a bible and he still did.

Then when the moment seemed right I reminded Him that I would pray for him and asked him to talk to Jesus, it was too important to let it go, but just to ask the Lord to make Himself real to him. This time he seemed to know it was the right time and he got up smiling and shook my hand and thanked me and got into his car and drove away.

What an exciting thing to find a young man willing and interested and have the opportunity to tell him about Jesus and the Gospel.

Please pray for Huston, and for the coffee shop girl, and me too, that I may be consistent in Spiritual Boldness and not miss those opportunities.