Unexpected Things

Whether you call them divine appointments, chance encounters, miracles or coincidences you know when you have had one, it is that moment that seemed surreal, that either changed the direction of your life or someone else’s, that unexplained happening that you just cannot wrap your analytical mind around and leaves you shaking your head. I have had many, and wanted to be able to share with you, as I start putting them all to paper. For me, as a follower of the Way, I call them miracles and divine appointments. The memory fades, but stories live longer. So, today I want to share one that really stands out in my mind, and to this day I am in awe of the happenings of that cold afternoon, as I was working in the Happy Thoughts clothing store on Mooney Boulevard, in the small town of Visalia, Ca. It had been a very slow day, and not many customers had come into our gently used clothing store. I was training one of the young ladies from the Thunderbolt youth program skills on how to work in retail, to help her in her job quest. It was towards the end of the day when a young man walked into the store. He looked rough, like gang style rough. He smelled of smoke and meth, and was dirty, as if he was living on the streets.  I heard a whisper in my ear to send the young girl working in the store home, NOW! Since it was the end of the day, I told the worker to go ahead and call it a day, she would get full credit. As the young man wandered aimlessly throughout the store, the worker’s ride arrived to pick her up. As soon as she was gone, this young man got my full attention. I sized him up and took him to the men’s clothing area. I noticed his shoes had holes and he had no jacket in this cold weather. We found the perfect fit in both for him. One of our stores policies were if we saw a need, fill it. We went through the gently worn clothes looking for his treasures. As we talked, I learned he was from Tulare, had gotten out of jail a month before, had just found a place to live and had no job. He took his finds and went to change his clothes in the bathroom. As he was changing in the bathroom, I was impressed to gather some of the new toys we had gotten in, unopened, for a toddler. I stacked these together and wrapped a beautiful ribbon around them, placing a bow on top, all ready to give to a little one. A few moments later he came out of the bathroom, and the transformation was amazing. He had washed his face and hands and wet back his hair. He could not have been more than 18. He mentioned only having a dollar or two. I told him there was no charge for today. He looked totally surprised and then suspicious. I asked him if he had any children. He said yes and that was the reason he came in, to find something for his child. He looked over at what I had on the counter and said something to the effect of if I had the money that is what I would like to get. I told him that the Lord had already put on my heart to gather together the toys and put a ribbon and a bow on them, so he could give the gift to his child. His eyes got real big and he trembled. He said well I can take the shoes but was acting real cagey. I do not remember him ever telling me his name, but at that moment I knew it and called him by it and told him there was no charge for the clothes he had on, the jacket or the toys, that they were a gift from Jesus. That boy broke and started crying, said he was addicted to drugs and had come in to rob me to buy drugs and buy his baby a gift. He wanted to know who was this person that cared about him enough to get his baby a present and give him clothes. He said he wanted to be free. I told him about Jesus, how he had taken our sins upon himself and died and rose again and sits by His Father in heaven, so that we could be free and live a life with Him. That young man repented from his sins and asked the Lord Jesus into his heart and asked him to set him free from drugs. As he opened his eyes, he smiled and said I feel like I can breathe and so light, like there is nothing on my shoulders. We laughed and hugged and celebrated his decision. He asked if I could please throw away all his old things, he was a new man. I assured him I would. We had an extra bible, so I gave him that and contacts in Tulare at a church I knew who would love him and help him in his new walk. As I locked the door of the business that night it hit me, this young man was going to rob me and maybe kill me (no money taken in that day, $20 in the till). Instead, God had a plan that was so much bigger than even I could imagine. God allowed me to be a tiny part in the eternity of another person’s soul.   God is not concerned about what we did yesterday as much as He is about this moment, today.  Nothing is too big, too bad, or too unforgivable for God.

Do you know Jesus?  You can experience that same freedom and new life this young man did.  You can have real, lasting peace today through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

God loves you and has a plan for you, a plan for your life.  The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”—a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10). But here’s the problem, man is sinful and separated from God.  We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” And says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that the result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

The good news is that God sent His Son to die for your sins.  Jesus died in our place, so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives! “Christ died for our sins. … He was buried. … He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you must do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins, don’t do them anymore—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty.   If you would like to Know this Jesus and accept Him as your Savior, right where you are, pray this prayer:

 

“Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

 

Did you pray this prayer? Do you have questions? You can reach me at radiantscribes@gmail.com

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