The Stranger

It was a warm day, and I sat watching my grandkids play in the park. I placed my chair in a place I normally never did. I was behind a walking track, but it kept me in the shade, and in a good place to see the whole play area. We should have been long gone by the time the stranger walked by. But my grandkids had gotten interested in burying each other in the sand, so we had stayed. I heard the music coming toward me, and it was a song I liked, Oceans, by Hillsong United. I commented on it as the stranger walked by. He didn’t know what song it was, so he stopped to talk. And talk he did...

I was not in a good place on this day. I was struggling, confused, and looking for direction. The stranger didn’t know that, but God did. The stranger was a Jewish man, who had embraced Jesus as his Lord in 1978. He began to tell me about his past, and as he did, he hit upon things that I am now sifting through. He kept talking, and I kept listening. I noticed he was dressed all in white, and had sandy grey hair, and very bronze skin. He asked me where I attended church, and told me where he did. We were both familiar with one another’s’ churches. He told me the amazing story of his conversion, and how he had found out about his wife having an affair with his best friend. He had not turned to Jesus at that time. But he had turned to Valium. It had gotten hold of him, and his addiction led him down a dangerous dark path as the Valium did strange things to his thinking—he heard the voice of Satan telling him to kill his wife, and his children, and then himself. He planned to do that very thing, but first he wanted to take his family to his Jewish church. His wife wanted him to attend a Christian church that morning. He agreed to it, and that is where the chains of the lies he was living in fell off. He accepted Jesus as his Savior. Being Jewish, his family was not at all happy with his decision. He said Jewish people look at the Cross as pain and suffering. His conversion didn’t save his marriage, but he has never been the same since. His children, and now his grandchildren all love and serve Jesus. He told me that with a warm smile on his face.

The stranger asked me if he could pray for me when I shared a bit about my life. I gladly accepted, and am thankful that we still live in a country where public prayer in parks is not illegal. We both knew this was no accidental meeting. The stranger told me he goes out in his day looking for how he can serve Jesus. He encouraged me to stay connected and seek help within the body of Christ. I told him that I am.

Searching And Noticing the Divine today came in the form of a song, and a stranger. We never know where or when we are going to meet with “God.” Sometimes we get to be the encourager to others; sometimes others get to be the encourager to us. I was all ears knowing this stranger was divinely sent my way. He was kind and caring. He had been in dark places, and he had gotten through them. He was the voice of Jesus to me today. I so appreciate our Lord. He came in human flesh 2000 years ago, died on a Cross, rose from the grave, and ascended back into Heaven. And even though Jesus no longer walks bodily on this earth, His servants do, and He speaks His Truth to us through them.

I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help.
Job 29:16 (NLT)