Please forgive my extended absence. I’ve been busy.
I’ve wanted to say a little about a lot, or a lot about a little (who knows which?) over the weeks, but I’ve not found the time to do so. Again, you have my apologies.
But I wanted to take this opportunity to give a brief (well, not really, this post will be longish) testimonial. My normal Saturday morning routine has me getting up, getting ready, and getting to work by 8AM. Once at work I make sure everything is set up and then I order breakfast with my coworkers. It’s the only day of the week I eat breakfast and I generally get the same thing every week: a steak, egg, & cheese sandwich from Sorrentino’s in Lakewood, NJ.
So yesterday, like most other Saturdays, saw me ordering my breakfast, picking it up, and enjoying it with an enjoyment that can’t be described in any words that humans can comprehend. Nothing new there. But a friend called and asked if I had gone to Sorrentino’s yet, to which I replied, yes. He said that he was next door to the restaurant getting an oil change and that he was about to head over. I told him that I’d see him later when he came in for his haircut.
That should have been the end of it but it wasn’t; not nearly. After a few minutes I decided to take a ride over there to check him out and see what was going on. I went to the place, walked in the door confidently, only to look around and see that he wasn’t there. I felt kind of stupid to be honest. So I called him and asked where he was at. He answered his phone with a chuckle and said that he was at Midas next door talking to a woman we had gone to church with for years.
He told me to get over there because he needed my help with her. Mind you, he was laughing the whole time, so I assumed they were in there cutting up. I walked over, said hello, and almost immediately was met with a tirade against the church and Christ. This woman told me that she was done with church and didn’t want anything to do with God or salvation. I had a smile on my face at first until I realized that she was serious. I asked what happened and she asked if I really wanted to know. “I really do,” I said. She asked how much time I had. “As much time as it takes,” I replied.
So I sat down and she began to tell of all the things in her life that had turned her away from Christ and his body. From health issues, to broken relationships, to people who are supposed to be image bearers of Christ not bearing so much image, she unloaded a laundry list of things that made her angry. She told us that she no longer fought against sin but rather embraced it. She told us that she wanted God to hate her because she didn’t feel like she was worthy of his love. She told us that she was done. Full stop.
So my friend and I just showed her the love of Christ; we listened and responded with Scripture and what I believe to have been words of knowledge and wisdom of the sort that Paul speaks of as manifestations (or gifts) of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12. By the end of the conversation she was crying and asking where we go to church now. The first thing she told my friend before I got there was that she wasn’t going to anyone’s church ever again. By the time we left I was texting her our church info.
Well, she made it out this morning, and she worshipped with us. The vast majority of what we said to her yesterday, our pastor reiterated in his sermon today, and we didn’t mention any of it to him! You see, God knows what he’s doing, and though certain things may seem random, they’re not. There was no chance at work yesterday or today. It was the Lord of the universe who works all things according to his sovereign will in action. And I’m so thankful for that!
I contacted the sister after church and she said that she would be back next week. I couldn’t ask for more. Saying that “God is great” seems like an understatement but I don’t know what else to say! I thank God that he knows the end from the beginning and puts us exactly where we need to be exactly when we need to be there! Did I mention that my friend nearly went to the Midas in another town but opted for that one when he was at a literal fork in the road? And did I mention that this sister had stopped to get her oil changed at two other places that were closed and then all of a sudden remembered that she had once gone to this particular Midas one time fifteen years earlier?!! Yes, it happened just. like. that!