“You should have let me walk in the snow for an hour, with my frost bitten toes. That’s what You should have done. But you were preparing Tony’s morning to pick up a skeptical, confused, and stubborn daughter of Yours, to remind me of your love and grace. Thank You”
That’s what I wrote in my journal yesterday afternoon, as I sat in the IHOP (not the pancake house) prayer room, letting the melodies of heaven fill my heart, reflecting on my bruised faith from the past year, and the morning’s events.
Things like Tony. Things like that. What natural way can you explain that? How many factors had to go into each of our lives the morning of January 1st, for us to meet at the exact same time? Was it coincidence? I can’t say that with conviction.
My imagination paints a picture of God, the master orchestrator. Since new years eve night, since before that night, all the factors, all the things that God had to put into motion to get me to the prayer room. Orchestrating all the events to answer one skeptics feeble, badly bruised faith.
Tony: He came for the One Thing conference with his friends, and though it ended, he felt God wanted him to stay for another day. He had no car, but someone let him borrow a car that morning. January 1st.
Me: I came early for the upcoming Exodus Cry conference on human trafficking. I was able to spend new years eve at the last day of the One Thing conference. It was the best new year’s eve I can remember. I didn’t get back to the place I was staying till around 2am.
I was planning on getting up January 1st around 2:00 in the afternoon. I was going to meet up with a friend here around 3:30pm, but I got an earlier text saying we should do brunch. Only I didn’t get that text till about 10:30, and it was too late to meet for brunch, but I was now up.. and REALLY wanted to get to a place where I can pray…but it was a 60 minute walk from where I’m staying.
I second guessed it a couple times, but I remember on The World Race we walked 45 minutes each way in the Dominican Republic to get to our serving site. What was another 15 minutes? Plus, I remember hearing stories about people who walked for days, from remote villages, just to get to a church service. I put on my, what I thought were, warm boots and decided to make the troop.
I quickly realized that walking in 90 degree Dominican Republic weather was a world of a difference from walking in 25 degree mid-west snow.
As I was walking I heard a faint “thump thump thump” that gradually got louder. There was a car clunking down the street with a flat tire. The thought of helping came into my head, but I forgot that I wasn’t in a car, and even if I was I don’t know how to change a flat tire ( I need to learn someday).
I kept on trudging along, thinking..”Wow.. my toes are really cold”. I saw a church coming up on the left, and it happened to be the church where the upcoming conference will be held. I thought, very logically, and practically.. “I should go in there, and see if anyone can give me a ride.”…but for the life of me I couldn’t find the door entrance! Also, I didn’t see any cars in the parking lot.
My toes felt like they were going to fall off by this point. I checked my google maps, and the little blue arrow was still an hour away from the “B” bubble. I remember thinking “I should just go back, I’m not gonna make it.” “God, I know I’ve been skeptical lately, but I started this walk in faith that you would show up.” I felt something push me to keep walking… so I did.
I crossed the street, and literally a minute later a car pulled up next to me. I turned my head to the left, and a friendly voice said “Hey are you going to the prayer room? Do you want a ride?”
You can imagine, being from NYC, and the daughter of a cop, a scene from CSI flashed through my head of detectives piecing together clues as to my disappearance. I don’t get into cars with strangers! But God knows me so well.
On the floor of the passenger seat was the book from the conference, that only people who registered and went to the conference could get.
I saw that book, and I hopped, my toes jubilantly, in this stranger’s car.
Tony: He was coming from the prayer room, and he saw the same car that I saw with the flat tire. He went to get something to help them, but when he drove back, he couldn’t find them. But he saw me walking, and figured I was walking to the prayer room, since I was walking in that general direction. He said he knew that morning that he had to help someone.
He thought it would be the lady with the flat tire…but it was a city girl who needed desperately to know that her God still heard her and loved her.
It has been an intense past year. I have to admit my faith has gotten bruised. Some things I was expecting to happen didn’t happen, and that gave breathing room for doubt and skepticism to begin to fester.
But even still in my doubt, I wanted to believe. Like the broken father in Mark 9 who cried out in desperation “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
I thought I would find help at that church, a ride from someone there.. that would make sense. But there was no one there, and when I felt like I couldn’t make it…literally… and when I wasn’t expecting it. God brought me help. God responded to my faith as small as a mustard seed.
The song that played in the room while I sat and reflected on that morning, and His faithfulness the past year was this:
” Oh my words could not tell, not even in part, of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.”
Circumstances like that… how can we say it’s just coincidence? Some people may still choose to say that it’s chance. But I believe it’s just another simple grandeur act of love from a God who desires for His children, His creation, to know how crazy in love He is with us. How passionately He longs to be Emmanuel, God with us, in a daily, hourly, minutely way. And that in turn makes us fall head over heels in love with Him. I know it does for me.
I will most likely never see Tony again, but because he loved God enough to listen to Him, and stay for another day in Kansas City, God worked through him to be a vehicle of a life changing faith moment for me. I pray God blesses him wherever he is in Texas.
I consider this a miracle. And it’s not just reserved for me. I’m not special. If you truly ask Him, sincerely.. He will show up for you… in miracle, jaw droppin ways, to show how much He loves you too.
Happy new year!