“You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.”
Recently, I was talking with a dear friend about how awesome God’s timing is in all situations. I said in response to a providential statement, “It’s a strange thing!” She quickly corrected me and said, “No, it’s a God thing!” My eyes widened and I exclaimed, “Yes! Correct!” It’s nice when those around you see God’s hand in all of life’s circumstances.
The story I am about to share is very close to my heart and one I’ll never forget. God used an unconventional location paired with a nonconformist personality to bring two worlds together.
One Saturday afternoon back in April 2016, I was sitting on a bench at a trampoline park when I noticed this man and his family walk in the doors. From my initial observations, I was not the only one looking at him. From a sociology prospective, he just didn’t “fit in.” He didn’t just blend in with the crowd. What made him stand out you say? From a distance, it appeared as though he was covered in tattoos, even all over his face. Let me quickly interject; the tattoos were not what sparked my interest…well maybe initially. The second I noticed him, the Holy Spirit pierced my heart and specifically told me to minister to him…[pause]…can you image the look on my face after that revelation? I rebutted and said almost aloud, “You HAVE to be kidding, right?” Yet, God had spoken and He was standing firm on His direction. I was in fact charged with ministering, somehow, to this stranger who just walked in to the trampoline park with his family.
As I watched him walk the perimeter of the park, I kept thinking, “How, Lord? How am I supposed to minister to a stranger? I am just a simple man myself!” The Lord was steady and sure as He continued to build my confidence. I resorted to the fact that I wouldn’t even get up from my bench. If I’m to minister to this man, he would have to literally walk right over to me and sit down next to me…do we sense a little rebellion? Ha, well maybe! Truth be told, this was an act of disbelief. To my surprise, this man walks right in front of me and proceeds to take a seat next to me! I literally laughed and said to myself, “SO, You ARE serious Lord!” I could almost see God orchestrating the whole meeting despite my disbelief or rebellion.
I turn to the man and attempt to introduce myself; yet he doesn’t hear me. After three tries, he turns and we share introductions. We briefly discussed the meaning of several of his tattoos on his arms, legs, face, and ears. He disclosed a battle that occurs daily between good and evil represented by the demon tattoo on one ear and the angel tattoo on the other. He said, “They battle in my head daily; the battle against good and evil.” Before I knew it, his family was leaving so he got up and genuinely said, “It was nice talking to you,” and then he left.
“Lord, I failed; I’m sorry!” This was my initial response as I didn’t get to pray with him or ask him about his salvation. Yet, the Lord said, “I’m asking you to pray for him daily and that is ministering, and it’s not over until I say it’s over.” Yes, I was called to pray for a complete stranger…and I did! I also had close friends that met me in this calling and prayed with me as well.
For one full year, I prayed for “tattoo man.” You see, I couldn’t even remember his name, but I prayed! I prayed that God would draw him closer to the Father and that he would be surrounded by Godly examples for uplifting words. Exactly one year later in April 2017, I saw a picture of this man on a Facebook timeline. It so happened that my wife knew his sister and mother this entire time! It wasn’t until his sister posted a picture of him that we made the connection! This isn’t strange! It’s a God thing!
Since then, we have been able to connect, meet for dinner, pray together, and…minister…in turn fulfilling God’s call and promise. It’s a God thing. You see, I didn’t fail God like I thought I had. This was all part of the plan of obedience. I now call this man a dear friend. I can’t imagine my life not knowing him. I am thankful for God’s perfect timing and His calling. The question is…are you listening? Are you being obedient even when the request sounds so strange? Remember, it’s not strange. It’s a God thing!
May God open your spiritual ears to hear Him clearly. Don’t hesitate when He calls.