I have recorded elsewhere an ‘encounter’ that I had with some ladies carrying umbrellas and recently I had another ‘encounter’ but this time with a bloke trying to see me an umbrella.
I was in a foreign city that I had never visited before and it was raining; really raining. Despite this I was determined to see something of the place, so armed with an umbrella I set out. Incidentally, did you know that the meaning of umbrella is ‘little shadow’ and that originally they were designed as sunshades to protect the complexions of genteel Italian ladies? You didn’t, well there you are then, an interesting fact to pull out at the next suitable opportunity.
I was making my way across an open area, umbrella aloft, when I was approached by a man offering to sell me – an umbrella. I politely pointed out that I didn’t need one thanks, as he could probably tell if he looked closely. He realised his mistake and so moved on to asking if I wanted to buy any cannabis or marijuana. This was not a direction of conversation that I had anticipated as I don’t normally associate drug dealers with umbrella salesman. Perhaps I’ve missed an important connection there.
Anyway, I declined, explaining that I didn’t use those drugs at all. As these words were coming from my mouth I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me to go further and tell this chap exactly why I didn’t look for that sort of help in my life. So, I said to him that he had been kind enough to offer me something now I’d like to offer him something. This seemed perfectly reasonable to me.
I didn’t expect much interest but he stayed in front of me so I carried on. I didn’t take ages, I just explained simply and clearly that God loved him deeply and wanted infinitely better things for his life than he was experiencing right now. Do you know he was really struck by this idea? He was from a Catholic background and sadly he had never realised that God was completely for him and wasn’t angry or judgemental towards him at all.
We got talking about his family, his children, his grandchildren and then his health. It turned out that he had a heart problem and had a pacemaker fitted. He showed me the impressive scar and the lump in his chest that looked like he had Rubic’s cube in his chest cavity. He told me about his money problems and all while it was raining in a foreign city.
I prayed for him. I prayed simply and quickly. I prayed that his Father in Heaven would show His love to him, that He would heal his heart physically and spiritually and that He would open up a life filled with love, peace and real security.
In the whole conversation, which lasted only a few minutes I never once worried about what to say, how to say it or whether or not something would happen. All that seemed important was that I had good news to share and this man really needed to hear it. I have no idea what he thought of it all and how it may have been effective in his life but I do know that the outcome is not dependent on me at all. It is God’s love, God’s message, God’s power and God’s opportunity. I was simply there as a son who was ready to partner with my Father’s work.
Life is full of similarly unexpected opportunities so let’s be ready to jump in with both feet and not be concerned too much about the consequences.