In the entry dated May 8th, I related a new way that I had learned to journal and study the Bible. This past weekend, I went to Annual Conference. Jill had to leave on Friday afternoon in order to go to Mississippi for a family reunion and I went back to the hotel. I had not had the opportunity to do my daily Bible reading and journaling and so I began looking for my Bible. Guess what! I forgot to bring my Bible (a preacher without a Bible…there’s a sermon somewhere in that!) Praise the Lord for the Gideons. There was a Bible in my hotel room, however, it was KJV. I can’t stand reading the KJV.
I grabbed my computer and went downstairs in the atrium where they have wifi and clicked onto http://www.biblegateway.com and began looking up and reading the scripture for the day. One of the Scripture’s was Romans 13. I finished reading and was doing the journal part of my study and I noticed (out of the corner of my eye) a lady standing and looking around. I didn’t think much since it is quite common in this atrium for people to stand and look up and around. Then she began to approach me. I’m just typing away on my computer and she excuses herself. She says, “I know this is probably weird, but would you mind taking a look at a letter for me?” I’m sure she could tell by the weird look on my face that I was perplexed and she explained a little more. “I’m not sure if I’m reading it right.” So I took a look at it. It was an official letter and had several options on it which could be checked. The one which was checked is the one she was asking me to read and it said something like, “We have no reason nor evidence that the statements you have presented were presented in misleading or untruthful nature.”
I said, “I’m no lawyer, but it reads to me like whatever you told the person who sent you this is that they believe what you told them.” She responded by saying that was what she understood it to say. Then she asked, if you’re not a lawyer, what are you? I laughed at her boldness and said a preacher. I thought to myself (self, good opportunity to minister). I told her that I was here for a conference and had decided to do my Bible study down here since I had forgotten my Bible. “Isn’t that something, a preacher without a Bible.” She laughed. “But I came down here because I can look up scripture on the internet and I showed her biblegateway.com. The Romans 13 passage was still displayed and she began to read it. She read these words outloud, “1-3Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.”
I looked at her and big tears were rolling down her face. She finished reading and said, “I lied.” “I lied and they think I told the truth and it’s eating me up inside.” She went on to explain that she receives some support from the government (about $55.00/week) and she told me she really doesn’t need it but enjoys it because they give it to her on a pre-paid Visa and she is able to go to the store and swipe. She went on to tell me that she had to meet certain qualifications to continue receiving the money and she no longer met those requirements. Thus she lied to keep the benefit.
All this time, I never said a word and she did all the talking. After a few minutes of her talking, she said, “I’m going Monday and telling my case worker that I no longer need this benefit and no longer qualify for it. Then she started thanking me and I told her that I really hadn’t done anything that it was really her and God. Then she said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. She said, “God used you to bring me that Scripture. That Scripture was not meant for you, but for me.”
Why do we need to study Scripture daily? Many reasons and most of them for our own spiritual growth. Yet, our God is so incredibly awesome, God can use our study to give someone else what they need. Since I have been so committed to daily Study and Journaling, I have been amazed at what God has revealed, opened up and done through it.
Person I Met Today
One of the many habits that my wife had to get used to about me was that I love to talk to people. It really doesn’t matter if I know you or not, I just enjoy engaging people in conversation. Over the years, I have met many wonderful (and some not so wonderful) people and though most only result in “Knowing” that person for a few moments, I enjoy these encounters. I call it “making friends.”
Today, I took a hike at a local park (I will post about that later) and was quietly sitting listening to the wind blow through the trees. As I was sitting there, an older man approached and asked me if this led back to the parking lot. I told him it did and the conversation was engaged. I asked him how long the trail was and he told me that he was told it was 1.5 miles. ” However, it was the longest 1.5 miles he had ever walked.”
He was in surprising good shape for his age which I guessed to be in mid-70′s. He told me about the hikes he and his wife used to take when they lived in North Carolina and how they raised their children on the trails and in the woods. I listened as he spoke so lovingly about his wife and how she had to give up their walks in the woods as she “struggled with Parkinson’s.” I began to notice how he always referred to her in the past tense but didn’t feel the need to delve any deeper. He would tell me what he wanted me to know.
He told me a funny story about his son and son-in-law trail blazing in North Carolina because they didn’t want to follow the trail. They ended up being torn to pieces by the briars. His laugh filled the woods as he remembered this story in his mind.
I shared with him that my wife was pregnant with twins and a big smile came across his face as I told him they were a boy and a girl. His first two were born 15 months apart and were like twins (a boy and a girl). He told me briefly about trips in the old station wagon when it was okay for children to ride in the back. After that memory, he told me it was nice talking to me and he was off down the trail.
I truly enjoyed meeting this man. We never exchanged names, address, phone numbers, nor e-mail addresses but he made my day and I hope that our meeting may have brought some joy to his life. If only for a moment.