Faith for an Unexpected Encounter

steps often lead us to unexpected encounters.  In the process of
crocheting a baby blanket for my nieces baby boy I encountered a problem.
I am using a variegated yarn (multiple colors in one skein) and instead
of it continuing a random pattern it began to form columns looking like I had
sewed a completely different blanket together!  Not a look I was going
for.  My sister Mary belongs to a knitting/crochet group of wise women who
meet most Monday mornings at our local coffee shop.  I thought I
would join them and ask for their sage advice.


This group meets in a
wonderful side room they reserve each week.  I arrived before my sister,
so I put my stuff down by my friend.  Then I went to stand in line to
order my favorite mocha drink.


I got in line behind a
middle age gentleman.  There were about three people ahead of us.  He
got out of line, then in about 30 seconds or so returned.  I looked at him
and pointed to his former place in line.  He moved back ahead of me, and
turned and said "that is the nicest thing anyone has done for me this
year".  I laughed, and said "no, you don't mean that".
He said, “Yes, I am serious.”  He began to tell me how the bridge
was looking pretty good.  


(We live on an island
with a bridge connecting our island to another island which finally connects to
the mainland.  It is known as Deception Pass Bridge, and it is 180 feet
above the water.  Many people unfortunately use this beautiful structure
to end their life).


I knew the code in
which he was talking.  All I could say was "No, no", No, no, no.
He looked at this passionate woman saying no, no to him and said, “There
is nothing I would miss in this life if I weren't here tomorrow.”  


I was praying inside,
"Lord, what do I say, what do I do?"  My outward voice was
saying, no no.  No matter how small a hole you think you are making in
this life it still matters.  God made you for a purpose and He has a plan.
He loves you.  He made you for a purpose.  He understands.
No NO.  He said that again, “I wouldn't miss anything here.”


I kept expecting some
poignant vital words to come forth...I said, “no matter how hard your life is
right now don't do it.

I wanted to say, come
to church--but it was six days away and I knew that was too far away to even
mention.  This encounter was happening fast and it was almost his turn at
the counter.  All I kept saying was please don't do this.  He finally
said, I don't think I am man enough to do that.


Finally a very weird,
unusual thought came to my mind.  I said, sir you need to turn your mind
to something new.  Do something you haven't ever done before.  What
was I telling him?  I wanted to give him some life changing wisdom about
the Great God of the Universe, and that's what popped in my mind?  Think
about something different -wow how profound. He stopped and looked at me like I
had shaken him.  Then he mumbled something very quietly under his breath
and all I heard was well maybe after I get out of prison, I will.  


Just then it was his
turn.  He was asking the barista what is your password.  She said,
I'm sorry sir, our internet is down, and won't be fixed until tomorrow.
He looked at me and said, "See, nothing works out".  As he
walked off, I said one more time, please, no.    


I felt such mixed
emotions.  Happy I had talked with him, but sad because I felt I didn't
give him more substance.  I knew I gave him what I could at the time.
Every time I wanted to share something that I thought was "more
spiritual" I felt a check.  The total time for this interaction was
probably less than three minutes.  I have to trust and release my faith
that I tried to help him.  As I pray for him to find more truth, I have to
release my faith that as I was at the right place to at least begin some hope
into his life, God has others in place along his path.  Although I don't
know his name, our God does.  


I could not believe
that my very small act of kindness unlocked such a serious situation.  I
Peter 3:15 encourages us to always have an answer for our faith if
someone asks us.  In some ways I felt like I was weak in my answer, but
all I can do is pray my actions and prayers made a difference in this man life.
I have had other unexpected encounters where I gave a clear call for the
Lord which led to direct prayer with the person.  This did not happen here;
maybe this type of encounter takes even more faith?


I learned some
lessons.  God sometimes uses little
things to put us in place to help others. 
Acts of kindness, no matter how small can be the key to bigger
unexpected purposes.  Be willing to share
what you have, even if it feels inadequate. 
Although I was present in the moment, I felt inadequate, but I know He
is always adequate.  I need to keep



I pray that I will
continue to grow in my ability to touch lives for Him, and I pray the same for
each of you.  We are here on this earth for a reason. I have re-hashed our
conversation over and over in my mind so maybe if there is a next time I will
be more prepared.  Please pray for
this man.