I know just how You must have felt when You looked into the eyes of those whose hearts were hard towards You. I have looked into so many of those eyes — the windows to the soul — and seen those hard hearts. I saw a lot of them just last night.
We were at a black tie dinner with scores of lawyers and their spouses. Some were older and well-established in their careers, others were younger and just getting started. I didn’t, obviously, talk to everyone there… You might have had many of Your lambs present among the wolves assembled in that disconnected “pack.”400-051 vce But it seemed that all those with whom You had me interact were far from You.
All for Your Good Purposes.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that You may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)
During the “happy hour,” I met and had conversations with several different people for the very first time… and also with some people I have known for years. Whenever I “sprinkled” my words with a little “salt,” even the slightest reference to You, I got that same look. How would I describe it? A mixture of surprise and disdain? That subtle, yet certain, shift that would happen if wet concrete could be suddenly freeze-dried?
You spoke to me so clearly, I almost heard Your audible Voice.
“Pray for them.”
So that’s how I spent that cocktail hour… praying without ceasing for every one You led me to meet. Then, we sat down to dinner.
The tables were set with name cards. Couples were split up, so people would be encouraged to talk with others rather than remain in their marriage “cocoons.” The person to my left was someone I have known for years… Someone who is still far from you and clearly wants to remain so. We had a warm visit about his current life and future plans during much of dinner.
The person to my right was someone we met briefly in the hallway as we first entered the building last night. There he was again, sitting next to me at dinner. His fervent, incessant chatter testified to the fact that he had clearly had quite a bit to drink. The “meat” of his conversation was focused on his recent visit to very wealthy friends. He listed, more than once, the many assets that “graced” their oppulent lifestyle.
I could read the nonverbals of those to whom he was delivering his monologue… their eagerness to flee. When he realized he had been unable to capture their complete attention, he jumped up and “worked” the room between bites.
Then, You sent him back to talk to me. The Conversation began in the way anyone would expect. It was just a polite interaction between dinner guests who were strangers… right?
He asked if I had any children. I said my only child is in heaven. He persisted, asking more and more probing questions. You know, Lord, that You and I have a “deal.” The deal You proposed (and I accepted) years ago. Most people drop the conversation when I give my first answer. But for those who persist in wanting to know more, I am to tell them EVERYTHING.
So it was that, last night, I shared my testimony about the Riches of Your Grace to me with this man who had spent the entire evening talking about worldly riches. The evil committed against me and the evil I committed, the depth of my pain and the desperate measures I took to kill the pain of all that evil, Your gracious Rescue when I was certain to be lost forever…
As I spoke the words You gave me, this inebriated man who had not listened to anyone all evening suddenly sobered up. His attention was riveted on me — or rather, on You, because my words all pointed directly to You. I knew this was one of those moments when the universe had stopped its motion and all of Your angels were holding their breath as they, too, listened…
I don’t know how long our conversation lasted… Long enough for dinner to conclude, for those at our table to get up and move to the “dessert” room, for people to circle around us trying to get our attention so we would stop our conversation. But he was insistent… he wanted to hear The Conclusion. So I told him.
He thanked me profusely for sharing so deeply. 200-355 vceI told him about our Deal… and that You must have known he needed to hear this testimony last night, for some reason. I added my prayer that it had blessed him in some way… even knowing that it had (or would). Why else would You have ordained our brief — yet profound — encounter with You, Lord?
Oh, Lord… Thank You for the precious gift of testifying to Your Grace and Goodness, wherever and whenever You call us into Your service!!! You were my “dessert” last night!!!
“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
Forever in Your debt,