I took a break at work and went to sit in the courtyard to have some time with God (silence, solitude, stillness, and listening). As I was walking down the hall, a man asked me, “Are you a chaplain?” I don’t know why he asked… I was carrying my Bible, but it’s not obvious that it’s a Bible.
“No. I’m a pastor, though,” I said. He was surprised (in a good way). And he said he was on his way to go talk to the Chaplain right now. I introduced myself to “Tex”, shook his hand, and, though it seemed like he wanted to say more, he didn’t and so I proceeded on my way out the door to go be with my Friend.
As I was walking outside, I felt like my “chance” encounter with Tex was actually a divine appointment. So I said to Jesus, “Well, if it was, then I’m sure You’ll make our paths cross again. But in the meantime, my priority is You.” No sooner had I said that then Tex came jogging out of the building and called out my name. He was wondering if he could talk to me about something.
So I took him to my favorite meditation spot — I was going to talk with Jesus anyway, I explained, so he might as well join us. I don’t have anything to offer, but He’s Amazing. Tex explained a challenging situation he was in at work, and how he was in a position where if he told the truth, it would adversely affect him. I proposed to him that we pray and ask the Lord for His word for Tex right now. I explained to him how we can hear God — that I’d open us up by asking the Holy Spirit to be with us and to share with us His word for Tex right now, and then how we would spend 10 minutes each listening to God and write down anything that came to mind, from Bible verses, to pictures in our head, to our grocery list. Then at the end of it, we would compare notes and be able to confirm what it is God said. Tex was game for it, even though this was a new concept for him.
We took out paper and pens, bowed our heads, and began listening. And after the 10 minutes, we shared with each other what we had written down. It was amazing how consistent the words and themes were! (Every time I do this, the words have been consistent, but it still is SO COOL to me!). Where I could offer something by way of application, or tying this word with that word to give broader meaning, I did. And then I told him that from here, he was to measure each of his decisions and actions against these words; the decisions and actions that are consistent with the words is the leading of the Lord. And when he walks in them, even though other options are possible and legitimate, he will be walking in faith.
At the end of it, he told me I was a very good attorney, and that he was going to go fire the attorney he’d hired for this whole thing. I laughed — I wasn’t even being an attorney! I told him his attorney probably was looking out for his best interests from the perspective of the world, but God sees a bigger picture. And there will be times we will walk through fire and floods, and it will be for our good. (Trying to avoid them only results in becoming fish food–see Jonah)
Definitely one of the BIGGEST highlights of my time in this job so far. I love, love, love how the Lord works, and that He chooses to do His will on earth as it is in Heaven by working through His children. And I’ve realized I have no greater intimacy with the Lord than when I’m communing with Him (listening intently and seeking Him) as I’m ministering to someone else, like Tex. That’s when I feel most fulfilled.
I asked Tex why he asked me if I was a chaplain, and if he’d noticed my Bible. He thought about it and said, “It wasn’t your Bible; it’s how you carried yourself.” Fascinating – I bet he saw it spiritually, not physically.