18 November, 2014

Thank You God For Messing Up My Plans Again

I had another one of those "setups" that could only have come from God today. Some would say chance or coincidence, but there is just no way that this was not orchestrated by God Himself. Here's how it began. My wife has a conference that she must be at in Springfield on Wednesday and she is riding with co-workers, leaving Peoria at about 6:00 AM Wednesday. I suggested last night that she pack a bag and spend the night with our son who lives in Peoria so that she would not have such a long day. She agreed and got up early this morning to pack a suitcase. About 25 minutes after she left, I went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and there, by the door, was her suitcase. I was not very happy because this was going to mean at least 2 hours out of my day to drive it down to her. I was fighting a headache this morning, so I waited to leave around 11:00 when I was feeling a bit better.  So I drove over to Peoria and on the way, I called to see where Libby had parked her car so that I could put the bag in it. She asked if I could wait because she had something she wanted me to take home. So, I sat out in the parking lot for about 15 minutes waiting until she could get away. (If you don't know me well, let me tell you, I struggle with patience. I'm always getting worked up because I'm always in a hurry.) 

By this time I thought I might call my son to see if he could get away for lunch but he was not going to be able to go until almost 2:30, so I nixed that idea. I had decided to run by Sam's Club to pick up a few things since I was already in Peoria, so I went and did that and was going to head back toward home. When I went to check out, there was a problem with my membership card. They were showing that I had not renewed and I knew that we had just recently paid. It took them almost half an hour to get the problem straightened out. By this time, I was not only not a happy camper, I was getting hungry. I decided to go eat at a BBQ place I like over there, but on the way to that place, I saw Culver's and decided that it would be much quicker, so I went there. 

When I walked in Culver's the employees were all extremely polite but there was some sort of a problem with the coffee maker, which for some reason required everyone working to come try to figure it out, leaving all of us customers standing at the counter.  They took so long before they came to wait on us that a couple of people in front of me walked out of the store rather than continue to wait. Again, they were very polite when they came and took my order as well as when they brought my food out. In fact, they were so polite that I found myself thinking that in many cities (I'm not naming any... just use your imagination) they would not be able to find that many polite young people to work in the restaurant. But while I was waiting, I looked at my watch a few times thinking, "What is the hold-up?" I grabbed my cell phone and checked my messages and then "checked in" on Facebook about where I was. 

Right after I did the check-in, a man walked through the door and instantly I knew him. I looked at him for a probably a minute and a half before I finally walked up to him and said, "Excuse me... your name would not happen to be Bobby; would it? He looked at me like he was searching me over and then finally said, "Dago?" I was just stunned. I had not seen this man since November 2, 1982, when we were in prison together. He was only 31 and I 23 last time we saw each other, but I just knew this was him. He came and sat with me for a few minutes and ate before he had to leave, but that few minutes was all that was needed and I knew why I was there in Peoria. It was very obvious when I saw him that he was sick, and he told me that he is dying of Kaposi's Sarcoma. Bobby was just floored that I was a preacher. He said that he always figured I'd "grow out of that religious stage" (as he put it) and go back to my old ways. I told him that it was not a stage and what God had done in my life and just how blessed I am. Bobby's head dropped and he said, "Damn Dago, I wish I'd listened to you way back then." He shared how his life has been in and out of jail and a list of other things. I told him that our running into each other today was not an accident and that I believed God had set the whole thing up. I told him what all had happened to get me to that particular restaurant at that time. I told him that no matter where he'd been or what he had done, it was not too late to give his life to Jesus. He was open to hearing what I had to say but was still not ready to accept Christ.  He allowed me to pray for him though. As we left each other, he was really searching for answers and did not know what to do. He would not give me his number, but he took mine and promised to call me soon. If you have not put it together yet, my friend is gay and is dying from AIDS. He has a partner and his mind is just swirling because he does not know what to do right now. He says he can't ask Jesus into his life and then continue living this way. I told him that he needs to take this one step at a time and let God work this out for him. I'm believing that Bobby is going to call on the Name of Jesus. I'm asking all my readers to please lift him up in prayer and that the Holy Spirit would draw him and that he would answer.

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