If you are reading this, I pray that it will touch your life and bring you hope as it has me. Yesterday, we buried my brother’s physical body. His spirit had gone Home to be with the Lord. The last few days have been difficult to say the least. Most of you can relate to saying good bye to a close family member. Quite frankly, the last few months have been tough for various reasons. When I received the news of my brother’s passing, I was numb and in a state of shock. I had just talked with him earlier that day. It was a very pleasant conversation about life, singing, and spiritual things. We had even talked about getting him strong enough to travel so that he and I could take a short trip to Europe and allow me to show him another part of the world. That night I barely slept and eventually rolled over stared at the clock, which read 3:30am. Not long after that I got up, I brewed a cup of coffee and tried to meditate on what was happening… seeking the Lord’s help in the situation. However, I just didn’t “feel” anything. I decided to go for an early morning walk to clear my head a little. What happened next was one of those “God” moments. I would like to share it with you now. I am not embellishing things in any way. This is exactly what happened.
I drove to the missions building on the campus of Englewood Baptist Church and decided to walk there around the perimeter of the property. It was still dark out with a clear crisp sky. I walked one time around and as I started on my second lap, I glanced up to see a man walking up the sidewalk on Highland Street. It was obvious to me that I would reach the sidewalk exactly at the same time he passed by. Since it was dark and I was wearing old sweats and a hoodie, I hoped he would not feel uncomfortable with me emerging right next to him on the street. I decided to just keep on moving, assuming I would pass him by and continue on my walk. When I got beside him on the sidewalk, he smiled and said “good morning. isn’t it a blessed day.” Not that it matters at all, but he was a black gentleman, dressed in work clothes… probably a city or utility worker. Here I was, an older white guy with my mismatched sweatpants and hoodie pulled over my head. Anyway, he continued… “my name is Michael and I am so thankful to have strength to get to work today. I don’t have a car, but the Lord gives me strength to use the feet He gave me to get to the bus stop.” I told him that I agreed with him, we were both blessed of the Lord and I told him my name. He just kept praising the Lord and talking about how blessed he was, then he said something out of the blue that stunned me. I am not making this up. He said, “you know, I had 8 brothers and 4 of them have gone on. Life is tough sometimes, but the Lord gives me strength to keep going.” I had not prompted him in any way and had not mentioned losing my brother the night before.
Then, as we reached the spot where I needed to turn away, I stopped him and placed my hand on his back and told him that I believed God sent him to cross my path that morning. I told him that my brother Donny had just died the night before and without hesitation, he grabbed my hand and prayed for me there on the sidewalk. He prayed the most heartfelt prayer for me and my family… that God would send us peace and provide for our needs. We hugged and he continued down the sidewalk toward the bus stop. I continued on my route and was amazed by the whole experience.
Some people would say that this was just a coincidence, but I know otherwise. In my life, God sometimes uses such obvious, direct contact to get my attention or send encouragement. Maybe it is because I am a strong-willed man… and a bit hard-headed at times. Yet, these encounters always seem to be unpredicted and just in time. I am so thankful that my God helps me when I cannot seem to help myself. I may not see Michael again but for those few moments, he was like an angel of mercy – sent to assure me that things will be alright. If you don’t have this kind of relationship with God, please seek it. I’ll end this conversation by reminding us of a promise that Jesus made to us in Matthew 11:28-30.