A dead man walked and that means what? Today was an unusual day, but perhaps in some “sideways” way it was God’s response to my prayers. God’s replies are not always clear to me. I hope you fare better than that. My day began by meeting again with a young man who months ago blew me off after we had spent several weeks in dialogue about life and spiritual things and he decided a “buffet” of spiritual options was more to his liking, especially the spicy things that come from the Eastern menu of spiritual delights.
Each of us has his own journey, so I am not surprised or rebuffed by those who choose to wander longer. I did it myself. It was a pleasant surprise to meet this person again after many months and miles and to discover some of our conversations had taken root and caused a deeper stirring and movement towards an appreciation and knowledge of Jesus and the faith he gave us. This was completely unexpected and our “reunion” was not something I relished. I was not particularly looking forward to this early morning “reunion” as conversations from months ago frankly were very draining and seemed to be fruitless.
Leaving the restaurant with a more hopeful outlook on this person’s life and spiritual well-being, I caught a glimpse of a young traveler, probably in his 20’s, who looked fatigued as he squatted against the restaurant wall. The road can wear a person down, and he showed obvious signs of that. I asked him if he had eaten lately and he said no, so I offered to treat him to a meal and he was thankful in his acceptance. This guy was “on the road to find out.” Going, but not certain where. (To some degree and some time, aren’t we all?)
He ordered enough food to get him through a tough day (or two) and I was glad to accommodate that. We talked a while as I drove him to a drop off point. Just a young guy looking for his place, his destination, and some sense of purpose. Have you ever had that struggle? I have. I found that the answer and the emotional “rest” actually eventually did come in the person of Jesus and knowing him. But what do you say to a young perfect stranger without coming off as a religious nut? Do you say anything at all? Was this my “lame beggar at the gate” where Peter and John and last Sunday’s message encourage me to say, “silver and gold I have none, but in the name of Jesus here’s . . . . this?”
Because the “dead man” walked I’m compelled to mention “life” and the promise of “life,” direction and purpose for all who will gamble to risk their trust in him. And so I did mention this. I acknowledged that life has its hard times. That sometimes answers are elusive and the direction is hazy. And we often feel alone. I have experienced all this myself and sometimes still struggle, but not without hope and help. I gently assured him there is a God who demonstrated his favor and love towards us through a man called Jesus. That the love of God for us, despite our failings and brokenness, is certain and strong.
A dead man walked and that means what? Because this “man” said in advance he would demonstrate God’s power by living again after his death to prove we can have hope and a renewed life, I have the desire and confidence to relay his message today. The “dead man” lives to change lives today. Were this not so, I probably would have never taken time to engage the guy who blew me off and later sought me out. And as for the weary young traveler, perhaps two words . . . good luck, and an unspoken thought, get a job! Think About It.