Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” ― Bertrand Russell

                    Writing about Jerry Buckingham yesterday got me to thinking about the time right before we moved here for good.  The two years before we moved to Tanzania, I was an unpaid traveling evangelist using a large Yamaha motorcycle (sometimes with Karen behind me) to travel around Arkansas doing revivals.  The bike had a Bible painted on both sides of the gas tank (see picture at the right) and on the storage container on the back.  I was also a member of the CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) and wore their colors on the back of my leathers.  I also wore a clerical collar (nothing new, I had been wearing one full time since 1986 and wear one here), so everyone could tell that I was a Christian—at least on the outside.  Many times at service stations and other places I stopped people would come up to talk to me about Jesus and what I was doing with my life.  For the most part, I really enjoyed that aspect of my travel unless I was in a hurry to get somewhere.  One day, I pulled into a gas station outside of Kansas City which was my destination and was in a real hurry.  A woman got out of a clunky, beat up old car and started to walk toward me.  She was covered in tattoos, has some teeth missing, and was wearing clothes that would have offended even people in Wal-Mart.  I thought she was coming to ask me for money, and I just barely had enough to get me to Kansas City, so I was beginning to think of excuses for why I could not help her with any money.  When she got up to me, she said, “I can see you are a man of God.”  I nodded, feeling reluctant to talk to her.  She then told me that she was taking her very sick baby to a hospital just outside of Kansas City and would I please come bless, anoint, and pray for her child.  I was humbled and ashamed of what I had been thinking and of how I had judged her.  I quickly rushed to her car and did exactly what she asked of me.  I then followed her car all the way to that hospital to make sure she got there.  With tears in her eyes and her baby in her arms, she thanked me as she went into the emergency room.  I got back on my bike a different man than when I got on it that morning.  Never again, did I judge someone by what they looked like or what I thought they wanted from me, I waited to find out the truth.  God can use the reluctant, if you don’t run the other way but stay to find out how you are needed.  May God give you the strength to wait and find out what God needs of you.  And may you give God what is asked of you.
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