God sends His children in the field to invite other children to come through the gate. We are children crying out to the old and broken “here, here is the Shepherd. Fall into His arms! He will carry you through the gate.“
Mr. R is a friend . He is a delightfully brilliant friend. He is a tall lanky elderly man . He tells many tales of his travels and his investigations as a lawyer. Spry and savvy in his 80’s , his conversations are sharp and roll from one adventure to another. They roll without pause as if he had eternity to tell them. He waits patiently for ears to hear him. He lives like he knows about eternity . He likes the thought of it but has not glimpsed it . He reminds me of a child who has read about eclipses but never seen one.
He knows me as a “good christian woman”. No matter how often I tell him there is no one good, “No Mr R, ,no not one is good.” , He calls me by the same title. I have grown to accept that He may have a miraculous glimpse of Jesus when he sees “good”. Though that be true, and all the evidence of heaven would show that we are drawn to the goodness of God that we see manifest in the believer, this lawyer would go against such evidence. He would prefer to give credit to me.
“The Jews say this. . . and the Muslims say this. . . and you Christians say this. . .”
But what do you say Mr. R.?
“I say. . . well I say I am a ‘free thinker and a wanderer”
Is that so dear Mr. R. Where are you wandering to?
‘Think freely about that my friend ” I say.
Well. . .. Mr R proceeds to relate stories of the past when beatniks set both tone and cadence for the thinkers and the wanderers.
Last week, Mr. R” wandered” via ambulance into the hospital where I work. He called it “chance” that I saw his name. I called it “divine”. My visit to his room he welcomed. Though ill, he continued to speak of details of his condition with great knowledge and eloquence.
Mr R. likes prayer. He likes to hear things I say to God and then interrupt my speaking . He usually asks “Is that so?” when I pray a declaration about the character of God. So, I asked on this day “Mr. R can I pray for you before you go to surgery?”
“if you would like to” Mr R stated.
“I would ” I said . Christians often pray for unbelievers and “wanderers”. We usually do it behind their back in secret places. God used Mr. R. to teach me to be unashamed to pray to God in the presence of all.
” I would like to call on the God who rules over all things. . . all things like surgeons and pacemakers and bleeding times”
“Well you can call on a guy like that for me”
“I will”. I proceeded to pray ready for Mr. R’s predictable interuption
“I don’t mean to interrupt but lets say this God exists. . . I don’t think He has much dealings with me because I don’t have much dealings with Him.”
My heart melted. I heard the cry of a man who did not know he was loved by God. I felt Jesus weep. “But Mr R. He is intimately concerned with you. He is considering everything about you. ”
“How do you know this? You cannot see this?”
“I can. It is Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God . The God who made every cell of your being . Lots of what we trust we do not see. . . ”
“I don’t think I will commit to any of that. That belief stuff. . . How bout you being here to visit that is enough” He looked up and smiled as if sending me off.
“Me visiting is not enough you know. ”
“it is for me” Mr R said.
Children want friends to come into the playground. They invite the ones they like and the ones Daddy says “invite” . But not all come. They know it costs much and that they don’t deserve to be invited.They do not see that He paid the price.
When these friends dont join us we often cry. I ran home to Daddy, Abba, Father. I cried and cried and asked if He would go get Mr. R. . I think “he will only come to your voice” I said. Speak louder Lord, For he is old and his ears are dull.
i prayed :”father remember his affliction and his wanderings , the wormwood and the gall!. . .. My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me . And this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. . The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases , His mercies never come to an end: they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him” For the Lord is good to those who wait for him , to the soul who seeks Him. and It is good that I should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord for Mr R.” Lamentations 3:19-26. Amen.