I rehearsed a handful of responses as I walked toward their car. Although I didn’t know them, I was certain that they were going to ask me for money. Lately I had been approached by a number of transients asking for help. Rather than constantly giving money, I made a practice of keeping snacks in my car to give to give to those who were hungry. But honestly, I found this to be tiresome, and was no longer doing it with a joyful heart.
As I drew closer to the car I couldn’t help but fall into my natural tendency to judge others. It’s not that I set out each day to demean people. It’s that I had developed a bad habit that was extremely hard to break.
Taking a closer look, I noticed that the man and woman were quite homely in appearance. The man wore a bright blue knitted-sweater and thick-framed glasses, both which seemed to have been purchased from a JC Penny’s catalog from the 80’s. His hair was blond and shaggy, and had a vintage flair to it. The lady’s appearance complimented his attire. Her hair was shaped like Velma from Scooby-Doo, and she wore a striped-turtle-neck sweater paired together with some mom-jeans. As I glanced at them again, I prepared myself for the worst. In my mind I knew that this wasn’t going to end well. However, before I could speak a word, the lady spoke up and said, “Pastor John, my husband and I would like to invite you out to dinner.”
I must have looked quite puzzled, because they both chuckled a bit. “And don’t you say no Pastor,” she said, “we got you covered. Do you like Village Inn?” In shock, I didn’t respond. This scenario didn’t play out the way as I had imagined, and I was at a loss for words. “Just follow us there,” she said. Still startled, I got into my car and followed their little Yugo to Village Inn.
As we sat at the table, they began to share their story with me. They had traveled from up-state, to our border town, in route to the dentist in Mexico. They had heard that dental care was significantly more affordable, across the border, and decided to try it out. They were presently surprised at the amount they had saved. However, the dentist wasn’t able to complete all the work in one day. Since the dentist closed their office for the weekend, they had decided to stay in our city and head back to finish the work on Monday.
This couple was definitely not shy. You could tell that they loved conversation. They went on to explain that they had heard about the healing revival on the radio and attended with the hope of making some Christian connections in our city. They expressed that they were disappointed with the attendance of the event, but they trusted that God knew what he was doing by pointing them there. Then they went on to say that they were certain that God had led them to me.
At this point, my spidey-senses set off every alarm in my body. I knew there was a catch to our meeting, they obviously wanted something from me. However, the proved me wrong once again. They went on to share how they had met at bible college, and chose to live a simple life so they could drive from city to city and find people to pray for. Rather than chase after material possessions, they wanted to be free to serve God in whatever capacity He called them to.
As the conversation continued, they began to ask me about my life. They seemed genuinely interested to know about my background, my ministry, and my vision in life. As I shared my story, they both seemed to hang on to every word that I spoke. As I observed the manner in which they listened, I couldn’t help but feel humbled that they were taking time to know me. I was overcome by a sense of calmness and felt my tension dissipate.
As the man listened to my story his eyes began to fill with tears. His wife, who was the most outspoken of the two then told him, “Honey, if you have something to say, you need to say it.” “God doesn’t just put things on your heart for you to keep them there.” As the man began to speak, he directed every word to me, “God has given you the heart of David. You are a man after his own heart.” “Keep going honey,” his wife said. The man continued to speak, most of his words are now a blur in my memory, but there are a few things that I will never forget. “You will fail many times, but the Lord will still see your heart,” he said, “You were created to worship Him. You were created for His glory. You were created for royalty.”
I was in need of healing.
In retrospect, there a couple things that I discovered that night. The first being, that I was the one that needed healing. It wasn’t that my physical body was ailing. It’s that my heart was. The truth is that I ignored every prompt that God had given me that night. It started with an invitation to a revival, then an invitation to dinner, and then an inevitable reminder that, as a human-being, I will fail. Today I am able to see that it was my heart that needed healing that night….. and God sent random people to bring it to me. For the first time, in a long time, I was able to see how my pride and judgmental spirit were keeping me from experiencing the things that God had prepared for me.
God always sees my heart
God also used this couple as a prophetic voice to remind me of how God sees me. Since that moment I have failed God, I have failed family, and I have failed friends countless times. I assume that if we were to pile each failure one on top of the other, it would rise higher than Mount Everest. The awareness of this fact is enough to humble the proudest man. Nevertheless, I am constantly reminded that in the midst of my errors, God always sees my heart. Regardless how dark the day may be, there is always a desire to know Him and make Him known. There is a desire to align my life with His will and see His kingdom come. As dark as my past may be, the future is always brighter. Why? Because I was created to be royalty.
I often wonder what happened to this couple. We didn’t exchange numbers. I never saw them again. However, I bless God for them. Who would have thought that the awkwardest of situations would be a portal to a message from God.
John Eli Garay.
John Eli is a transformational life coach who has spent over 15 years mentoring individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. His resume includes pastoral care, behavioral health, and higher-education advising. From an early age, John recognized that God created him to bring hope, healing and encouragement to others. He is currently walking out his purpose by helping others confront, and work through, any negative self-talk that keeps them from living life to the fullest. His ministry includes blogging, speaking, and personal development coaching. He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, mini-schnauzer and an antique piano whom he calls, “Betty.”
To schedule a coaching session with John Eli click here.