Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it, when it is in your power to do so.

–Proverbs 3:27

“Lord, give me the ability to see the needs of others, and if I have the ability to meet that need, let me boldly step forward, with You by my side, to meet it.

–my daily prayer

coincidence (Biblical definition): what occurs together by God’s providential arrangement of circumstances

I apologize.

If you are a Star Wars fan, this post has nothing to do with the movies or the little green Yoda dude. Or Baby Yoda, even though he is beyond adorable.

This is about being led by the Spirit.

I know, I know. Some of you are really freaked out by/skeptical about statements like that. In the Land of Woo-Woo everyone has a different threshold, and I may have just crossed yours.

A couple years ago on a chilly November morning, I was strolling around my neighborhood, approaching a crossroads (in more ways than one). Preparing to navigate the busy intersection, I spied a young guy on the other side along the same trajectory. He was clearly one of the many homeless who wander Sioux Falls, loaded down with a mish-mash of coats and scarves and an assortment of bags and knapsacks heaped about his person…but, hmm, that’s different…a guitar perched on top of it all…

The usual inner dialogue…”do I pretend I don’t see him, avoid him with a quick detour…”

A gentle voice in my head…

“Ask him if he plays.”

Ohhhh-kaaaaay…

“Why does the Christian cross the road?”

“I have no flipping clue. Ask God.”

We met on the sidewalk at precisely the same instant, and as he trudged by, head down, I asked, “Do you play?”

Dead stop.

“Yes.”

We proceeded, in the freezing cold, to have a weirdly jovial sort of “tell me about you” conversation, two people taking a moment from their day and connecting. Barriers fell away, labels forgotten. The initial shame I’d seen in his eyes winked out.

His name, he said, was Yoda. He confided that he wrote his own music, and without preamble swung his guitar up front. I protested…it was too cold…his fingers…but he began anyway…

It was poetry, full of pain and longing and love and questions and amazingly…hope. By the time he finished, my face was wet with tears. I reached out and hugged him tightly, guitar and all (those of you who know me are so not shocked), thanking him over and over for the gift of his song.

It was a song that told a story, a story of tragedy and beauty, powerful and personal, uniquely his.

Yoda’s story.

Jesus commanded us to love one another.

In that “chance-not by chance” meeting…a part of that command…

To see others as He does and truly hear their story.

Everyone has a story.

Neighbors, clerks, farmers, fishermen, businessmen, homeless, lepers…

Everyone.

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