For it is God who works in you….

Yesterday, just another ordinary day of leaving work after another routine eight hours, I was praying as I walked to the train. Still struggling with what God wants me to do with the life I have left here on earth.

When I got down to the train stop and while I was standing there, waiting for the next train, a young Hispanic fellow walks up to me and asks “Do you have a piece of gum you could spare?”

Now, I have been asked a lot of things, mostly for change, while standing at the train stop, but never this. Fortunately for him I have a small addiction to chewing gum and was able to give him a piece. What was strange was how he acted after I had kindly given him a piece of gum.

He looked at me quizzically and asked, “You’re a good man aren’t you? I can tell. You have this…this…thing about you.”

I answered, “Well, I don’t know about all that, but I am trying to live right.”

He continued to look at me strangely and said, “Do you believe in God?”

“Of course!” I answered and again he looked at me very oddly. Then he says, “I know you! I’ve seen you before!”

Now, I didn’t know what to say, since he looked vaguely familiar to me, but certainly not in a really familiar way. I thought possibly he’d been in one of my chapel services at the jail, but I didn’t want to insinuate that.

Now, granted, he’d had a few beers, but it was just uncanny how he kept coming back to me. Soon, he says, “Are you a cop?” To which I replied, “No!” and laughed.

I then asked him what his name was. He looked at me like I had accused him of something.  He shook his head and said, looking up, “What are you trying to tell me, God?” continuing with something like, “I don’t know why God won’t leave me alone. That’s why I drink, man, to get away from Him.”

I told him, “You can’t run away from God! I tried it and now I am His.”

Just at this time, the train arrived and I followed him on board.

He went off into a corner by the bike rack, his face turned from me, shaking his head. I hung around just long enough to give him a business card I use to invite folk to church. It includes my name and I told him to look me up if he wanted to talk. He still wouldn’t tell me his name, so I felt led to leave him alone and went up to the upper section of the light rail car. I found a seat toward the back and sat down. I was pondering what I should do, but felt I should just leave things to God at this point.

About five minutes later, I noticed he had taken a seat right behind me and was listening to some tunes on an MP3 player. He smiled and said “You like Pink Floyd, man? ‘Wish You Were Here’?” I said, “Yeah, I used to like them a lot” and asked him which song he was listening to right then. Rather incredulously, he says, “ ‘Wish You Were Here’, man!” I laughed and about that time the train started moving rather quickly and he hit his face on a hand rail that rose from the back of the seat row I was in. I suggested he move up beside me to avoid that happening again.

He complied and continued to listen to his music. Yet, he continued to look up at me with a mixture of profound sadness and then joy. I finally heard him say, “I hurt, man. I hurt a lot.” All I could think to say at that moment was, “I know man, I know.”

Anyway, as he talked, on and off, he alluded to the fact that he knew the Bible and that the world was soon coming to an end. I agreed and we spoke a bit about that. Then he asked, “Aren’t you scared?”

I immediately said “Not at all!” and I am not usually that confident about it, believe me.

Shortly afterwards, he said, “Faith without works is dead!” and then said he needed to get off the train now. I let him go, of course, and told him to keep looking because you cannot find what’s lost unless you look for it. Then, he seems to have figured out where he’d seen me before and said, “You and your analogies! I know where I’ve seen you before!”  But refused to tell me where.

Nevertheless, he continued to talk about how God wouldn’t leave him alone. I told him that God loved him and wanted to rescue him from this present world. He replied, “I know that, man.” The he says, “You know this is the second go around for the world? God destroyed the first one with the flood.”

I agreed that this was so and said, “God purged the earth with a ‘baptism” of water. A lot of people think baptism is only symbolic, but God uses water to clean things up and quoted John 3:5, “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”

He smiled and said, “I know that. Baptism does matter.” 

I felt led to show him Ezekiel 18:21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”

Suddenly he decided it was time to get off and we exchanged a few firm, friendly handshakes. I told him something encouraging (I hope) and off he went.

Shortly after he’d gotten off, the lady behind me said “I was praying for you.”

I turned around and said, “Why thank you! It’s pretty hard to talk to a person who’s been drinking, but I tried.” to which she replied, “At least you seized the opportunity. In season and out of season, you know?”

I then introduced myself and she did to me. Hers was the next stop, but I think we were both very blessed. I know I surely was. I felt that God had directed the whole thing from start to finish. Now, granted, I had a short period there where I almost got full of myself, picturing myself as some sort of “holy man”, but thank the Lord, that feeling was easily put down by the Spirit of God. I can see, though, how powerfully attractive this sense of “holiness” could be and why some go off on their own, drawing others after them, thinking they are “called’.

Fortunately, I have been (without knowing why) studying the old time “holiness” movers and shakers and have come to feel that some of them fell into the same pit the Pharisees did: “that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith…”

What happened yesterday was not pre-planned. I was not, in my mind, prepared for it in any way. My prayer life hasn’t been what I would like it to be lately. But, I am so heavily influenced by the “holiness” movement that I grew up in, that I always feel I have to work at this salvation, to somehow qualify to be used by God. God is showing me that I am just a lowly vessel that He can choose, or not choose, to use for His purposes and His glory. I just need to surrender myself to Him and always be ready to follow His lead, not mine.

I mean, really…. I didn’t know which train to catch that day or even when I should leave work. The train I caught was 20 minutes earlier than my usual one. I just happened to have gum on me. I just happened to sit in front of a fellow believer who prayed for me while I tried to minister to that man.

There are no coincidences in a Christian’s life! Praise God!



9 responses to this post.

  1. What a great story.

    I try to remember to pray fpr encounters like that. Ususally when I do, the Lord will send someone into my path.

    And I pray afterwards that He use my poor words for His purposes and that He might grab a hold of their hearts.

    “God is showing me that I am just a lowly vessel that He can choose, or not choose, to use for His purposes and His glory.”

    PK, I think you have got it exactly right.

    Even when we blow it (or think we’ve blown it), He is more than capable of using that, also.

    God bless you my friend, and keep up the good work!

  2. Posted by sreneetn1 on October 4, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Yes, a great story indeed.

    Thanks PK for sharing – I couldn’t help but smile and cry at the same time.

    And as you stated,” There are no coincidences in a Christian’s life! Praise God!”…it was not a coincidence that I read your last post and got the reply from Steve that I did – – God was all over that and it was such an overwhelming confirmation in my heart that I could not help but be so very thankful, to First my Maker, and then for you and Steve allowing God to use you. He is amazing!


  3. Posted by indywatchman on October 4, 2009 at 5:00 am


    What a good start to a Sunday morning; I loved the story.

    John Donne wrote: No Man Is An Island

    No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

    The poem reminds us that just as rock makes concentric circles, when tossed into the water, those circles touch and in some small way effect every thing they contact. We have been given the opportunity to speak words of life that heal, and mend, and sooth, or we can speak words that destroy, and how very easy it is to speak words that destroy, and difficult to speak words of life. We are in this world, but our words and actions defy our allegiance to another world.

    Thanks Steve,

    Steve Blackwell

  4. Thanks, Steve, Sherry, and Steve!

    Thanks for the encouragement this Sunday morning.

    I feel so terrible inadequate, but I think that’s good. My heart’s desire is to make my life count for eternity. I want to be a George Mueller or William Carey, but there are only a few men like that. God is the one doing the work, and as Donne said, we are all a very small piece of the very big picture of God’s work. May God help us to always hunger and thirst for more of Him and less of us!

    Have a blessed day in Christ Jesus, all who love and follow Him!

  5. Posted by edwardfranklin on October 4, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for telling this, brother! It’s a rare moment, as you know, which finds me speechless, but this is one.

    LORD, You are an amazing God!

  6. Ed, brother, you are too kind.

    It’s a poorly written account, but I thank God it blessed you.

  7. Posted by fugitive4him on October 21, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Thank you for that post, and I agree with you its about how holy we are and that we ‘qualify’ to be used by God when we have achieved a certain standard. We like to tick all the boxes.

  8. It’s our fallen nature that wants to give “us” some, or any, credit!


  9. Posted by lee01 on December 20, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    im pentacostal……holiness.
    i know i dont have to earn anything that god
    chooses to give.
    glad that i have been influenced.

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