One night two of my friends and I were walking Lake Mirror, wandering, having our own plans and obligations in mind, when we heard a voice say, “hey are any of you Southeastern students?” Well of course we halted and paused to sum up the situation and upon looking 10 feet beside us, there was a man sitting in the manicured grass positioned with a bunch of students who were not from SEU. He explained how he was looking for somebody to tell him about the Bible, and of course the people around him either snickered or were oblivious to what was going on. In response we asked him his name- “Elijah.” Skepticism entered my mind but there was something in my heart that was tugging, telling me to go. SO of course the logistics of everything gushed into my tunnel vision like a massive wave of water and clouded upmy view- I don’t know these people, I don’t know if they are serious or not, it’s nighttime, not completely familiar with this area, the clearance out here is foggy, gosh, there are awfully not a lot of streetlights around this place. Here I am, with an open opportunity to share the Gospel and I stumbled upon my own fears and anxieties. Could God slap me across my face any harder.. honestly, like hellllooooo. From here on I wish I could say, I women-ed up, went in peaceful authority, and befriended a stranger but no… a bit of distant small talk and we were on our own way, and I wondered what could have been.
As we walked I kept playing the scenario over and over in my head, constantly reasoning and pondering, hoping we would see him again. With every turn of a corner I waited in expectation of him just appearing. Well if I see him again I’ll talk. Maybe, he went to Mitchell’s coffeehouse and that is how he heard about Christ? Maybe someone else from SEU shared with him? I thought, I have a Bible in the car, if I see him I’ll give him my Bible right away. But there were no second moments or second chances that night. How amateur of me.
I got in the car thinking about the injustice in this world, I wish there was more that can be done for the homeless in Lakeland, when I in fact I had my opportunity to add to his glimmer of hope and blatantly failed. I fed into what I hate the most.
So tonight, I went to Mitchell’s coffeehouse with the rest of the SEU population for Renew chapel. Today was a good day filled with learning, fellowship, worship, and devotion. As I sat there going over some homework, waiting for Renew to start, a man walked through the door. He was quiet and put together. He looked around a bit, took his seat, and briefly smiled. In the midst of loud noises of coffee brewing, friends conversing, pages flipping, the team preparing, people getting up and down and crowding together, my life slowed a bit and I knew exactly at that moment who I was looking at- the man at the lake. I felt this rush come over my face, the moment of guilt mixed with new opportunity and I reviewed the former like a cinematic film in my mind again. How paradoxical, I knew the face I was looking into was Elijah’s and yet that night in the past, I convinced myself that things where too vague to step into. In that moment I obscured the yearning face that I could so clearly see.
This glimpse into my mistake is the lesson of learning the difference of being intune with God or not. It’s the difference between obeying a prompt from the Holy Spirit or talking your way out of it. It’s the difference between living your life for your own needs,wants, and comforts or leaving your space to live a life for Christ. It’s the rememberance of the empowerment of God, looking not just to the physical but to the spiritual. We have all had and have moments in our life where we doubt ourselves. The funny thing is, it has nothing to even do with us. It’s not out of our might but Christ, we are the thankful messengers.
The current situation and environment tonight was ideal. To shy away again was completely out of the question. I did not want to miss this time to introduce myself to Elijah. I waited and scoped out my surroundings but went. To be completely honest, I waited inline for a cup of coffee I didn’t even want, let alone want to drink. I just did it to buy myself time while he was talking to someone else. Elijah and I are now acquainted. We laughed a bit over our introduction. I apologized for never making my way back to him that night. I’m not sure if he remembered or not, but I did. He said, “the people at Renew are my family,” that stuck out to me. Lastly, I told him it was an honor to meet him and I’m happy that he was around. He smiled and said “thank you.” But it was true, it was an honor to meet him. He taught me one of the biggest lessons I need to learn on my spiritual walk. I sat down and wrote on the back of a piece of paper tonight- Never doubt the prompting again- I looked up and saw Elijah.