Posted by: Kerry Spencer | October 23, 2008

Divine appointment at the hospital

Matt and I had quite an experience at the hospital yesterday.  We learned that one of our regular Day Shelter guests, Bill, had been admitted.  Bill is one of the guys we have gotten to know best.  He has been very open in sharing about the heartache of his upbringing and numerous family tragedies.  He is also open in confessing the wide range of sinful behavior he has been engaged in.  He is also honest that although he believes in God, he does not know Him as Savior. 

 

  

Yesterday, he called the shelter asking if we would come visit.  We somewhat reluctantly decided to go (we were tired, busy, etc.).  Once we arrived we started with small talk, trying to learn what was up.  But he quickly began to talk about his need to get his life straightened out.  We began to talk about what he would need to do to get right with God.  His mindset, coming from a rough upbringing without any Christian influences, was that he needed to do more good deeds for God to accept him.  We began to share the good news that God does not require our good deeds for salvation.  We need only to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice, ask for God’s forgiveness, and turn from our sins to follow Christ.  We shared some scriptures and talked for quite a while on the intricacies of the Gospel. 

 

 Suddenly the patient on the other side of the curtain, who appeared to have been watching TV the whole time, pulled back the curtain.  My immediate thought was, “this could be really good or really bad.”  It was really good.  By God’s providence (or is it just luck?), Bill’s roommate was a retired minister.  He told us that he had been listening in and that he had some things to say as well.  So he began to quite eloquently and powerfully enhance the message we’d been teaching. [At this point I began to feel like I was acting in some cheesy Christian movie in the type of scene that never really happens in real life.  But no, this was real life.  This was happening.] Then the man’s daughter-in-law, a pastor’s wife, arrived and chimed in as well.  Bill had a 4-person ministry team to help him understand the Gospel.

  

Throughout all this, Bill was soaking it up.  He asked questions, made comments, and repeated said, “I don’t know much about God but I know I need to follow Him.”  I tried a couple times to push him to make some sort of commitment, but at the same time I got the strong sense that he is on the path to salvation and that we need not rush him.  I got the sense that God was orchestrating all of this.  He is in control.  It was wonderful to pray together (the five of us) and then leave with the assurance that not only were we leaving Bill in God’s hands, but at least for the rest of the night, Bill and his roommate would have the opportunity to continue their discussion.  We also left him with a New Testament which we know is the mighty sword of the Spirit.  So although we did not see a definitive decision to follow Christ, I did not leave dejected but encouraged and hopeful.  I expect that God will continue to move in his life.  I look forward to seeing what comes about.  I look forward to seeing what role I might play.  I am amazed at what God has already done and how He chose to use us in Bill’s life.

 

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