By now you think I’d be used to God taking disruptions in my day and turning them into divine exciting encounters. Whether it’s meeting a wise-cracking grandmother at a pizza fundraiser, or an impromptu late night (and later life changing) conversation, God seems to use those times I don’t expect and people I didn’t plan on to wipe away any pre-conceived notions. Again and again.
Where I live now has the busiest CarMax in the region, so there is always a wait time to buy or sell/appraise a vehicle. I had already been to CarMax once, viewing the lot, talking to the sales woman, credit checks, etc. I decided not to buy a vehicle I couldn’t afford (Financial Peace University has schooled me into being leery of car payments and the chains of added debt), but still wanted to get my current lemon appraised.
Thinking ahead, I had made an appointment so I could be seen right away. Due to some miscommunication, that “appointment” was rendered nil. So, now I’m stuck with the car salesman Tony for a solid 45 minutes and we have no car-related activities to take care of. Plus, he is a quiet, reticent man – not someone you would peg for a salesman. I’ll admit, my second thought after being irritated about the appointment was “this will be boring.”
I was so wrong (should I be concerned that most of these posts have that statement in there somewhere?? Thank God for grace!).
When we went to sit down, Tony had to pull over a different chair because he said he had problems with his lower back. A couple I know as the “Merry Magels” call that a “target” – meaning someone has a health issue, and we know a God and a Savior who can fix those right away! So now I’m seeking a way to bring Jesus into this. Not fully engrossed yet, but at least engaged in the conversation.
Then as we’re casually chatting, Tony drops that he used to be a minister. Say what? I start asking him about that, and his studies – and the man came alive! Turns out he studied the Greek language and learned under some of the top Johnannine scholars today (relating to the gospel of John).
He was absolutely fascinating and passionate. He talked about the radicalness of Jesus, the importance of understanding the context of the culture when reading the Bible, and what got him started on the path to know Jesus in the first place.
Tony was a questioning young man, and at college-age he saw all these different religions and sects and wasn’t sure what was what. So he realized that at a bank, tellers don’t study counterfeit money so they can spot it out. They are so familiar with the real thing from working with it over and over, that the counterfeit stands out easily.
So Tony decided he wanted to know Jesus so well that that would be his litmus test for any other doctrine or denomination. Wow.
Before I left, I asked if I could pray with him. Right in the middle of the busy CarMax floor, I lifted opportunities for Tony to share and teach, which he obviously had a passion for, and spoke directly to his back and the muscles there. That God through the power and name of Jesus Christ would remove the pain, release muscle tension and bring his spine back in alignment.
The appraisal of my car was a bust that day (CarMax basically gave a pity figure), but the boost in my faith was worth it. Thanks Tony for being willing to share with me, and thanks God for being willing to open doors of interaction and prayer even when I’m whining!