Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Speak Lord; may I be listening

31 de mayo, 2014

David oro: Todas estas grandezas has hecho por tu palabra y conformed a tu corazon. 2 Samuel 7, 21

Y muchos, oyendo a Jesus, se admiraban, y decian: De donde tiene este estas cosas? Y que sabidurdia es esta que le es dada, y estos milagros que por sus manos son hechos? Marcos 6, 2

One of the confidence-building exercises in Do What Jesus Did is called "Treasure Hunt," in which the participants pray before stepping out, asking God for some specific details about those whom God has prepared for them to serve and encourage in prayer. We gave it a shot today. Nicole was told to look for someone wearing a top hat who has back problems, while mine seemed to be the more mundane "red shirt." Difficult as it may seem to believe, people in Istanbul simply do not wear top hats, at least in sultry summer days around the ancient wonders of Haga Sophia and the cisterns built by Emperor Justine during the fifth century. But we set off for an entire day of wandering.

It was pretty much a tourist checklist day, starting with a Turkish breakfast of olives, cheese, meats, eggs, jam and bread, leading into long lines, shoving crowds, admiring more beautiful rugs and jewelry than I could wrap my brain around, and traversing dripping underground brick-domed caverns held up by leftover columns from all over the Roman Empire.

Eventually I hit some invisible but rock-hard wall; I was done. We headed off to find some beautiful brightly-colored picturesqueness that deniz (which is a crazy popular name in Turkey, meaning water) and Nicole had discovered on some running tour through the streets. As we tried to slide unnoticed past the rows of restaurants which had the ubiquitous welcomers out front, creatively trying to woo passersby into enjoying a little refreshment at their place, we saw him. The guy with the top hat. Absolutely no doubts about this one, and he certainly was not difficult to engage in conversation; it was his job to chat up obvious tourists such as ourselves.

And Nicole had a word picture for him: he was on a train, on a long journey, but he got off early, at an unplanned stop, before he arrived to his destination, his destiny. And God wanted him to be encouraged; this wasn't the end of the way, it wasn't over.

And the guy in the top hat looked startled, "What are you, a psychic? Can I buy you some tea? Please come over here and sit. I want to talk to you. He had ridden the trains for eight years, busy and productive years, as a photographer. Then one afternoon, he got off the train in a small village, d it was all over. He was hustling people pushing down the sidewalk, with a top hat. He spoke with longing about the joys of snatching moments with a camera, almost stealing them, before they disappeared.

Then Nicole asked if his back hurt. "I broke my back in two and that is when all this shit happened." He was still working the busy lunchtime crowd, and the conversation about following Jesus was broken up into chunks like so many loaves wrapped up in blue towels, with no clear resolution, but it was clearly His word and His heart speaking to this man.

And then there was the man on the beach with red shoes and a red shirt. And we spoke with him about his heart for God and he really really tries to please Him and pray five times a day, but sometimes he doesn't, and he did Ramadan for three years, but not last year because he has stomach problems and needs to eat small meals throughout the day, and, well, sometimes, sometimes he drinks a little alcohol. But he has a heart for God. And we spoke of God's great love shown to us through Jesus, and that it is not what we do that causes God to love us, but because of who He is. And he said an Indian man and an African man tried to explain Jesus to him but he didn't quite understand, and would we please come over to his restaurant and speak of Him? 

And we did not. Somehow it felt awkward to follow this man across the highway although clearly he was kind and gentle and lost. And now it is clear that this fear was not from God. Fear is never from the LORD God who is seeking to save the lost. I pray that in the future this regret will fill me with a humble courage to boldly proclaim the name of Jesus.

And the day stepped forward. Into more questions and more prayers and more stories of Jesus. How to do what Jesus did? And surely he ate fish and bread by the side of the road. And blessed a man's cafe because life is hard work and sometimes we are anxious. And sat with a beautiful friend long into the night and talked about life. Perhaps He would have played Spades in a cafe until three in the morning?

I am a Christ-bearer wherever I go and whatever I do.

May I be filled with the wisdom from above.

May He be glorified.