I met a dear friend at the bus stop last week. We have been friends now for about 2 years and since I first met him we have had discussions about life, God and politics. My friend is in his 70s and has had a lot of hard things happen to him. Today his family doesn’t speak to him, and he is quite a lonely man. My friend doesn’t think I’m quite sane to believe in God, and we have had many discussions about that.
Last week, when I met him at the bus stop, I hardly recognised him. He was wearing sunglasses and his skin looked very different. But I nodded ‘hi’ to him, and he came up to have a chat. ‘I’m incognito today’ he starts with, referring to the sunglasses. So I asked him about his skin, which didn’t look as though it was well at all. He told me he has a rare, non-contagious skin disease which he is being treated with radiation for. His eyes are sensitive to the light – hence the glasses – and water constantly. And his skin is constantly in pain. He says it’s especially hard on his feet, which he’s sad about as he loves walking in the Lake District.
And then he says: ‘so next time you speak to the Almighty One, please would you mention me to Him?’ I’m blown away by this – this is clear progress! For the first time does he acknowledge that there may be a God and he is prepared to even ask for prayer. So I say: ‘of course! Let me pray for you here and now!’ which he agrees to, so I start to pray for him there in the bus queue.
I kept thinking: ‘wow, God! What an opportunity for you to really show yourself to this man and all the people around us by healing him!’ But nothing happens. So we continue to talk, and we start talking about how God, if he really does exist, must be way bigger than we can ever comprehend. And my friend goes on to discuss how he doesn’t see why such an Almighty creature would want anything to do with us humans. I try to explain about how God loves him and how he wants relationship with him. We get on the bus, and continue the conversation until our bus stop.
I’ve been praying all week for healing for my friend and for God to reveal his incredible love to this man. And I’ve been hoping that God would heal him by the time I next saw him. So then I saw him again yesterday; this time he was already on the bus when I got on – so I went to sit next to him, and we ended up in another conversation. He hadn’t been healed, which I was very disappointed about. But we end up having a good conversation again.
Sometimes I wonder why God doesn’t take the chances he gets to reveal himself to people. There I was, willing to pray for this man at the bus stop, and what does God – the Almighty One – do? Nothing. Sometimes God doesn’t act according to our agenda, and it is disappointing. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that God loves my friend so incredibly much and His deepest desire for my friend is that he would come to know Him. So I will continue to pray for him, and to share God’s love for him with him. Would you join me in praying for my friend to get to know the living God – the God that loves him so very much?