We stood outside. Taking pictures with our cell phones before we went in to eat at the busy restaurant. Out of the corner of our eyes, we saw him. Long, scruffy looking beard. Hat on and carrying some plastic bags. Talking to random people in the parking lot. We assumed he just wanted money. We headed on inside. Pshh..none of us had any extra money..
Then, I looked out of the glass door and saw what he had in his hand. He was selling handmade crosses. Immediately I stood up and said: “I have to go out there. I have to take him this money and buy a cross.”
There’s more to it than that..
About 2 years earlier, my husband met a man who wandered around making these same crosses. He met him at our local flea market. He sat down, struck up a conversation with this man and heard a man witness about Jesus.
So, I just thought that maybe this was the same man. Had to be. So, that is what drew me to him. Or, I should say..That is what GOD used to draw me to him.
I walked straight up to him. Looked him in the eye and told him that I wanted to buy one of his crosses. He looked at me, kind of shocked and said: “Well, ok..if you want one then I’m gonna make you one.”
We sat down opposite of each other on these concrete benches. We began what turned into a 20-30 minute conversation. He shared some about himself. I asked him where he was from. He shared about his family, a momma that had just died. He said: “Mommy died.” I didn’t make him tell me these things. He just needed someone to talk to.
I was still curious as to if he was the same man who my husband had met. He had to be. So I asked him if he had worked the flea market. His reply: “No, there’s no money there.”
Okay…. Alright God, evidently You made me come out here to talk to this man. AND, You made me feel comfortable first! Wow.
So, the rest of the crew had joined me by now. They listened as we talked. There were lots of people sitting outside. I’m sure they were watching and listening. Honestly, I didn’t even notice anyone else. For those few minutes, it was just us and that lonely man..talking. Talking about God, this man’s life, and some more about God. I asked him if he had a relationship with Jesus. He said he was saved at age 11. I believe him.
I asked him to tell me the story behind the crosses. He shared a little, and then said that he already knew that I was a believer. He asked me if I knew how he knew..to which I just looked in his eyes and said..“well, it’s like with you..I looked in your eyes..they told your story and then I saw it in your actions..” he just shook his head “YES”.
I offered him my Bible..I had one in the car. No matter how many times I offered, he refused it. He said he couldn’t see it good..he needed reading glasses. I offered to get him some from Dollar Tree.. he said that he had plenty of money.. See, this man was NOT asking for money.
Man, CONVICTED. As soon as we walked inside earlier, God had convicted me of turning away & I praise HIM for the fact that HE made me go back outside and seek this man. This man who could have been dangerous. We didn’t know. We were doing what most women SHOULD do when they are alone. Avoiding possible danger. BUT, see..God convicted me and then, God used something that would make me feel safe to get me back out there. He used a cross made of palms and cedar…A symbol of HIMSELF. HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD??!!
When he finished with the cross,I asked him if I could pray with and for him. He just smiled and said: “SURE, as long as you let me pray for you when you get done.” Talk about blessed! I began to pray, the kids there with us..and he said, “HANDS! Hands!” So, we all sat there, holding hands with this man and praying. I prayed and then he prayed. People all around. Maybe, just maybe..more than one life was changed that night.
We learned to never judge a book by its rough draft or cover. We received the blessings from being obedient and just getting up and going when God says to GO!
Was that man put there that night for us to learn from him? Were we put there that night to be a blessing to our new friend? Were we (myself, and those with me and our new friend) put there that night to be a witness to those that were watching? Because, trust me..they HAD to be looking and listening..and wondering if I was completely nuts. 🙂
I honestly don’t know the answer. I’m okay with that.I left that place a better person for having met Butch.
He just so happened to wait for us to eat so that he could tell me another piece of info about the moment that he got saved. He said that when he went down to that altar, that his “Mommy” screamed so loud. He said that he had never heard her scream..because his Daddy wouldn’t allow it. We told him goodbye..He asked us to keep praying for him. He wanted to stay on the right track. I promised him that I would hang that cross in my house and pray for him by name every time I saw it. He was completely shocked that I remembered his name. For those of you who know me well..you are probably shocked too! 🙂
All I know for sure is that God used something that he knew would make me feel safe and HE got my behind up and out of that door. I may never know the why..but I do know that all of us were impacted by it. Just remember that when you obey God and just GO, there will be blessings for all involved.
He said that the Bible was in his heart. I still pray he gets a copy that will fit in his pocket so he can pull it out and just soak in God’s Word. Here is the one verse that Butch quoted for me..
Isaiah 1:18 ~ “Come now let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
P.S. I know for a fact that he wasn’t the same man.. I took video of part of our conversation so that I could share it with my husband later..He confirmed that it was NOT the same man. 🙂
The cross on the left is the one that our new friend made.. The cross on the right is the one that Spencer brought home from his new friend..