Thursday, December 9, 2010

God's Best Wear White Sunglasses and Carry Bibles

I want to share this story of God's purpose and his presence that happened to me yesterday. It was an amazing manifestation of his Grace, Power and Love.

As many of you know and my thanks to all who have been praying dutifully for him, my father-in-law Hugh Brechtel (they weren't included in the divorce) got the terrible news late last week that he had a brain tumor. Tuesday morning he collapsed at home in Sequim and was rushed to the hospital in Port Angeles. They transferred him immediately to Swedish Hospital in Seattle for testing and possible surgery. He was scheduled for later in the week but yesterday early in the morning, they decided to do surgery at 10:00 AM.

I was on the ferry yesterday trying to get focused on work crossing from Kingston to Edmonds.  I was heading to the Food Galley to get some coffee hopeful it could clear the cobb webs lingering from my fitful nights sleep.  I was approaching a young man,  perhaps in his late twenties dressed in dark navy blue athletic sweats and wearing these awful all-white sunglasses... the first thought that came to my mind was "man I must be getting old, I would never wear those 'gay-boy' sunglasses". . . . then a voice and thought followed almost instantly "Judge not lest ye be judged" and I quickly admonished myself and asked forgiveness for my first impression as not being a very Christian thing to think about someone I know nothing about. In the first place I told myself, I should not judge anyone. In the second place, if he were Gay;  I should Love him as though he were my own brother, regardless of orientation.  As I got closer and passed him he took off his sunglasses and our eyes met for a second as he sat down preparing to read his Bible he had just laid down on the tabletop. A Bible? Oh, he's a believer. God just put a bold exclamation point for me on his scripture verse "Judge not lest ye be Judged"!

I continued on to the Galley for my coffee without giving it much more thought and sat down checking my watch and considering the fact that my father-in-law Hugh was in surgery at Swedish Hospital for a brain tumor at that moment. I was thinking about all the prayer I had given up and asked others for, and knew that God was in control, yet I was suddenly overcome with fear and dread for Hugh and family. The fact that I had devoted much prayer and also knowing that many were with me in prayer for Hugh and family was of no momentary comfort. Doubts and  fears of the unknown were chipping away at my faith.  Overcome by this angst I put my head into my hands for a minute and started to pray for reassurance, and fortification. I just felt so alone and empty and so too was my effort at prayer reflected similarly; it was empty and impotent. With my head still in my hands I asked for God to help me through my fears for Hugh and help me find some strength to help him, my ex-wife Marti, and Mom. Then, and I can't describe it fully... but a voice, and thought came to me. The verse just popped into my consciousness, like a light in the darkness guiding me through my doubt and despair as it came to me: For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. Matthew 18:20. I didn't even know at the time the chapter and verse. (I am terrible at remembering that stuff) Yet here was this verse, flashing before me like Christmas lights.  Just as suddenly my thoughts were broken by the crackle of the Ferry PA system announcing our imminent arrival to Edmonds and asking for our return to our vehicles.  This interrupted and ended my feeble effort for prayer.  Walking back to my vehicle I was again passing by that young man with the White Sunglasses and Bible. But then, I just stopped. Right then. Right there. I said to the young man that I had noticed his Bible and asked him if he was a believer? YES I AM! He said with unabashed gusto and pride. He told me his name was Aaron. I told him mine and that I too was a believer. Then I told him (as I struggled to check my emotions) about my father-in-law that was in Surgery for a brain tumor at this very moment. I told him this would seem an odd thing to ask of him,  but would he pray with me for Hugh as a brother in Christ? Of course! Aaron said, and he invited me to sit. We reached hands across the table. Aaron asked me to open and he would close. What a sight I imagine this was with busy people, and their busy lives,  rushing past us to get to their cars while two grown men,  oblivious to the world around them were connected and locked in fervent prayer. Two men who were complete strangers but a minute before. Two men that Love God. Two men brought together by an open Bible on a table. We prayed in earnest for God's comfort for Hugh, my ex-wife Marti, and my Mom-in-Law. I prayed for the tumor to be benign and to heal Hugh according to His will. We were too busy to worry about secular discomfort around us by our public display of our faith. I was a believer in need and he was a believer answering my call for help. I remember the eloquence and beauty of Aaron's Prayer especially one part with him  asking .....(as close to verbatim as I can recall)......

Lord: ' though the surgeons may not be followers of you, help them and guide their hands for your purpose using them as your instruments for Hugh's healing'. At the moment he said that, I had a peace and comfort of assurance that all would be well and that God would take care of Hugh and family. It is my hope that if anyone saw the event, rather than a negative reaction to it, I hope it brought positive witness to them in the spontaneous power of love, faith and the fellowship of Christ.

Aaron and I spoke briefly following our prayer and he told me a little bit about himself. He lives in Kingston. He is serving his country as a civilian contractor Physical Training instructor working for the U.S. Navy. He was traveling on the way to work in Everett when our paths crossed. He is engaged to be married and I congratulated him and extend the same to his lucky fiancé. He is a member of New Life Church, in Kitsap county and is a fine young man with an amazing heart, faith and wisdom beyond his years. Aaron gave me his phone number and asked me to let him know how things turned out with Hugh. Aaron was also the first person at the top of my text list when I left the Hospital several hours later after visiting a joking and joyful Hugh telling everyone the wonderful news of success with this glorious text!

Surgery was a big success, he should be fine, nearly certain tumor was benign, TY ALL FOR PRAYERS- God is Awesome!

Aarons text reply: Praise God! He IS awesome! So good to hear mike! Thanks for letting me know.

Our prayers lasted for only a minute, but I felt so much better sharing that prayer with another.  I felt the comfort of God and his Love manifest through a complete stranger named Aaron who God used to help lift me up, and help to heal Hugh. Aaron is not a stranger and he really never was; he is my brother in Christ. God directed me to him and placed him there in that time and place for his purpose. I know God worked through him in but a few minutes to teach me a lifetime lesson about earthly judgment, to bring faith to overcome my fears, and to bring healing and comfort to Hugh, Marti and those I Love. Meeting Aaron was a test for my commitment to God. I am so grateful for Aaron's blessing and to God for bringing me this new friend and giving me this Testament of God's Love and purpose through faith.

For me, this is the REASON for the Season. I just received the greatest Christmas gift I could hope and pray for; Hugh's successful surgery and the start of his complete and full healing. That is what Christmas is about. The Family. The Love. The gift. Mankind living and giving to others selflessly as Jesus would want us to do. Merry Christmas to Aaron and everyone. God Bless.
Update: 12/10/10 Hugh and Marti- Only a Day after successful major Brain Surgery. Looking good, and God is Great!

I would and could write more, but I have to go now. Besides, I can't see through these bleary eyes any longer as I write this. It must be my monitor is too bright and I need to go find and buy some really cool White Sunglasses. I think they probably have some at Big 5 Sporting Goods.  I am going to wear them proudly for God and to honor my new found friend,  Aaron.

Michael R. Bednarz