Last Tuesday, while waiting for El' train at the Jackson stop, I reached in my bag to pull out my book. But something in my gut stopped me and said, "Get out your Bible instead." Now any smart, God-fearing woman would get out her Bible, because clearly God had something to say. But not me. I'm stubborn, so I told God, "You know I do my reading time in the morning. After work, is my time to read a little fiction and unwind." Though my prideful statement was deserving of a good smoting at that moment, the lighting strike never came down into that tunnel. Instead an inner prompting quietly said again, "Get out your Bible." Ok, Ok, there were a few things I wanted to read through anyway... Begrudgingly, I reached for my Bible and turned to Galatians.
As soon as I opened the pages, a train arrived and I quickly boarded so I could find that coveted seat in the midst of what would soon be a rush hour cattle car...especially because it was a Cubs game night. I hate evening cubs games for this reason. The trains are usually packed enough during rush hour...add all of the cubs fans and it's a full hour of madness, but I digress. So I got a seat and decided to read Galatians.
I made it as far as the Galatians 1:1 and some guy turned around and had the nerve to interrupt my reading and ask where he needed to get off for the cubs stadium. Initially I had quite the Christian response, and thought to myself, "You idiot, just get off where the other thousand people wearing blue shirts get off." Good thing the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was holding a Bible and that I would not be acting as the best ambassador for Christ if I said that. So I took a breath and kindly told him where to get off and how many more stops and went back to my reading. A few seconds later, he looked at what I was reading and said "good book." I readily agreed and the best conversation started.
He explained to me that he was in town from Orlando. He then went on to share with me his testimony of how he came back to the church a few years earlier after returning home from the war in Iraq. He had essentially made a deal with God, that if He got him through the war safely, he would go back to church. Well, God did get him and his men home safely, but he did not hold up his end of the deal. Months after returning home, he still hadn't gone to church. Then one day, four completely unrelated people invited him to church. He said that really got his attention so that Sunday, he went to church. God got a hold of him that Sunday and he has been serving Christ ever since.
We talked a lot about what God was doing in our lives...and though I didn't know this guy at all, I found myself sharing with him about Isaiah's death and my struggle with hope and joy ever since. He actually said that his pastor's daughter had just been though the same thing and he asked how I was doing and was incredibly encouraging.
He told me how meeting him on the El' was such an encouragement to him and I readily agreed. As the Addison stop approached, he stood up to exit the train and turned back and said he would be praying for me and left.
Seriously, it was such an uplifting conversation and just what I needed after the tumultuous weeks I had just been through. It was amazing to think that had I not gotten out my Bible, this conversation would never have happened. Good thing, the stubborn girl in me lost to the obedient one that afternoon.
I know he was just a man from Orlando, but to me, he was an angel on the El'. See, CTA isn't always so bad :-)