Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Encounter with Justice

One of many lessons for today: Be careful what you pray for.

I bowed my head and thanked the Lord for the strength to haul myself out of bed much earlier than usual this morning, and for the special treat of a carmello latte and an hour to study the Word at a local coffee shop before work. I even echoed the declaration suggested in a sermon I heard several weeks ago: "Today will not be about me." I considered it more of a statement than a prayer, really, but God, in His gentleness and humor, would answer nonetheless. I had not gotten more than a few questions into the chapter I was working on when the young man a few tables away, with a cup of cofffee and Bible of his own, decided to strike up a conversation. He asked my name, and introduced himself as Justice.

An hour later I was doing my best to politely wrap things up, having learned of his family and childhood in Memphis, his job as a dorm father, his living situation, his education, his church and ministry involvement, his work history, his endeaver in the narrow genre of Christian science fiction, his favor for the dramatized gospel of Matthew, and his views on reformed theology, among other things. After I got to work, I had to chide myself for my hypocracy--I, who frequently tell of my love for coffee shops and their virtue as a community meeting place, a forum for discussion and conversation with complete strangers, had been annoyed when this man--this brother in Christ even--infringed on my space and time.

Lord, forgive me for being so possessive of those moments this morning, and for so quickly recanting my earlier declaration. Indeed, this day is not about me--thank you for the clear, almost ironic reminder. I don't know if you used me in any way to touch Justice today, but I thank you that he allowed You to use him.