I share the following story for two reasons.
One, I feel I must share God’s word that Hannah will survive in an open way to testify to a healing, compassionate God who works miracles. This is an act of trust, especially that those who read this and desire to believe in God do not get their hopes up only to have that fragile hope crushed by a different outcome. I’m very sensitive to this concern, and only very rarely take this step as a result.
And two, this open sharing is in the tradition of Scriptural authors who had an experience with God, and responded by openly and publicly calling on God to complete the work he promised. They told God his good name was on the line, and this is my way of acting in that tradition.
It had been an up-and-down day at work today. We weren’t particularly busy, and I was hoping for a little more to hit a financial goal that I’ve set. I was scheduled to work until 4, and two tables came in just before my shift ended. The first came at 3:35, and the second came at 3:45. Both tables had people that I would consider “characters;” louder, engaging people.
The second table had been eating for a bit when I greeted the second table. It was an African-American couple. I mentioned my name and that I would be “taking care of them.” The man (with a striking resemblance to Al Sharpton) laughed and said “Where I come from, ‘taking care of us’ means you’ll be paying for our bill!” We both laughed again and bantered a bit about Cracker Barrel’s food. He got our “country green beans” as a side and asked if that meant he needed to go out in the country to get them. I said yes, that it was our way of getting people to burn calories before they consumed some, and we both laughed again. I share these details to highlight that we talked a bit, but not about anything significant…nothing to do with our lives.
After I delivered their food, the two tables began to talk to one another. I retreated to the kitchen to get end-of-the-shift things done, and only stopped by twice to drop some things off at the table.
In one visit, the African-American man was talking to the other table and said, “Sure as rain, you’ll be going to Ireland soon!” The way he shared it was somewhat cryptic, like he was “prophesying” that the man would go.
The man at the other table said, “I won’t be traveling there any time soon! I don’t fly on planes, sorry.”
He responded, “Well, it’s going to happen.”
As I walked away from hearing that exchange, I inwardly groaned a bit and thought, “This guy sounds like one of those kinds of charismatics who tells people what “God” is telling them and it’s just used like a weapon to put people under their authority as a “spiritual” person or something.” What he was sharing just seemed…off. I typecast him as a religious quack. But I shrugged it off and focused on finishing up my work.
I returned to the table to drop off the check, and the man shook my hand…and proceeded to rock my world.
He looked at me intently.
“You’re worried about a baby,” he said.
“Yes,” I replied, instantly floored.
“You’re at work but it irks you to be here because of the baby. It eats you up inside to be away, doesn’t it?”
“I see a blond-haired woman, your wife? I just want you to know that God is saying that your baby is going to be just fine.”
Me: stunned silence.
“You’re in school, aren’t you? You’ll be finishing school soon. And you’ll be moving into a new residence too. Things are about to come together for you.” (I’m in school at Xavier, and Bethany and I have been very serious about buying a house very soon, so these details were further confirmations of something special here).
Reeling, I simply said, “Thank you,” and walked back to the break room. I immediately called Bethany’s cellphone. She didn’t answer. I then called her hospital room phone. She didn’t answer. I called her cellphone again, desperate to process with her what I had just heard. She didn’t answer.
I hung up the phone and felt an impression to try to track down the couple before they left and express my thanks for his courage to say what he said. I caught up to them on the front porch.
I expressed my thanks to the man, and asked
“Do you have the gift of discernment?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“I love seeing people operating in their gifts,” I said. “I just want you to know that what you shared was exactly relevant to what we’re going through.”
He proceeded to rock my world further in response.
“Your wife, she had trouble with bleeding? Your baby, I’m seeing tubes. I don’t think those tubes will be on her long, if at all.”
I asked him his name, he gave me his business card from his church, and finished with a bang, saying, “Tell your wife she doesn’t need to cry. Everything will be fine. And tell her to put her feet up.”
I think I mumbled some form of “Thanks” and walked away, immediately back to the break room, and called Bethany.
“You have no idea what just happened to me,” I said, and proceeded to tell the story of my last twenty minutes. I heard her begin to cry on the other end of the line as I told the story, and she said, “I didn’t answer the phone before because I was in my bathroom crying. I just felt like I didn’t have the energy to keep going, and I went in the bathroom so the nurses wouldn’t see.” So as this man told me to tell Bethany not to cry, she was crying across town.
Astonishing! My brain exploded on site, and continues to be overwhelmed by the power of this experience. The chances of even one of the details of our story being identified by this man would be very, very slim. The sheer accuracy of the scope of all he shared with us means that outside of divine intervention, the chances of the things he said being accurate were 0%. I’ve only experienced this two other times in my life; one of those coincidentally also being at a Cracker Barrel in Staunton, Va.
God sees us, God hears us, and God is faithful to respond in powerful ways when we seek Him.
For the sake of my integrity and God’s, I have not made up one single word of this story, either to embellish it or to make it say something that did not happen.
*I will be adding to this story over the course of the day today, Thursday, September 8th as I recall details, but will cease after today*