Friday, August 23, 2013

Parking at Panera

So last night after work I really needed a nap but I know if I go home and take one I'll never get up and go to coffee with my friend at Panera bread. I decide to stay out and go straight to the coffee place. We meet a little earlier and plan to leave a little earlier so I can get to bed early.

We talk and he tells me about the healing seminar in Pittsburgh and how it went. It is a refreshing fellowship time. We head out the door a little earlier than usual. I am exhausted now and we keep talking I little as we stand by our cars.

This muscle car with Metallica blaring pulls up near us. It is half blocking the road and shining the headlights right on us. Then it sits there for a while. Then the muscle car backs into a space and a guy in a muscle shirt get outs and starts smoking with the radio still blaring. The music matched with the big car has an almost intimidating quality. A lady also gets out and goes into the Panera bread.

A part of my tired brain is starting to get annoyed:
- Headlights in my eyes
- Loud music alternating Metallica and violent rap music so we have to strain to hear each other
- Discourteous driving that is blocking the road for no apparent reason

I'm not really annoyed but it was starting to get under my skin a little. We exchange prayer request and get into our cars.

My friend starts his car and backs out of his space. We have this thing where we are mindful of each other to make sure that the other person's car starts before leaving. It is an unspoken courtesy... almost a parting gesture of love and respect.

I start my car but quickly turn it off again so my friend lingers.

The next part is hard to explain. It's not like God tells me in audible way but something about the people in the muscle car draws me.

I am so tired I'm not communicating well but I get out of my car and open the back door and look for the tracts I keep in the back door pocket. We cleaned the car recently so no tracts. I pop the truck and look... only Spanish tracts and Christmas tracts.

Now my friend is concerned. 'Are you alright.' He says. 'Do you have any tracts?' I say.
'Only these Grace Hour tracts. Why?'. He says.
'I want to talk to the people in the car.'
He pulls back into his space. I find a biker tract in my truck after a little rummaging.

By now the music has stopped and the man goes into the Panera bread also.

I just wait. 'Do you want me to stay with you.' says my friend.
'Sure. If you want to.'

The guy comes out with the girl. I approach with the tract. I say something like 'Hey, I hope you have minute. Your music made me think about what we were talking about inside... God is so loud, all around us, but most people can't His voice. Strange isn't it?' My hand extended with a piece of paper in it.

They are the most open people you could ever hope to talk to. We spent an hour in that parking lot. Maybe more. We talked about Jesus, Grace, Church and past histories with religion. The Gospel was presented a few different ways. We all conclude that the issue boils down to Jesus. We all need Jesus and to know God's love. At the end we prayed together in a circle at the girl's request.

The biker tract didn't have the Church information and they want directions to the Church so I went back to my car and popped the truck again and grabbed a Christmas tract. 'Merry Christmas.', I said 'These are all I have that have the Church address on them.' The girl smiled and took it and said, 'Merry Christmas!'

It turns out the guy hurt his shoulder so the girl is struggling to drive the big, hard to handle, car. The 'poor' driving wasn't oblivious discourtesy... it was just people struggling to survive life as best they can.

To my surprise they both proceeded to hug us before we left. My friend and I just looked at each other and marveled at how good God Is as we got back into our cars.

Yes. God is so loud... but can we hear His voice?

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