I was disappointed and confused after suffering an injury that not only splintered my back but shattered a dream that seemed to be the Lord’s will for my life. As a result, I wrestled with God’s will and questioned His sovereignty. But duty called and it was time to go to work. I would continue my conversation with God at a later time – or so I thought.
Grabbing my crutches and my backpack, I hobbled to my classroom on the university campus where I teach. As I approached my classroom building, crutching as fast as I could, I noticed a man approaching me. He looked young enough to be a college student. He had sandy blond hair, glasses, braces on his teeth, a backpack strapped predictably, and a hipster kind of combination of pants, shirt, and shoes.
Perhaps he noticed I was in a hurry and will help me carry my bags, so I thought. To my surprise he didn’t ask me for anything. Instead, he asked if I was OK. I said something like “As good as can be expected.” He then asked if he could pray for me. While tempted to blow him off as some kind of religious fanatic, I said “Yes! I will gladly receive your prayer.” And pray he did! In the name of Jesus he prayed for my physical healing.
Shortly after his “Amen,” I asked for his name. “Moses,” he said. As I crutched away it hit me: Moses is “my story” with the Lord. For several months I had been journeying through the story of Moses. During my journey the Lord had taught me so much about my life, my health, my calling, my faith.
Now, as I look back, having experienced the wonderful gift of physical healing, I wonder: what 20-something hipster is named “Moses”? Well, I know of but one – a person I have never seen again. As I reflect on that encounter I have concluded that “my” Moses was a prophet sent from God with a word from the Lord at a moment in my spiritual journey when I needed but one thing: a word from the Lord.
This story is shared with permission from the one who shared it with me. It reminded me of a similar moment in my life when a most unlikely person (a person who appeared to be homeless) broke into my life with a word from the Lord. Perhaps it reminds you of a similar moment when, at just the right time, the Lord broke into your life and gave you a word of life from a most unexpected person.
Based on my experience and that of others, I am wondering if the prophet is still in our midst. I am not referring to the preacher who speaks the Word of God each week. Nor am I referring to the one in the congregation who has been granted the gift of prophecy by the Holy Spirit. I am referring to the person God sends into our lives if but for one moment who speaks life into our lives, the person we meet on the street or in the store or on the sidewalk with whom we have little in common, the person who asks for nothing from us and offers but a word or two in the name of Jesus Christ.
The possibility of a prophet in our midst does more than cultivate an attitude of grace towards strangers. It does more than slow my life down for fear that I will pass the prophet by as he or she waits to speak to me. It assures me of that great promise from the Lord: “I will never leave you or forsake you. Even while you walk through the valley, I will be with you – I will comfort you.”