Last night my son, Trey, and I attended the Judas Priest/Deep Purple concert in Kansas City, which is about 2 ½ hours away. We were really excited about the show, and found it hard to sit still before it started, so we walked around, bought some water and a couple of t-shirts, and then started looking for the bathrooms. Not finding them, I noticed a worker close-by.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where the restrooms are?” I asked.
She stopped, turned around slowly and pointed. “You see those blue lights up ahead there? Those are the restrooms, honey.”
She appeared to be a really sweet lady, African American, maybe in her early 60s or so. I then noticed she could barely walk, and was stiff as a board.
“Ma’am, I don’t mean to pry, but do you have back pain? I’m just asking because I do too, and you look like you’re hurting.”
“Oh honey, it’s bad. BAD. I’m having an MRI done tomorrow.”
“Wow, I’m so sorry,” I replied. “We’ll pray for you.”
“Thank you,” she answered. “I appreciate it.”
Suddenly a thought hit me plain as day: pray for her now.
A few years ago, or even a few MONTHS ago, I would’ve resisted the thought and been content to pray for her “tomorrow.” But ya see, I’ve got this thing I promised God recently:
“People are hurting, Lord. Some are choosing to kill themselves rather than talk about their weaknesses and pain. If there’s anything I can do to help those people, God, I’ll do it. If all the chronic pain and depression I’ve survived can somehow encourage them, then USE me, Lord.”
With the new attitude in mind, I said, “What’s your name, ma’am?”
She tried to force a smile, through the agony, and replied, “Genevieve.”
“Well, I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but would it OK if my son and I pray for you right now?”
There was silence for a second. I could tell what she was thinking: “I’m at work, I don’t know if I should or not.” Throwing caution to the wind, she finally said, “Absolutely. Let’s do it.”
So Trey and I stepped in a little closer, gingerly placed our hands on her and began to pray, right there, in the midst of a sea of black concert t-shirts and beer. We felt the Spirit move, and it was just a cool little 5-minute moment, right there in the concert hall, surrounded by heavy metal fans of all ages, shapes, sizes and races.
That’s weird, right?
Well, maybe not. The way I figure it, God is everywhere, even at a Judas Priest concert.
“God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13).”
I think what pleased God at that moment is for Trey, Genevieve and me to have a “God moment” right there in the middle of a rock concert. Is that so hard to believe? Is it so difficult to grasp that the Lord knew sweet Genevieve needed a touch at that moment, and the Lord met here RIGHT WHERE SHE WAS?
Yeah, I guess for some it is hard to believe.
I recall once when I was a young man, working as an evening custodian (which is, funnily enough, what Trey does now). I was so miserable, so broke, in so much pain and so depressed, I fell to the floor right there in a lonely, five-story warehouse, me being the only one in the entire building, and just cried like a wounded child.
Perhaps a couple of minutes later, though, I heard an instrumental version of a song we used to sing a lot in my home church:
“And Jesus said,
‘Come to the water, stand by my side
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied
I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you cried
And I strove to remind you,
It’s for those tears I died’”
(“For Those Tears I Died (Come To The Water)” Marsha Stevens ©1969)
Odd, I had never heard music piped through those speakers. I didn’t think they even worked, but here I was, crying, and the Lord spoke through an old song to tell me, “Rob, it’s for your tears I died.”
At that moment, Jesus didn’t ask me to come to church to find the answer. He found me right where I was, lying there on the floor, soaked in my own tears.
He met sweet Genevieve right where she was: in the middle of a heavy metal concert in Kansas City, just trying her best to not give up. She was simply doing what she had to do to make a living for her family, despite the fact that she could barely walk, working right up to the day she was having a procedure to determine whether she is a candidate for back surgery. The Lord used Trey and me as vessels to remind her she wasn’t alone.
Humbling and awesome all at once, ya know?
God meets you right where you are, and right when you need Him the most. As the old saying goes, “You don’t have to get cleaned up to take a bath.”
“God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.
“Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.
“When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. (Psalm 34:4-6)”
Blessings, my friend. Prayin’ for ya!