What happened?! You were stabbed?!
Most Friday mornings Stan and I go to the train station to preach the gospel. Actually, one of us preaches on one side of the track to the Manhattan-bound travelers waiting for the train, and the other one tries to smile at each traveler as they near the top of the 49-step ascent to the platform. A smile, a “Good morning” and an offer of a gospel tract sometimes receives a smile in return, sometimes gets rejected, but is always worth doing in the name of Jesus.
We have about a five minute window to preach before the northbound or southbound train comes through. Last Friday morning my short five-minute message began with “Good morning to my friends across the track, my name is Rich, and I want to tell you this morning that You are called to have life to the full, to live completely free, and to be filled with joy.” This was the day after the 4th of July, so I mentioned the “we hold these truths to be self-evident” statement that outlines our “inalienable rights” and then talked about the Kingdom of God that calls us to deeper life, gives us freedom to serve, and provides fullness of joy.
After my second message, the northbound train pulled up to the platform. I moved back and talked with God a little: “Thank you, Father, for giving me the chance to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. I was made for this.”
A man staggered off the train holding his side, moaning a little, his shirt all bloody.
“What happened?” I asked, walking up to him quickly. “Do you need help?”
“I got stabbed, man. I need to get to my sister’s house and get to the hospital,” he managed to get out between gasps.
“What!? You got stabbed!? Hey, let me run get my car and I’ll drive you to your sister’s house so we can then get you to the E.R.” I ran down the steps, ran to get my car, and pulled up to the train station. He wasn’t there. “Oh know,” I thought to myself. “He probably fell down those stairs!” Thankfully I found him leaning up against a post near the other exit, so I drove over and helped him into the car. He began to explain where he lived and told me where to go, but then he couldn’t remember the name of his street. “It’s 3300….3300…man, I’m losing it. I can’t remember the name of my street.” I’m thinking to myself this guy is going to pass out in my car, I don’t know who he is, and I don’t know where he lives.
We made it to his sister’s house, where he changed his shirt. Four stab wounds in all. I took him to Montefiore Hospital with his cousin, and dropped them off at the E.R.
The man (we’ll call him Dan) showed me his stitches and staples the next day when I stopped in to visit, and thanked me for taking him to the hospital. The next day, Sunday, I invited Dan to come to church, not thinking through it that he’s probably in a lot of pain yet. He actually walked the 0.4 miles to church and joined us for the service. The message was on “Walking in the Spirit” from Romans 7, and Dan said later that Stan’s message spoke to him. Ike took him home early because his wounds were hurting him.
The Word of God was sharper than a two-edged sword. Or maybe that’s not such a good analogy for someone who has just endured four stab wounds.
God is on the move.