Growing up without God brought it’s many challenges, most of which never materialized until much later in life. Only now through the lenses of hindsight do I recognize some of those distinct challenges. There wasn’t much structure, as far as ideological principles. We tended to float with the times and adapted to whatever seemed relevant at the time.
Like most families my parents always thought of ways to make a living and enjoy life while doing it. My dad was blessed with a pretty good job, it paid well and they entertained many different ventures. One of these ventures was opening up a nightclub/pool hall on the highway in front of the trailer park where my grandmother lived at the time. It worked out well, my parents had a babysitter nearby to allow them the freedom to operate their new business effectively.
My brother and I are twins; we were around 6-7 years old at this time. Nobody knows why, or even how; but one night my brother and I found ourselves in this nightclub. It was an ordinary nightclub/pool hall scene; the lights were dim, the music was blaring, and the effects of alcohol were in full effect.
I don’t know what triggered the altercation that night, all I can recall is that the place erupted into pure chaos. Men were fighting all over that pool hall. And I’ll never forget the sight of my mother standing on a pool table swinging a pool stick in a feeble attempt to defend herself from the chaos.
Perhaps the most frightening element of this overall frightening experience was the sight of a car, with a man on its hood, flying through the storefront window. The crash, the glass shattering, the screams… All of this embedded forever in my mind.
Suddenly my brother and I, in full blown panic, heard the comforting voice of an elderly man sitting behind the bar area in a rocking chair. His face glowed with safety and his overalls and white hair I’ll never forget. He told us to come to him, and with the gentleness of a grandfather pulled us onto his lap where he held my brother on one leg and me on the other.
Time seemed to slow down as the gentle hands of this unlikely stranger held us close; I could still see the images of the chaos around us, but oddly enough the scene was silent. I couldn’t hear a sound except for the calming voice of this old man. The overwhelming feeling of peace engulfed us as we just sat in his lap and eventually fell asleep.
The next morning, we awoke in our own beds, neither my parents or my grandmother even knew we were there that night. They never saw us and what was even more fascinating is that they never saw the old man in overalls.
Years past, and the memory of that eventful night nearly faded from memory. It had been over 20 years since then, I was married now with 2 children and one on the way. Life was catching up to us rather quickly, there seemed to always be another obstacle awaiting us on our journey of life. One night the feelings of uncertainty gripped my heart, as I began to examine where we were in life. Everywhere I looked I saw chaos. The weight of reality was bearing down on me like a coat weighing 500 pounds!
As I knelt to pray that night, the Lord reminded me of that night seemingly out of nowhere. I saw the scene again in my mind’s eye, I heard the sounds of angry voices and the crash of broken glass. Then I saw that old man once again, and felt that overwhelming peace begin to engulf me as I prayed.
20 years ago, while I knew nothing of God, He saw me and my brother in a nightclub. While my family showed no interest in Him, He showed interest in 2 6-7-year-old boys. The Lord never said a word that night, and really He didn’t have to. I got His message loud and clear. Although I may find myself in moments of utter chaos, even in the midst of it all He can give me peace that passes all understanding.
When I think back to that night over 20 years ago now, I am overwhelmed that God would take the time to watch over me nearly 10 years before I would ever walk into an apostolic service and hear the gospel for the first time.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
I don’t know where you are today, but rest assured God is watching over your life, and even when life is out of control you can rest comfortably in His peace.
Sometimes God brings instant deliverance, other times He brings you an old man in a chair…