I sat with my best friend in a McDonald’s last Tuesday at 3pm. Both of us live in full time ministry, a calling not often encouraged or promoted. It’s simple and messy all at once: we ask Jesus what to do each day and then go do just that.
But going against the norm is never an easy task and so we have to speak life over each other as much as we possibly can.
How do we keep moving forward when everything around us screams for us to stop?
And it was just nice, you know, to sit with someone else going through the same thing. There’s strength in solidarity, especially in the Body of Christ. It’s His Presence and their presence and my presence all rolled into one saying, You’re not alone in this.
“Ministering in everyday opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings– it means being God’s very special choice to be available to use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us.” -Oswald Chambers
And laughter erupted as one of us said, Look at us! In McDonald’s, on a Tuesday, at 3pm! And who knows why! And the moment was the crack we needed to let some joy seep in. Friends are always good for that— they help you see the joy cracks.
We were content to be in the moment, reminding the other why we were in the season that we are: because Jesus said so. And when that’s the answer to any problem, peace can rest on the most uneasy of grounds. His strength does not need a firm foundation because it is the firm foundation.
His Spirit fell on that table and before we knew it we were again longing for His prompting to go and do, love and act, pray and intercede for the rest of His kids.
We reminded each other that to be His children means to be ready at all times— a truth the enemy doesn’t want us to believe. In fact, he will tell us we need more preparing or we’re too inadequate, or surely The Lord must have picked wrong; surely it wouldn’t be me. But Jesus doesn’t make mistakes and His purposes for us are those of adventure and grace. And that day, discouragement had pushed, but faith pushed back. And won.
And I guess I didn’t realize Jesus meant for McDonald’s to be fertile ground because then he walked in and the atmosphere shifted. Our spirits knew it and The Spirit reminded us that it wasn’t the same setting as before his arrival.
His tall, lanky build made him stand out among the rest of the afternoon crowd and his dirty hair and clothes isolated him to himself. He gripped only a cup of coffee and an unlit cigarette as he slowly made his way to a table a few feet from us.
Heart rekindled, my friend looked at me with a glimmer in her eye. We should pray for him, Kels. But the enemy whispered lies and I told her we shouldn’t because he may be mentally impaired and we need to be safe.
How easy it is for me to forget safety is Jesus and Jesus is safety. Thank God for His patience.
And within twenty minutes we see the man walk outside and across six lanes of midday traffic. Back and forth he went as our eyes watched him the entire way. And when he finally stepped back into the McDonald’s I knew: We had to pray for him. The prompting in my soul was almost too much to bear.
Okay, let’s go pray for him, I mustered. But then the enemy had whispered lies to my friend and Kels, I think he is intoxicated; maybe we shouldn’t.
And eyes locking again, we recognized the supernatural at work— a war within each of us for the voice of our Father to be heard. So we did what we knew was right. We asked Him. Jesus, do You want us to go pray for this man?
And without pause He responded, Absolutely.
“Wherever we go in the world, we are presence carriers. . . frequently, all the obedience God requires of us is simply showing up. . . So we go, and we allow what’s inside us to spill out. The best method of witnessing we have. . .is an attitude that shows people how much we trust our God.” -Heidi and Rolland Baker
Chairs scooting in, courage descending, and ice-cream cones gone, we walked over. He was startled at our approach, but kind eyes greeted us and his full attention was on our conversation. Completely sober minded he shared about his day— the full bus ride he was on earlier, the gas station errand he had to run across the highway for, the A/C he was thankful to be in. And in the middle of his monologue he shared that the only time he braves the busy roads is with his church group.
Of course. And Holy Spirit whispered, Don’t you see, sis?
Mr. Leo talked of his church, the very church my friend’s grandparents attend. Her grandparents dear friends of his. And we stood shell shocked as blessing after blessing poured forth from this man we so easily could have passed over.
Mr. Leo, we asked, we came over here because The Lord wanted us to pray for you! Would that be okay?
And with a smile as big as Texas, dirty fingers gripped ours as we bowed our heads. And we blessed that man as The Lord broke off feelings of isolation and discouragement. We prayed for strength and life, for protection and adventure. And as our voices quieted, just like that, Mr. Leo began to pray over us!
So my pulse slowed and my heart calmed and it was as if that McDonald’s had so quickly become a church. So simple it is to shift atmospheres if we only listen to the Holy Spirit.
Backing away with wonder and a final goodbye, Mr. Leo placed two devotionals in each of our hands. Pulled from his back pocket, he gave what he could. These are for you girls, he smiled, Compliments of me.
And few words came out except genuine thank yous. Hearts were just still as we left the place we didn’t know held potential. And as we walked to the car, my friend spoke the words we were both so fervently thinking over with Jesus, And to think the man we thought was homeless, mentally impaired, and intoxicated blessed us! To think we went to pray for him and he prayed for us! To think he gave us devotional books and blessed us on the way out. Wow, Kels. To think we almost missed it!
But how like our God. How like Him to gently remind His girls that things aren’t always as they seem. How like Him to graciously transform a McDonald’s. How like Him to prompt kindly and wait patiently. How like Him to choose two “normal” women living “unnormal” lives to do His work.
As I drove home that day I realized something and I’ve never let it go since. As children of God we weren’t created for the normal. So I might as well get used to days like Tuesday.
And if that’s my normal Tuesday, Lord, I just ask for more.