“…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16.)
Breathe is a Wichita group yearning to bring ourselves and others closer to God. Please be inspired by these modern day “Acts” and lets go out and live our faith today!
Cliff had the idea to go to a strip club and hang out in the parking lot and just see if God could use us. This is what happened one Saturday night.
A large black guy walked up to our lawn chairs in the grass and said, “Hey what are you guys doing over here? I moved from Florida and I seen you guys over here in lawn chairs all kicked back like your on the beach and I says to myself, ‘now those birds look like they’s on the beach- I gotta talk to them.’”
Cliff offered a water. I offered prayer for anyone he knew might need one. The man declined both but was amused and walked away with a smile on his face.
After another half an hour Cliff and I decided that man may have been the reason they were supposed to come tonight. We packed up the chairs and the water and the guitar and walked back to the car. We had parked away from the other cars, except for a single truck. And now a boy leaned against the truck, door open, smoking a cigarette.
“Hey man, would you like a water?” Cliff asked.
“Um, sure. Thanks. What are you guys doing here?”
“We’re just here to help anybody who needs it and to pray for people if they would like.” i said. “Is there anything we could pray for for you?”The guy reached out and received the water, “Yeah, in fact my sister has a blood clot in her brain.”
“Jeez, that sucks man. I’m sorry.” I said.
“I know, she’s not doing very well.”
“What’s your name, man?” Cliff asked.
“Ryan.” He reached out to take Cliff’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Cliff and this is Ross.” I shook his hand. “What are you doing tonight?”
“I’m waiting out here for a girl to call. I just got out of a horrendous divorce and I’ve been incredibly depressed lately and I’m waiting for a phone call from a girl I knew in High school, who I haven’t seen for ages.”
“Wow. Is there anything we can pray about for that situation?”
“Nah, no worries. Mostly just for my sister.”
“Ok, that’s cool. Are you comfortable if we just pray right here?” Cliff asked.
“Yeah, I grew up my whole life in the church and stuff. We should totally pray.”
Cliff and I put our hands on Ryan’s shoulders and Cliff began to pray. A drunk Mexican man stumbled towards us. I began praying. In the middle of my prayer The drunk man leaned against Ryan’s hood and began to pee.
He called to us, “Hey. Aaaarrre you guys praying? What are you praying fooouuuuur?”
I stopped praying to answer as patiently as i could, “Yes we’re praying, you can listen if you want but we are going to continue.”
But he did not let us continue. “You guys don’t realize how purposeless praying is. How purposeless trying to find God is.” He zipped up his pants and stumbled up to us. “I’m 38 years old and been through so much more than you can imagine. Do you see that Suburban over there?”
There was a shiny white new suburban facing them.
“That car is stolen.” He caught himself from falling over, “I brought my kids here for their birthday in a stolen car because I have no money. I work 7 days a week as a welder and still can’t make enough money to keep our lights on. Our electricity was cut off 8 days ago. Seven days ago I tried to commit suicide.”
I leaned in close and put my hand on his shoulder, “Hey man there’s hope out there. You don’t have to give up!” I probably should have been more careful. He could have stabbed me or something.
The man smiled a sad smile, “you don’t understand. I’ve killed more people than you know. What’s your name?”
“I’m Ross. What’s yours?”
“I’m Jose. But what I was saying was that there’s no hope. If you ever think you’re down, don’t because there’s always someone lower. It’s me. I’m as low as you can go. Life for some people is just not worth living.”
“No, Jose. There’s always hope.” I inserted. “What about your kids, man? What will that do to them if you aren’t around anymore?”
“They would have a better life.” Jose leaned against the car door and almost fell over when it began to close. He regained his shaky balance and continued. You guys are so naïve.”
The conversation went on for a while but it seemed that nothing we could say could convince Jose to change his thinking or his intent to try to commit suicide again.
Then Ryan spoke up. “Hey, I don’t know if this would help at all but I think you should know that my dad committed suicide and partly because of that I have tried it also 15 or 20 times since then.”
Jose shook his head and began talking again. “No, there’s no reason they would need me. You are so naïve.” We tried to tell him that God has a plan, and that there is always hope. But an extremely drunk man does not respond very well. He began to walk through us towards his suburban. His kids were coming out and coming to the suburban.
I reached up and put my hand on his shoulder as Jose walked away and I prayed under my breath, “Jesus help us. Help Jose.”
Jose shook his head and mumbled something about how naïve we were as he walked away.
Cliff, Ryan and I looked at each other. “Wow,” we all said.
“Thank you for telling him that, Ryan.” Cliff said. “I just hope he really heard it.”
I left that night thinking, “I don’t know if anything that happened helped Jose or Ryan, but it seemed like we were there to bring them together so they would hear each others’ stories. Maybe Jose needed to know how important it was to his sons that he didn’t commit suicide. Maybe Ryan needed to realize that Maybe why his dad committed suicide was because he just was trying so hard to support his son and it was too hard thinking that he had let his son down.”
Whatever was the outcome in the hearts of the people involved, we were convinced that we had been where God had wanted us to be that night.