It was a cold winter day as a co-worker and I made our way to a downtown shopping area of Baltimore. Only a few people seemed willing to brave the cold of the city that afternoon and I wondered if we were really in the right place at the right time.
As I began to distribute gospel tracts, I occasionally glanced over at a traffic officer who was standing in the intersection. I didn’t know that she was also watching me. When a fellow officer came to relieve her, she immediately headed in my direction.
I greeted her as she approached to ask if she could read one of our tracts. When she finished reading, Sandy asked if I had time to speak with her. So I was in the right place at the right time after all! Sandy asked if I was a Christian and I replied, Yes, I am, and I’m Jewish. What about you?” Sandy said she was a Christian but as she went on to explain what she believed about Jesus, it was clear that she did not know who He really is and what He had done for her. I did not hesitate to gently tell her so. Sandy then told me of her mother’s faith as a “born again” Christian, and how she had been praying for her daughter.
I tried as best I could to respond to her many questions in a short time, but Sandy needed to get back to work. She wanted to know more about the truth of Jesus and asked if she could write to me. We exchanged cards, then she went back to directing traffic as I continued to hand out broadsides.
Moments later, a young man took one of my tracts, and stood just a few steps away as he read it from front to back. When he was finished, he told me how much he agreed with our message, and how bad he felt that he had strayed so far from God.
Like Sandy, James told me how his mother, a woman who loves Jesus, had been praying for him. For years she had prayed that he would give up his worldly life and return to his “first love.” When I asked what was keeping him from recommitting his life to Jesus, James admitted it was his own stubborn heart. But he was tired of living apart from God, and he asked me to pray for him.
I reminded James about the prodigal son and told him that Jesus’ arms were open for him as well, waiting for him to return to the family. There were tears in his eyes as I asked if he wanted to ask for forgiveness and recommit his life to Jesus that day. Without hesitation he said yes, and we prayed together on that street corner.
I finished the sortie knowing that God had set up divine appointments for us on that cold afternoon in Baltimore. This was confirmed a week later when I received the following note: “Thank you so much for your faithfulness to share the love of Christ with my son James who I have been praying for these many years. He has returned to church and I can see that he truly is a new man. Thank you so much for touching my son’s life.”
I knew of course, that I had very little to do with “touching” this young man’s life. That week I also received a letter from Sandy, asking more questions about the Bible. Perhaps one day, Sandy’s mom will also have reason to be thankful that God caused her daughter’s path to cross mine that day. Meanwhile, I’m grateful that God continues to use our broadsides, as sometimes they can even be an answer to a mother’s prayer.