A tricked-out Cadillac Escalade pulled into the intersection and stopped, blocking traffic behind it. One brave (or unsuspecting) motorist several cars back honked. The SUV didn’t move until a young man standing on the corner swaggered up to it. He reached into the passenger window and handed the driver something. In exchange, the driver handed the young man a big roll of money. This is where I had come to paint en plein air and seek the lost.
The Big Deal
I pitched my easel near the bus stop and began to draw the scene before me. I handed out Talent Search tracts to people as they passed by, but prayed that someone would stop so that I could share the gospel with them. I saw a man sitting on the bench crane his neck to see what I was doing, so I invited him over.
Maybe he had seen the probable drug deal that had just gone down because he immediately started talking about how he constantly warned young men to stop living a lifestyle that could land them in jail or the cemetery. I agreed with him, then I said that their best hope of living long and prospering was to be had in a relationship with Jesus.
The man rolled up his shirt sleeve and showed me a tattoo on his forearm. It was a cross. “I bet you’ve never seen one like this,” he said as he pointed to the four ends of the cross. “It’s nailed down,” he said, indicating that it could not be removed.
Wear It, Bear It
I’ve learned over the years to not let Christian symbols fool me, for some people wear the cross of Jesus but don’t bear the cross of Jesus as outlined in the scriptures. I began to talk to him about the Lord, looking for clues of his committment.
“Jesus is the savior of the world,” he said to me. I quickly agreed, happy to find common ground. But the longer we talked, the more he revealed his lack of understanding (or belief) of the Bible. For example, he said that he didn’t go to church, nor did he think it was important. He also said that when people die, their soul ceases to exist. I knew it was not my place to judge him, but tried to gently nudge him in the direction of those things written in the Bible that showed the importance of fellowship with other believers and the message to all mankind that we will live on into eternity; either with God or apart from Him, depending on our relationship with Christ.
Eventually, I asked him if there was anything he would like prayer for. He put his hand on his side and said that he had pain there. I laid my hand lightly on his side and prayed, thanking God for sending Jesus as our Savior, including our healer. I spoke healing scriptures over him.
When I finished praying, he smiled and said, “I feel much better.’
(Oh, me of little faith). I replied, “Really?”
“Yes!” he said excitedly. “Thank you.”
“No,” I answered him. “Thank God.”