This just happened a few hours ago...
So, I'm not really sure where to begin with this. God is so ridiculous in the things that he does sometimes. If I had any doubt that he loves me, I am convinced otherwise. I was hesitant to write about this because I was afraid I wouldn't do it any justice, but here it goes anyway.
I was having a rough day (as usual). My voice was hurting, I was having major digestive issues, my hair was falling out and I just felt physically broken. On top of that, I was having really heavy doubts about God's love for me and if I truly belonged to him. I was feeling so discouraged and started sinking into a dark place. In the late afternoon, I listened to a sermon about hope. The one verse that stuck out to me was Proverbs 13:12 "A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." The preacher said, "people who already have what they want, do not need hope. God gives hope to those who need hope." I wept through the entire sermon because I needed hope....badly.
It was about 7pm when I decided to go outside and take a walk to pray and clear my head. It was already getting dark and by the time I reached the next intersection, it was pitch black outside with no street lights. I was about to turn around to go back home because Charlottesville has a bear problem, but on a whim, I decided to just keep going.
I figured no one was out right now so I started praying out loud. As I walked, I started praying that God would tell me that he loved me. I kept praying this over and over again asking him to just confirm that I belonged to Jesus and that he was in control of my life. In mid sentence, I hear a sound behind me and this guy dressed in all black pulls up next to me on his bike. He stops, gets off his bike and starts walking beside me. He was about the same height as me, skinny and probably in his late thirties. At this point, I started quietly freaking out. I was also simultaneously embarrassed because I probably looked like a crazy person talking to myself while walking down a dark street. Either this guy was going to mug me or he was going to kill me. Instead he just said hello and started talking to me.
At first when I asked what his name was, he said it was "Mr. A." I thought this was really bizzarre and thought that this guy might be a psychopath. He then asked me my name and I said, "Tim". A huge smile stretched across his face and he shook my hand saying "that's a good name". We continued making small talk for a while. I asked him where he was from and how he came to Charlottesville. I told him about my band and how I was a touring musician. After a while, he said, "By the way, my name is Tim as well." I looked at him and in my skepticism I blurted out, "you're totally messing with me right now." He started laughing and kept saying "no, seriously, my name is Tim." So on a whim I asked him, "do you know what your name means?" He said, "I definitely do, it means 'to honor God.'" At that moment, I knew something divine was happening.
He asked me if I would walk with him to see a house he was looking to buy. I started getting nervous again because it was down a hill in a wooded neighborhood with very little light and no other people. But I figured that something incredible might be happening so I walked with him. We finally stopped at this house and we talked for a while about our families, our careers, and where we went to church. The conversation was still pretty light and surface level.
As we walked back up the hill, he started telling me how much he loves to sing. He asked me if he could sing a song for me. He said I probably wouldn't know the song but I told him to go ahead anyway. He proceeded to sing....loudly....in the middle of this quiet neighborhood. Now believe me when I say this guy had an incredible voice. I mean, absolutely beautiful. He started singing a hymn about enduring through suffering and how God carries us through it. At that moment, I felt a wave of joy and comfort. I felt like God was singing over me.
When he finished singing, I was almost in tears and I felt at peace. I said to him, "I think God sent you to encourage me." He said, "I know."
We walked all the way to the grocery store where we stopped. In the food lion parking lot, he started to prophesy over me. He started saying something along the lines of, "Tim, God wants you to know that he loves you. He really loves you. God knows that you really love him and that you seek after him even though you have a natural tendency to doubt. He also knows how lonely your walk is and the constant emptiness you feel inside. You feel like there is no one you can really confide in and you feel a constant sense of insecurity." Let me remind you that this guy has never met me before and there is no way he could have known this stuff. He proceeded to tell me more about things in my childhood and things I struggled with that no person could have known unless I told them. He even told me how God wanted to heal me of my sickness and to continue speaking the promises of God over my life. He quoted a verse from Isaiah 53 that I had been meditating on recently, "by his wounds we are healed."
Throughout the entire conversation he kept telling me one thing over and over again, "God loves you". It was the very thing I had been praying for right before he stopped his bike behind me. I have to say, God's timing is incredible.
Later on as we were talking about how crazy our meeting was, Tim (Mr. A) started explaining to me that while he was riding his bike in the dark he saw me from a distance and he distinctly heard God saying, "stop and talk to him". He told me he was a little hesitant at first and that even when we were talking he wasn't sure how it was going to pan out. We were both simultaneously thinking, "what is this person doing out here in the darkness?" But later, when I asked him if he knew what his name meant, it confirmed for him that God had put this together.
At the end of our conversation he said, "God told me you got what you needed." I smiled and nodded. We hugged and said goodbye and he called me his little brother. He told me I could call him anytime if I needed anything.
Today God reminded me in a very clear and ridiculous way that he really loves me and that he has his hand over my life. I also made a new friend.