A Divine 911- Part One

Posted: November 8, 2019 in Meditations


Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out. Acts 8:26, 27

May is a glorious time of year in Missouri and in 1980, I was the king of my world. My car, music blaring, pushed across the Mississippi River, the Great Arch of St. Louis in my rear view mirror. Welcome to Illinois, land of Lincoln. Interstate 55 leads the way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, home sweet home.

I graduated from seminary weeks earlier. My first professional assignment began in July. My belongings fit comfortably in the trunk of my little Opel. Lynn, my wife to be, rode shotgun. A weekend party awaited us, a bevy of friends and family looked forward to meeting the future Mrs. Brown.

Lynn Taber caught my eye the moment she came through the door with her roommate. I still pinch myself at age 65 – God blessed me with a loyal friend, an incredible mother, but most importantly, my wife loves Jesus with a whole heart. I didn’t deserve her. In 1980 she committed to a man who was far younger than his years, incomplete and imperfect. I had one trump card, I too loved Jesus. 

Five miles outside of St. Louis I experienced a moment that remains a singular event, I physically felt the jar of God followed by his distinct voice in my brain. I turned to Lynn, “Honey, I think I just heard from God.” What did he say?” she asked, “He said, “Turn around, go to Joe’s house!” Lynn didn’t hesitate, “You better take the next exit and go to Joe’s house.”

I met Joe in the first weeks of Fall Semester 1979. I lived at a ministry house off campus where I assisted the Campus Pastor while going to seminary. Joe came to us a troubled young man, nervous, wary – seemingly ready to bolt any second, never to be seen again. By his own admission, Joe would come to the aid of a squirrel before he would assist a human being. He radiated intense pain, a pain that left him alone, most students shied away from him.

God blessed us with Joe, I really mean that. We discovered a humor that surprised all of us. His Elvis Presley impersonations were spot on. I gained his trust, I became his friend. Initially, I saw the quirks, the foibles, the glaring weaknesses. As time passed, I recognized rare passion, a keen intellect, a loyalty that knew few bounds, a trait that made him vulnerable, fragile.

The arch loomed large. My car sped toward Kirkwood, a full thirty to forty minutes away. I never once questioned why I was doing this. Am I on a silly goose chase? Am I playing mind games with myself? None of that happened. I just knew and so did Lynn. We didn’t know why, it didn’t matter. God said, “Go to Joe’s house.” We were on our way to Joe’s house. I pressed the accelerator.


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