“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
The other day while sitting at a coffee shop, I heard my name being called from across the room. As I turned, I recognized the man calling me as someone from my distant past. The brother embraced me as if he had seen a ghost. In fact, my mind began racing, as I recalled the history he and I shared. As we talked, he said my being in his presence was what he described as a “God moment.” As the conversation progressed, he said he’d been waiting for years to tell me “thank you.” Tears began to well in his eyes, his hands started to shake, and the room began to feel as if the very air was being sucked out. He said, “Jarrett, I want to thank you for not letting me go.” Then I began to cry. Here we were, two grown black men with tears in our eyes in a coffee shop.
Some six or so years previous, he and I had another “God moment.” It was a blazing hot Saturday in the south. I was finishing up my work and making every attempt to go home, rest, and finish preparing for Sunday worship the next day. All of that changed when my phone rang. It was this very brother on the other line telling me that he needed me to pick him up from a hotel or he was going to kill himself. I panicked. I mean, I literally panicked to the point I didn’t know who I was. How could this young, gifted, and anointed brother want to kill himself? The hotel he asked me to come to was well over 30 minutes away from my location. I thought to myself that maybe I should phone the authorities or one of his loved ones but then the Spirit came to me and simply told me to “go.”
When I arrived at the hotel, I found this brother lying on the floor. Immediately I thought I was too late but I wasn’t. He was crying and I could tell he was close to doing exactly what he said he was going to do. I worked to get him up and then I literally walked him to my car, at some points even having to pick him up. I sat him in the front seat and drove him to a facility for treatment. Beyond prayer, I would check on him from time to time to make sure he was coping and healing.
Today, I can say so much had changed; yet, so much was still the same. It was our shared “God moment” that reminded us how much God has done in our lives. What my brother did not know was that I needed him this day as much as he needed me those years ago. I needed to see him whole, healthy, and healed. The truth is, no matter how many amazing worship experiences you encounter and no matter how many times you think the preacher is preaching to you, every now and then it’s a breathtaking experience to know that you were needed by somebody and that in fact, you made a difference in somebody’s life and you helped somebody speak life and thwart the plan of the enemy. For this, I am eternally grateful for my “God moments.”
The Rev. Jarrett Britton Washington is the pastor of Hopewell African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hemingway, South Carolina. He is a graduate of Turner Theological Seminary at the ITC in Atlanta, Georgia, with both the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education degrees. Currently, he serves as the Co-Editor of The Voice of Mission Magazine and Layout Artist for the Missionary Magazine. He is married to Deronda C. Washington and is the father of one daughter, Braylen Jael.