[Risks No. 656 - 658] Last year a few of my Tampa friends told me about Hunahpu day, a day where their local brewer, Cigar City, released an incredibly sought-after Imperial Stout (aged on vanilla beans, cacao nibs, ancho chilies and the like, to be specific!). I told them I'd try to make it down for the next year. I've enjoyed quality craft beer (in moderation) but have never attended a beer "fest" of any sort and had no idea what to expect other than what I knew - 3,500 people were allowed in and we had tickets. I asked Jesus to help me love others especially in a place where many were most likely not going to be sober (or sane) much longer and where many were likely not Jesus-followers.
The first opportunity came when my friend and I made our way to the front of one of many long long lines and met his friend, Ryan. I had never met Ryan before but sensed straight-away that He was a believer and that God was using him to touch lives around him. I shared this and watched a smile break out on him. Encouraged his journey.
A little while longer I noticed a woman in a wheelchair. Nothing like trying to wade through thousands of people (word on the streets is that a scam took place and hundreds, if not thousands, printed out fake tickets and got in free). It was a mess. I stopped and asked if I could pray for her left that was in a cast and asked if she was in pain. "Yes I'm in a ton of pain and yes you can totally pray for me." She even hiked up her left leg so that I wouldn't have to bend down as far - almost as if to say - "here's my leg, pray away!" I did. She smiled. I didn't think to ask her to test it out on the spot.
Todd was in line with me in hopes of purchasing his "promised" three bottles of the uber-rare beer. We struck a conversation and ended up talking about Jesus for nearly 20 minutes. He was a former Baptist who felt he had never really had a true encounter with God, and for that reason, felt living life for God was simply not worth it. I shared my story and encouraged him. He said, "even if I don't get any bottles of Hunahpu, this conversation is worth more than 12 cases of it!" Not 1 minute after these words left his mouth, this is what happened.
Thank You Jesus for people like Todd. Draw those running from you, or those who have never encountered you, right up into Your arms.