The intercom crackled overhead in the critical care waiting room.
"Visiting hours for Neuro Intensive Care have been postponed indefinitely due to an emergency," came the announcement, met with a wave of disappointed moans and raised voices.
Oblivious, a man in a tweed blazer signed his name at the admitting desk, glancing at the nurse and saying, "Alfonzo Mendez?"
"He's in bed 4, Neuro Intensive Care," the nurse replied. "But ..." her voiced trailed off and the man strode purposefully through the doors, turning off his cellphone as he walked.
"Doctors," she muttered under her breath.
The man was no doctor, nor was he employed by the hospital. He was not officially clergy, although God had clearly told him to come.
Inside the Neuro unit, doctors and gurneys pirouetted around him as if he weren't there. No one raised an alarm.
In bed 4, Alfonzo lay battered and comatose, an IV dripping into one arm. The man was taken aback, clearly expecting something different. He looked for an uninjured part of the homeless man to lay hands on. The collision with the car had left few options.
Finally, he began praying quietly.
A few minutes later, he floated through the waiting room, where family members continued to lament the interrupted visiting hours.
Then he was gone.
A month earlier, police officers had refused to escort the same man to a homeless camp, saying those living there were known to have guns. Police tried to keep him from going alone, but he walked purposefully into the woods and they seemed to forget their objections.
He was gone quite a while, speaking with each person he met, reassuring them, laughing, "Yes, we will pick you up for church on Sunday."
He came out of the woods, picking a few burrs from his socks but none the worst for wear.
Then he was gone.
Dale no longer marveled at the way God led him in and out of situations. After all, it was scriptural.
The Apostle John describes Jesus appearing to them after His resurrection when they were hiding in a locked room (John 20:19). Luke describes a crowd threatening to throw Jesus from a cliff, "but he walked right through the crowd and went on His way." (Luke 4:29-30)
Dale used to think that was just something Jesus could do. Then he read John 14:12:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing," Jesus said. "He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
Like Jesus, Dale thought to himself, we can walk through walls. But the walls are not brick and mortar any more. They are walls of prejudice, of ignorance, mistrust; walls of apathy, self-interest and cynicism.
Thursday morning, Dale walked into a small conference room where pastors of all denominations representing churches of all sizes and economic status asked forgiveness for building up walls and prayed together for God's will for the entire city.
At a men's retreat, Dale was embarrassed ... and deeply honored ... when a Christian brother humbly washed his feet. Then he picked up the basin and did the same for the man sitting next to him.
Walking purposefully, he is still breaking down walls.
Soon, they will be gone.
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. -- Proverbs 19:21
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