The note on the desk from his secretary would recharge Pastor Jerry’s confidence, but it forecast no such promise as he scanned it.
“Scott Fraser phoned. Sounded enthusiastic. He wants to see you again. He wanted your number, but he gave me his, and I said you’d call. I hope that’s okay.”
Jerry was grateful for her discretion. How often had he been ambushed by strangers whose tragic, tangled tales were never impeded by the truth; and narrated with all the integrity of a three-dollar bill?
Better that he initiate the contact; so he reached for his phone, praying for guidance as he punched in the digits. The ring tone became a soundtrack to a kaleidoscope; as possibilities shoved his thoughts everywhere: Scott Fraser? See me again? Was there a first time? Is he another three-dollar integrity type? Yet Jesus was always being interrupted…
A reply cut through the kaleidoscope.
“Hi, you’re speaking with Scott Fraser; how can I help you?”
Why does his tone suggest so many three-dollar bills? Jerry thought, before replying: “Hello Scott, I’m Pastor Jerry …”
“Pastor Jerry!! Thanks so much for calling back so soon! You need to hear my story, and so does Helen! It’s amazing to speak with you after thirty years! Could we grab a cup of coffee tomorrow?”
Jerry’s brow furrowed. “How could he know Helen?”
Yet he detected more than enthusiasm; for “Fraser” was re-emerging from somewhere beneath three decades of amnesic dust. They agreed on Golden Arches at ten-thirty; for whatever McConversation might arise.
They arrived early to get a table near the door, texting its location – and their descriptions - to Scott’s phone, as discreet curiosity kept them alert to all arrivals.
“Hi! Pastor Jerry? It’s great to see you!” A sudden voice beside them belonged to a beaming, excited face.
“It’s like I’ve known you all my life,” he began, “but while you don’t know me, you do know my mother Jacinta!”
Helen and Jerry exchanged glances. “Jacinta? Jacinta Fraser?”
“Yes,” Scott replied. “But I’ll get the coffees,” and disappeared; as Jerry and Helen rummaged through their memories...
“I think Jacinta worked in a pharmacy,” Jerry murmured, “but she had a car accident that almost killed her.”
“Yes, our hearts ached for her when she became pregnant to that drug-addict guy; but she asked me to help with the birth,” Helen added. “The day the hospital called, I raced out. I did mention some baby food in the fridge for Andrew; but that was all you fed him and I was gone for hours!”
“But a few weeks before we left town, she asked me to dedicate her baby at church," Jerry continued.
Coffee’s arrival interrupted their reverie, as Scott sat down opposite; his face covered in eagerness: “You may not remember this, but you prayed God’s blessing over me at a church service. Mum was single and she didn’t have much support; and though she recovered physically from the crash, she’s still mentally affected. She’s never forgotten you, and neither have I; because we have often played the recording of that dedication. Now that I know the Lord, I recognise the sincerity in your prayer. It just wasn’t like other services that I’ve attended; when preachers sound like they are just going through a script.”
Jerry could not remember those details; nor that the service had been recorded; but he became engrossed in Scott’s journey: living through the stigma of illegitimacy; of heeding an inner warning against drugs; of a determination to bloom beyond his roots; of the mentors God had brought into his life to shape his spiritual growth, his education, his youth leadership experience – particularly with kids from single-parent families - and his financial success.
As Scott’s story unfolded, Jerry sensed himself being almost physically drawn into a biblical parallel…
Here, across the table, was a modern-day Jabez! Similarly born from pain, and straight from 1 Chronicles 4:10! He’d also called on God to bless him; to enlarge his territory, and that His hand might be with him, and that He would keep evil from grieving him - and God had clearly granted his requests!
Time flew, yet stood still, as God’s grace spanned their years of separation. Then, as they all prayed before they parted, they sensed fresh insights from James 5:16: “The earnest prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective;” in public and in private prayer.
*Author’s Note: true story – false names
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