Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
- TITLE: Promises, Prophesies and God's Wider Provision
By Noel Mitaxa
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Delivered with his trademark pious scowl, Old Jake’s snarled prophecy troubled my teenage ego for maybe three whole seconds.
Humility never cramped my ambitions, though I must challenge pop psychologists’ claims that you become what you keep thinking about. If they were right, while I was still a teenager I would have become a girl…
Anyway, other dreams were filling my little world. A place called “Someday Isle.”
“Someday Isle join up with Major League baseball players...
“Someday Isle write an advice column…
“Someday Isle become a Christian. Not yet, but when I do it will be front page news!”
In fulfilling these and other dreams, God has often stepped out from left field―even reshaping failures into stronger bases for each new step.
I loved baseball; but back in 1964 it almost claimed my life.
While looking for our baseball club wind-up party in a very dark part of town, I heard a slurred challenge from the darkness. I stepped back.
“Don’t move!” slurred the voice again―menacingly this time.
He stepped forward, and a distant street light revealed his rifle. Pointed at my head. My mind began racing, in the reality that at sixteen I could be killed, and I realised―even from many boring sermons―that a Christless eternity faced me. From point blank range!
Reeking of alcohol, he gun-prodded me into his house. “Do you know him?” he demanded of his wife.
“Never seen him,” she replied.
“You’re lucky!” he told me, “if she had, you’d be dead by now.”
He let me go, and somehow in the next street I found the party; where my shocked garble about a drunk gunman prompted everybody to call the police.
They attended and returned me to the house, where they ordered him to open up.
He opened up all right. With a head-high shot through his front door! We scattered. The police to call reinforcements and me―at their orders―back to the party!
As you’d expect, this episode―featuring my name―hit the local headlines. My conversion came four days later, when only God and I knew what transpired at our youth ministry’s early-morning prayer meeting.
Nobody expected me to attend, but they were too polite to express any surprise. They were also oblivious to my silent prayer: “Lord, I’ve made a mess of my life. Please come in and take over.”
Immediately his peace flowed through me, and though I’d tried to keep him at a safe distance, he made me feel clean and complete for the first time. How he had created me to be. Accepted for who I was, and forgiven for all I had done.
Six months later I sensed an embryonic call to ministry, with teaching as an expected prelude. But my door to teacher training later slammed shut because of bad examination results.
Drifting through four dead-end jobs in a year; a fading, inaccessible call to ministry mocked my ever-lowering moral. Yet this experience became fuel for empathy after a divine opportunity arose, when God surely prompted an employment counsellor to ask if I’d consider joining his team.
My acceptance eventually led to several years of specialising with disabled clients whose challenges ranged from dandruff through hangnails―and anything in between. Overall, a ministry in itself; which gave me a more-grounded preparation for pastoral studies than teaching could ever have. In the same time as my expected teaching route would have taken.
Old Jake never knew, but I even conducted pre-release interviews with prisoners; fulfilling his prophecy from a direction he would never have suspected. Or maybe wished for!
Same goal. Different approach. With no stress from God.
Ministry has revisited my love of sports through chaplaincy to high-profile people who have everything but privacy when things go wrong. As well as working in motor racing and football, I’ve also coordinated outreach clinics with Christian guys from the Phillies, the Mets and the Brewers.
In 1982 I had hopes of a church display advertising program. It fell in a heap, but led to writing weekly newspaper columns that now syndicate to more people than could possibly fit in any chapel.
Oh, and while I missed my teaching dream by that much―I married a teacher, and I keep learning.
Space does not allow for all my mistakes, but Monday September 29th was my fiftieth birthday in a new life journey with Jesus.
And on the following Sunday―October 5th―our two grandsons were baptized into him.
So God’s wider blessings keep unfolding…
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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