Wednesday, April 16, 2020

This morning I received a text, from a number I did not recognize. The text read:

“Good morning Chaplain Harpell. My name is John.* I met you a while ago in front of the arena after I picked up my guitar. I'm the one-legged marine you talked to. I'm asking for nothing but your prayers. We recently found out that our 6-month-old daughter has cancer. If you could pray for her I would greatly appreciate it.”

I remember John. I met him outside the local ice arena about two months ago. I am a Hockey Ministries International (HMI) chaplain and I had just finished meeting with a Everett Silvertips player over pizza. I had just gotten into my car and was about to turn the key, when God gave me this very strong impression to get out of the car, go across the street and introduce myself to this young one-legged kid, with the words “God, Family and Country” on the back of his tee shirt, strumming his guitar while he stood by his truck with a big smile on his face.

We talked. John lost his leg in Afghanistan serving our country. He’s my son’s age, and so I told him that my son had just returned from Afghanistan. I gave him a card with my info on it, and he said that it was quite the coincidence that we were talking because he had been thinking about going back to church and rebooting his faith.

Never thought I’d hear from him.

You never know, do you?

But this is my point. We never know when out encounters with someone might make an impression and have a lasting impact.

What if we approached every encounter with people as a possible assignment from God? Do you think it might make a difference in how we approach every conversation?

Do you think that this is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he penned, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:2  (NKJV)

By the way, John’s little girl’s name is Emily and soon she will be starting chemotherapy. Emily could use prayers. Would you join me in praying for her?

John and I continue texting one another. I’m hoping John’s faith will be rebooted. Who knows where our relationship will go? You never know, do you?


*Name changed