I was driving into the world's largest Air Force base on my way to my work at Eglin Elementary, my mind already on what the day was bringing - assessments, benchmarks, meetings, and more. So I rolled up to the security guard as I do every work day and handed him my badge. As usual I said, "Good morning. How are you today?"
The young man, an Air Force security policeman, stood there impassively and looked my badge over, and returning it said, "Not too good, actually."
I took my badge and dove away. It hit me about ten seconds later what he had said, and with a solid line of traffic behind me, there was no returning. It's been a source of prayer for me ever since.
If a young man like him, on duty and in uniform, feels free to express those thoughts to me, a complete stranger that could have been anyone, or a friend of anyone on the base (his boss, his bosses' boss, etc.), then how bad must his day have been?
Or was it just an unguarded moment?
Regardless, I'm praying for him, and for another opportunity.
From what I can tell from the Bible, Jesus never missed those sort of openings. He seemed to have an intuitive sense of just what people carried as baggage or struggled with as questions or doubts. One author tagged Jesus as "the Noticer" and I think that's a good frame to put Him in. He just saw hurts and read the hearts of the people He came in contact with.
I want to be that guy.
I know I can't fix people. Lord knows I'm still a work in progress. But the Holy Spirit can and does change people forever. I just want to be there when He does.
So pray for that airman. And pray for me, that I might see the heart of the One who gave His life for me completely replace mine.