It seemed like such a random moment.
One of those things you don’t think much about really.
I’d just arrived at one of my Bible studies and happened to run into an athlete I knew. We’d been introduced by a mutual friend, and I really enjoyed talking to him.
He was super-friendly and down to earth–two things I wasn’t used to among professional athletes during my 14 years as a sports writer. We made small talk, and I told him he could sit with me if he wanted.
We walked in, worship began and later the pastor had us pair up and pray together with someone nearby. He then led us through a series of topics to pray about.
I started off and opened up about my need for God to keep healing me. Five months had passed since I lost my younger brother–and best friend–to suicide. The athlete shared; we kept praying. Short and simple.
It was a nice time, but while we were sitting there afterwards, he confessed some things.
He was originally supposed to meet someone there that night who never showed up. He had thought about leaving too, he said. Then he heard me share about my brother.
“I’ve got to admit, man, I was thinking about doing just what your brother did,” he said.
I was floored. This guy had a bright future ahead of him. He had done well.
I also was stunned at the same time, but in a good way.
Ever since I’d lost my brother one of my prayers was a simple one: Just one God. Give me one person who I can touch.
I wanted to be able to encourage people who were similar to my brother and give them hope. In no way did I want anyone else to experience what my family and I did.
He had heard my prayer and put me right into this guy’s path. I kept thinking, “Did that really just happen? Did I really help save someone’s life?”
Looking back, it was great to see God rescue someone from making such a horrific decision. Getting to play a part was both humbling and cool.
Since then, it’s been fun to watch what has happened in this guy’s life. God has given him an incredible platform, with Christians and non-Christians alike, well beyond just his sport.
I’m incredibly happy for him. Not just because of the support he’s received and the doors that have opened up, but also because he chose to hang in there a little longer.
Our brief time together reminded me that there are hurting people out there, silently walking through life, weighed down by pains and sorrows, and God wants to heal them.
It’s easy to think we can’t play a part and that you aren’t equipped to handle their mess. Sometimes the best thing we can do is just open up, be friendly and listen.
That’s when God moves. And if it seems a little random?
Trust me, it’s far from it.
A freelance writer since November, 2010, Trae Thompson is not a big fan of religious church people, corrupt politicians, or pompous athletes who think they’re above the law. Since he never saw his childhood dream of becoming James Bond actualized, he had to settle instead for appearing on a commercial that was once on ESPN’s College GameDay. Trae loves Ocean Spray CranGrape juice, old Atari games, and has been known to gesture a lot. He also thinks the best thing about still being single is continuing to grow, learn and become a better man. You can follow Trae on Twitter @geaux4it or read more of his writing at www.thehigherplaces.wordpress.com.