Christian Women's Magazine | God's Mysterious Ways

JBU Fall 2014

By Joni Eareckson Tada

I forget what city I was in and what meeting I had to rush off to that night. All I remember was that my busy schedule had caught up with me. I was tired. Plus, I needed to wash my hair, but my wheelchair did not fit under the hotel’s bathroom sink.

My friend quickly searched for a beauty salon on her smartphone, after which we dashed to a local mall for a fast wash and blow dry. When I wheeled in, the receptionist called over her shoulder, “Rex! I’ve got a walk-in for you!” A large man with curly, red-dyed hair sauntered out, wiping his hands on a towel. He was wearing many earrings, and I tried not to stare. Rex artfully messed with my hair and sighed, “You need help, darling.” I wasn’t going to argue. I was just grateful that he could squeeze me in.

I was glad our conversation was light as he washed and dried my hair. Sitting under the drone of the dryer, I began to unwind. I closed my eyes. It was nice to not think about anything. However, I was not able to shut out the Holy Spirit who kept whispering, Joni, I want you to talk to Rex about Christ. I replied (in my head), Lord, do I have to? Can’t I just relax? I finally decided that this was my time to just rest my eyes and not talk. My mind was made up.

A minute later, I sensed Rex move closer. When the cord of the hairdryer brushed my cheek, I opened my eyes. There at eye level, not inches from my face, dangled a large silver Egyptian ankh around Rex’s neck. The ankh, an ancient Egyptian symbol of spiritual power, looks like a cross, but has a loop at the top. With that awful thing in my face, I knew this was a call to spiritual war. I felt God saying, “Look at this thing...what do you have to say about this?” I took a deep breath, raised my voice above the dryer’s whine, and asked, “Rex, why are you wearing an ankh rather than a cross?”

Rex stepped back, and said with wide eyes, “You are not going to believe this, but just this morning I was thinking of replacing it with a cross. This has been such a negative week for me, and I’m in need of real hope. I’m in need of a change!” That gave me a wonderful in, and I told him that the Bible says the cross is the power of God. We then went on to talk about his childhood in a local Baptist church, his drifting away, and his frustration with life. We also talked about hope in Christ.

I may have dropped by that salon for a hair wash, but God had much more in mind. As I was leaving, Rex told me he really needed to hear my words. I smiled and said, “I think God was talking to us both.” And, in God's mysterious ways, He was. I was certain of it when later I stumbled across Psalm 40:9-10, “I proclaim righteousness...I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth."

If ever there were a time to proclaim righteousness and speak up about salvation, it is now. Our modern culture is crowded with souls like Rex—bewildered, jaded men and women who are drifting and looking for hope in sports bars, hotel lounges, athletic clubs, and hair salons. We must not think that “someone else will reach this person for Christ” or “I’m tired of having to be ‘on’ for the Lord all the time.” We are to “be in season and out of season” during every season of the year. 

Yes, that day God spoke to Rex and me. Maybe Psalm 40: 9-10 is speaking to you, too. Don’t procrastinate your proclamation. Speak out and speak up in this jaded culture. “Rex” is counting on you.

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