Last night, I had some of the best Islay Scotch I’ve ever had, with a friend who is a true friend. Thanks for the Scotch!
But, seriously, no. This is a story about a young man, barely away from home, who was thrust into circumstances that could have overwhelmed him, or even undone him. But Messiah Yeshua decided to take ‘all things’ and use them for the good, because this young man was indeed ‘called,’ for the purposes of Elohim. Unbeknownst to him.
He had just given his life over to Messiah, the Son of God, a few months before these events.
He was sitting with a group of military personnel one day. A lieutenant was grilling a “seaman deuce”, who could not figure out why he was so distraught. Our young man, whom we will call Yosef, was senior to the seaman deuce, as a “second class petty officer,” but far junior to the lieutenant who was the leader of this group of sailors. The petty officer, Yosef, asked the lieutenant, very respectfully, “May I ask him [the seaman deuce] a question?” “I guess so,” she said, obvioulsy reluctantly, “since this is a group.” He ignored the lieutenant’s chagrin, and simply looked at the boy, younger than himself, and asked his first question. But, to be fair, we have to ‘see’ what was in Yosef’s mind that prompted the question. While the lieutenant was grilling the boy, which is truly what he was, Yosef ‘saw’ in his mind that blond-headed boy, and about nine other younger, blond-headed boys and girls, frolicking in a huge yard which was in front of a white farm house, in the midst of fields of wheat, a barn off to the right, a tractor, and an old pickup truck in the dirt driveway. Mom and Dad were on the porch resting. Yosef ‘felt’ a sense of happiness and peace in that place he saw in his mind, and the Presence of Messiah; all the while the lieutenant is grilling the boy, who, in Yosef’s mind, was at that place with what looked like his family. Having gotten permission, he asked the boy, “Are you from the midwest?” He looked Yosef dead in the eyes, obviously distressed, and said, “Yes.” And the next question, “Do you come from a very large family?” A bit surprized, he answered, “Yes.” The next question, “Is it a Christian family?” A tear came to his eye, “Yes….” The room of about twenty sailors was perfectly silent, but Yosef was oblivious to the presence of everyone else, only seeing this young, sad boy. His last communication was a statement, and not a question, “You want to go home, don’t you….” And the boy started balling, shedding tears in front of twenty or so men. The room was aghast, because those twenty men knew that Yosef had only been part of the group for a day, and did not even know the boy’s name, much less anything about him or his family. The lieutentant got up and left the room, angry.
That afternoon, the group decided to go have some liesure time playing a game of baseball. The blond boy caught up to Yosef and said, “As soon as you started speaking to me, I knew you knew what I felt. I miss my family so much. How did you know?” Yosef said, “I ‘saw’ you and about nine other kids playing in this big yard…” and he described the rest that he’d seen in his mind. Two of the other sailors were walking with them to the ball field. The boy said, “I know I should be living a Christian life; but I haven’t been.” One of the other sailors, a bit older, said, “Me too! I think that’s why I haven’t been happy. I haven’t been living for Jesus.” The blond boy interjected excitedly, “I feel so much weight lifted off of me now.” Yosef declared happily, “Praise God! Hallelu Yah!” And they played ball that afternoon. That evening, the other sailor who had said, “I haven’t been living for Jesus” visited Yosef in his quarters… “Can we talk?” “Sure,” Yosef said happily. They sat down in front of each other. He looked at Yosef and said, “I’m not even certain that I’m actually saved. When you looked at him [blond boy] and said, “You’re from a Christian family, aren’t you?”, my heart hurt. How did you know?” Yosef said, “I don’t know. I just saw it, and felt it.” “How do you know you’re saved, Yosef?” “Because I trust that the blood of Jesus was shed for ME, for MY sin. I know that I am a sinner. I know that I will perish eternally if I persist in sin. But I also know that He is the Son of God the Creator, and that He came to this earth to die in our place, to take our sins into His flesh, so that we would not be punished for our sins.” He looked Yosef in the eyes and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever truly asked God to forgive ME, of MY sins. Will you help me?” Yosef took this older man’s hand in a double-handshake fashion, and began to pray with him. He simply asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins, and to show Himself to him, that He had taken his sins into His flesh, and to let him ‘know’ that he was forgiven, and to give him His Spirit, to help him to live a life worthy of that calling. The older gentleman wept with joy.
The next day, the group was sitting around during a break, and the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came on the radio, and Yosef began singing it at the top of his lungs. The whole group finally came round and began to sing it all together. The lieutenant walked in, and turned around and stomped off. A few minutes later, Yosef was headed to the ‘head’, and heard the lieutenant tell the Captain, “I don’t like it one bit! This ‘Christian “B%%^&%^t” is a lie, and a smokescreen!” Yosef almost stuck around to hear the rest of the conversation, but was compelled not to.
That night, another of the twenty came to Yosef. He asked him, “Do you think Satan is real?” “Absolutely,” Yosef said. “The reason I ask is because my girlfriend often went missing late at night. One night, I decided to follow her, and I found her and some other girls out in the woods, they had a fire going, and they were dancing around it, outside a circle and, what do you call it, the five pointed star?” “A pentagram.” “Yeah, the pentagram and circle were around the fire, and they were dancing around it and chanting something. It freaked me out.” “It should,” said Yosef. “So you think Satan is real?” “More real than you and me,” he said. “You don’t know if you might have shaken hands with the devil!” “Holy %&^*! It feels like you just sent a knife up my #%$!” [remember, these are sailors] “I’m just telling you, Satan is alive and well, and he responds to worship.” And then Yosef began to describe the fall of Satan, and his role in trying to destroy man. “Dude, how do you protect yourself from that stuff?” And Yosef told him about a dream he’d just had, right after he started living for Yeshua again while at sea. In the dream, Yosef had ‘assembled’ with some ‘false believers’, but left the building because of his unease; they chased him down, and offered him a cup to drink. “It’s blood” they said. Knowing the prohibition against drinking blood, he said, “I won’t drink it.” So one of the cult took the cup and began drinking. “It’s wickedness!” Yosef yelled. And the car behind them blew up, waking Yosef from the dream. He then explained that he had actually gone to a church and left because the spirit in the place was one of judgment, and not of Messiah’s compassion. They talked for hours, and Yosef shared the fullness of the gospel with him.
The next day, the senior member of the group came to Yosef. On the day Yosef reported to the group, he confronted Yosef, because he thought he did not want to be there. On this day, he came to apologize. On the first day, in front of the whole group, he had asked Yosef, “how can you be so happy now, being here against your will?” Yosef had answered, “I will tell you, but it’s going to open up a can of worms.” Like baby birds they all chimed together, “You have to tell us, this is group session!” So Yosef began, “I am a follower of the Messiah; and any time I find myself in a situation I don’t like, whether I put myself there or not, I turn to Him and ask Him to help me get through it, and invariably, He does.” “So, you think you’re Daniel in the Lion’s Den?” he said sarcastically. “You guys are hardly lions”. On this night, he apologized to Yosef for trying to humiliate him, and told Yosef, “My dad is a preacher. I grew up as a believer, but when I got into the Navy I started sinning; drinking, carousing with women, all kinds of stuff I knew I should’nt do. I’ve been in this group for twelve weeks, and I have not been able to figure out how to get out of here. Your words made me feel the guilt of my sin, and I got angry. I took it out on you. I just wanted to apologize, and tell you that you’ve helped me ‘see’ what I need to do.”
For the next two days, Yosef spread joy everywhere. And then the Captain gave Yosef new orders to another duty station. The senior member of the group had tried to hang himself. The one who dated a satanist had tried to drink and drug himself to death. The one who asked Yosef for Salvation had tried to cut his wrists. The blond boy had jumped off the deck of an aircraft carrier. One of the group not yet mentioned tried to hang himself. Yosef was there because he was falsely accused of trying to kill himself, even though the Captain knew there was no evidence of it whatsoever, and did not want to ‘admit’ him. Naval regulation stated that they had to be detained for seven weeks. The group was supposed to vote each other through the steps of recovery. On day one, the whole group voted against Yosef progressing, because of his statement, “I am a follower of the Messiah; and any time I find myself in a situation I don’t like, whether I put myself there or not, I turn to Him and ask Him to help me get through it, and invariably, He does.” After only six days, Yosef was temporarily assigned to duty in an office in the same building as the group, a naval hospital. Four of the five just mentioned passed by Yosef in the break room one day. The one who asked for Salvation saw him, and they veered from their path and came into the break room. “I’m outta here next week!” he said. “Me too,” said the pastor’s son! The blond boy was grinning ear to ear and said, “I’m at step three already.” The last, the one who’d tried to hang himself, a senior chief, looked at Yosef, to whom he’d never spoken, and with tears said, “I should have voted yes for you. I wanted to. I wanted you to know I’m sorry, and I’m so glad we saw you today. You should never have been in there, you didn’t belong there.” “Yes I did; for whatever reason, He wanted me there.”
Yosef was me. Yosef was supposed to be there for six more weeks, but was realeased in six days. When I arrived, I was indeed a mite upset. But, I got down on my knees in my room and prayed these words, “Father; I do not know why I am here. But, I will stay here for thirty years, if you will allow me to bring one soul to you.” And I meant it. And in all of it, Messiah had been ‘very present’ in my time of need. There was recently an attempt to share only the ‘byline’ of this story, which I had told to a person I thought was a friend, and I told it to them in order to glorify Messiah Yeshua, who had done “great things” for me. But the byline was that I ‘was admitted to a mental insitution while he was in the Navy,” without the statement as to “why”, because I was falsely accused of trying to kill myself, and certainly without ANY mention whatever of the glorious things Yeshua did while there for a mere six days. The purpose of sharing only the byline was to twist this story, in order to denegrate me in the eyes of this other friend. I’m certain this has probably happened more than once. Why was I falsely accused of attempted suicide? Because the person I was accused by thought that I was in love with his wife. That person, a shipmate, was sent right back to sea on another boat by our “XO” [executive officer] in order to punish him for having done this. Our XO read my diary, by which this shipmate framed me, and said that I wrote better than most of his officers, and suggested I make a living at it. While on the phone with the XO, a Lieutenant Commander, he told me, “He [the shipmate who ‘turned me in’] should be the one in there, not you.” A very glorious truth of mine, one of the most powerful weeks of my life, was thus perverted, and used against me to try to paint me as unstable, even though this happened thirty-two years ago, by a person who claims to be a brother in Messiah. “27And He who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of HaRu’akh, for HaRu’akh prays for the K’doshim according to the will of Elohim. 28And we know that those who love Elohim are helped by Him in everything, for goodness to those who, from the beginning, are destined to be called.” Rom 8:28 It is the job of the serpent, however, to pervert and twist, to take what Elohim does ‘for good‘, and to make it sound evil, to twist it, to pervert it. This is not the only perversion of His goodness by this accuser, either. I will continue telling this story, even though there is always the risk of some evil person taking it and twisting it to his wicked will. Yeshua saved/rescued five people that week. I was used in that, whether hasatan will admit it or not. People who believe the perversions of hasatan are just as guilty as hasatan.
20But You, O יהוה , be not far off; O You my strength, hasten to help me. 21Deliver my soul from the sword; my only one from the power of the dog. 22Save me from the lion’s mouth; yes, from the horns of the wild-oxen do You answer me. 23I will declare Your Name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise You. 24“You that fear יהוה , praise Him; all you the seed of Ya’akov, glorify Him; and stand in awe of Him, all you the seed of Yisra’el. 25For He has not despised nor abhorred the lowliness of the poor; neither has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard.”