He was just a white kid in a Bronco’s football jersey, maybe mid-20s. He looked like all the other white kids with shopping bags leaving the mall. He walked right past our window as we sat in the downtown pizza shop. The second I saw him the strange thought came to my mind with surprising force: “God is doing something in his life.”

I dismissed it as vague and random I watched him disappear down the sidewalk. Weird thing to notice, and what should I do about it anyway?

I continued my conversation with my friends. A few minutes later, I turned around, probably to find where John went, and there was the guy with the dark blue jersey, the one I’d just seen, the one God was working on, standing in the pizza shop.

I didn’t say anything cause God hadn’t said anything besides he was working on him. And that’s really just not a way to start a conversation.

But the white boy in the football jersey just stood there, with sad eyes somewhere else, waiting for his pizza. And I had the sense that maybe I needed to tell him what I heard, and I asked God if he wouldn’t mind telling me one more thing so I didn’t feel so random. I sensed there was a change in his life, a sad change, but it still didn’t come in clear.

Nevertheless, I felt responsible for him, like if he left there and committed suicide and pizza was his last meal, that I could’ve done something.

I walked up and asked his name and told him mine. And I told him God said he working in his life, but he didn’t tell me what was going on. “So what’s going on?” I asked. He told me his wife was about to divorce him, and his eyes filled up with tears. I kept saying, “I’m sorry,” and he kept saying, “It’s not your fault,” and I knew that, but I wasn’t going to try to fix it.

So I didn’t try to fix it. I just told him that must be really sad and hard, and divorce feels so bad. And then I said we had people who come to our house on Tuesdays, and we have a church where he could get hugs and be understood, and if he wanted any of that, he could come. I wrote down my address on a pizza box in case he wanted to come to our group, and maybe that was a terrible idea, but I suspect it wasn’t.


Before we parted ways, I prayed for him because I wanted to do something really meaningful. Something that might actually have the power to change him besides an invitation to come sit on our couch. He thanked me for talking with him, and I think he really meant it.

This guy in the Bronco’s jersey was special, but the truth is, God is doing something in everyone’s life. Yet most people don’t stand out to me like this. It’s not because I can’t hear God talk about people. It’s because I don’t want to. It’s because it’s inconvenient. It’s because I will have to stop what I’m doing and risk looking crazy and start a conversation on basically nothing. I know this is random and my name is Sarah but God said something about you and I don’t know what I’m talking about… That’s what it sounds like coming out of my mouth.

But I think saving life will always be inconvenient. I can’t think of a time when salvation fits neatly into the agenda.

God, I’m selfish so I you will just have to bug me and help me love better. I need to love myself more so I can others better. I want to be marked by love so make this encounter the rule and not the exception. Amen.

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One thought on “An Inconvenient God In The Pizza Shop

  1. Mmm!!! My heart is warm and I’m squealing. I am so proud of you.

    This paragraph:

    Nevertheless, I felt responsible for him, like if he left there and committed suicide and pizza was his last meal, that I could’ve done something.

    Made me react like this:

    (clapping with anticipation)

    Cuz I knew what was coming. I knew you followed through and chose love and courage instead of fear and doubt.

    GO SARAH!!!

    PS I like your prayer at the end. Thanks for being honest with God/us/yourself.


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