Late on Friday nights, during my old drinking days, you would usually find me in a pub with a whole lot of other hardened drinkers. We would swap stories and tell jokes, take the mickey out of one another, and generally have loud conversations that annoyed the rest of the people in the bar. The drunker we got, the louder we became. The more whiskies that we drank, the less our brains would operate. I think I enjoyed myself at the time, but I was usually too drunk to know.
Isaiah 8:9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Towards the end of the evening, a person from the Salvation Army would come in and sell their weekly newspaper, “The War Cry.” The Salvationist went from table to table, successfully selling their bundles of papers because no one wanted to offend them.
Usually, we would by a “war Cry” between us at the table and then we would read the articles. We would all laugh at these stupid Christians, in their stupid uniforms, selling their stupid newspapers. We thought that we were way too intelligent for all that Jesus stuff, but it had a weird affect upon us; we would all start to talk about God, life, and meaning.
Sometimes I would take the paper home with me and when I was sober the next day, I would glance at the articles. For a couple of minutes I would reflect upon my own life and where it was heading, but then I would start to think about which pub I would go to drink in the evening.
I cannot say for certain that the “War Cry” had any affect upon me and led me back to Christ. But perhaps seeds of faith were being planted by God for my eventual rescue from alcoholism.
That’s why I like to write these devotionals because of the seed planting that mysteriously occurs in other people’s lives. I’ve had emails from readers all around the world telling me that something I’ve written helped them through a crisis or enabled them to reconnect to God. It’s a wonderful blessing, but it all belongs to God. He’s the One who started the process on Friday nights, in Scottish bars, more than thirty years ago.
Prayer: Lord God, Your ways are mysterious and it’s only when we look back that we can see where You were leading us. Thank You for shaping, forming, and directing our lives. Thank You for Your Holy presence throughout our days. In Jesus’ Name, we gratefully pray. Amen.