Curtis

Curtis
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In the midst of uncertainty all around us, we find great solace, peace, hope and joy in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of my favorite all-time devotions is Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. April 29 – “Certain Uncertainty” is a good one. Chamber’s articulates: “To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.” We’ve all experienced uncertainty, but let me suggest, not to the extent that Oswald suggests. Do we wait in breathless expectation for uncertainty? I know, if I’m really honest with myself that I loathe that position when and if I find myself there.

Allow me to introduce you to my new friend Curtis. I first became aware of Curtis as I drove by him here in Phoenix, AZ on warm fall day. Curtis was holding up a sign that read: Need Rent Money. I made numerous observations…he was different from many of those standing on corners holding signs. He obviously had a place to live, or he wouldn’t be asking for rent money. He face was without expression. The next day, same intersection I encountered Curtis again, but this time with a different sign: Best Watch Repair at Diamond Jim’s Jewelry. Curtis had gotten himself a job flipping a sign at a busy intersection. Good for him, I thought. His face still without expression. For the next three days I saw Curtis flipping that sign from 9am to 5pm. Then, no more Curtis. I watched for and waited for Curtis to reappear. The following weekend, there was Curtis again, but with his Need Rent Money sign. I decided to stop and talk with Curtis. We had a pleasant conversation. He informed me that in his early 40’s he’d had numerous mini-strokes, wanted to work, but no one would hire him when they found out he was partially disabled. He had an apartment, (btw…it was 30 blocks from the intersection he and I stood at and talked) and his landlord was very lenient and allowed him to pay his rent late most months. I asked him what he was able to bring in on a good day with the Need Rent Money sign. He said $40.00 was a great day. This routine became the norm for Curtis. Several days with Best Watch Repair at Diamond Jim’s Jewelry sign and then typically the last and first several days of each month he had the Need Rent Money sign.

Then, to my dismay, Curtis disappeared. This past weekend I was elated to see Curtis again, holding his Need Rent Money sign. I stopped again and we had a long conversation. Lot’s more background and information that I won’t bore you with. Bottom line was that Curtis’s apartment complex burned to the ground in February. (I have verified that.) He was living, when he could afford to in an extended stay motel. And when he couldn’t – on the street. We talked and talked.

All that as background for this ending of “Curtis”…I asked Curtis if he knew who God was. He said he did. I asked him if he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He indicated he did. He then asked me, do you know Jesus? I enthusiastically affirmed that I did. I asked him, where does God fit in all that you are going through? What he told me left me speechless, ashamed at my personal unbelief, with tears in my eyes, and a grateful, grateful heart!

Curtis said: God has a plan for my life. I don’t understand it sometimes, and it’s frustrating often times. But this fact I know – Jesus suffered more than I’ll ever suffer. While life is uncertain for me, it isn’t for Him. He knows exactly what He is doing. I offered some input at that time. Curtis, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying – My job isn’t to question God, or my circumstances, but to get up each day and figure out what sign I’m going to hold. He said you’re exactly right.

So my question for you, for me… Do we wait in breathless expectation for uncertainty? Do you believe that in an uncertain world, we serve a certain God? Do we really believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever? (Hebrews 13:8) Do we get up each morning and embrace the day that God has put in front of us?

Curtis does.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Joe.

  2. Joe,

    A painful and timely reminder for me….

  3. Thanks for sharing and the reminder Joe! (shared this link to my Google+ circles in hopes it encourages many more)

  4. God bless Curtis.