Real Life Stories: "Listen."

Max is a husband, father, grandfather, lieutenant with a local police department, and a member of Real Life Church. This is his story of God showing up in his life, in his own words…

On January 12th, 2019, I was blessed to have God give me direction with a particular situation, at that particular moment. I am a lieutenant with a local police department. I’ve been in law enforcement for 28 years. On the evening of January 12th, 2019, a close friend of mine sent me a text, asking me to stop by his home. It was his birthday and he was having friends and family over for dinner. I was working that evening, and my friend Paul lives in the city next to the city I work in. So, I was able to leave my office for a bit and pop in at Paul’s party. After a short visit, I told Paul and his wife it was time for me to get back to work.

Paul, who is a retired police officer, asked me to take 6 trays of food (meat, rice, beans, salad, pita bread, etc.) back to the police station for the officers who were working. Cops will eat anything…anytime. Paul and his wife, loaded up all of the food in nice chef style bags, and sent me on my way. As I drove from Paul’s home and got on the freeway, I got a craving for a black iced tea lemonade. Normally, this wouldn’t be that unusual, but on this evening it was very cold. I exited the freeway, and picked up my iced tea.

As I drove back towards the freeway, the Lord asked me to find out if there was a “cold weather shelter” in the city. I don’t know how to describe this experience. It wasn’t an actual voice, but on the other hand it wasn’t just a thought or intuition. Up until then, I hadn’t thought about a “cold weather shelter” in the city at all. The feeling I had was strong and deliberate. There was no question about what I was to do. I immediately pulled my car over and contacted police dispatch. “Dispatch, would you please get a hold of the fire department and see if we have a ‘cold weather shelter’ in the city?” My thought was that the fire department would know because of occupancy limits and such.

Now, where I pulled my car over was basically a business area. There is a florist, a sandwich shop, Auto Zone…). Police dispatch radioed me back, “There is one shelter in the city. It’s at Santa Barbara and Lake.” I couldn’t believe it. I was parked directly in front of the small church, who was helping the cold and hungry. I got out of my car and walked around the small building. I located about 20-30 people waiting in line to check in. I asked one of the people in line what time the doors opened. He told me 8:00 (pm). I looked at my watch and it was 8:01. I then walked to the front of the line and talked to one of the volunteers. She directed me to one of the church staff. I introduced myself and told her God told me to bring food to the shelter. She smiled and said they would love to take whatever I had. I replied back, “I’m serious. God told me to find this shelter.” As it turned out, once the homeless checked in, dinner was being served. God placed me there at the exact moment.

After I left the food, I walked back to my car and began to pray. I felt blessed that God worked through me this way. The whole sequence of events were at the direction of the Lord. Oh, there’s a cherry on top. The previous Sunday, Pastor Jim preached about really trying to listen to the Lord. Sometimes we don’t listen, or want to go about our own business. On this night, God opened my ears.

-Max #RLLA