**Disclaimer: I wholly acknowledge the possibility that this man was not Jesus. He could have been an angel or just another common man. But something in our encounter stirs my soul with significance – recognition in his words and demeanour. I would rather be wrong, than dismiss an encounter with Christ. For that reason, I will honour my intuition.
We ran as a family down the familiar trail path- past the zigzag bridge, over the hills and through the park. We landed at the beach. Stopping for missy’s sake, we entertained child’s play- running over jungle gyms and flying down slides. We visited briefly with neighbours, then made our way down to the beach.
This beach has been home to many encounters with Christ – all of which, my nose was immersed in The Word and my heart, deep in prayer.
This beach has become holy, in the eight years we’ve lived here.
The sun danced across the water, for the first time, in what felt like months.
My soul was downcast. I recognized it, acknowledging just yesterday, the darkness around me: depression. I was in a pit I couldn’t explain away.
Just that morning I had surrendered, asking Jesus, yet again, to fill every crevice of my being with His love and Light and Power- that He would overtake and transform me, divinely, in every way available to a human being.
Because to the fullest measure available, I want Jesus- always more.
On the east end of the beach we met a man, quite ordinary looking- middle Eastern, or European, if I had to guess. His eyes were closed, chin lifted to the sun. His mouth was moving- muttering prayers, I assumed. Something in me recognized his posture.
As we passed, he made eye contact.
“Hello.” I gestured.
He gave a simple nod.
As we turned, I spotted him watching us intently, his gaze following.
We passed him again. This time, he knelt to missy’s level.
“Hello.” He said, his voice firm, yet gentle.
He had an accent I couldn’t quite peg.
“What’s your name?” He asked her.
Silence followed, as she searched the sand.
I answered for her. I knew she couldnt.
He laughed a sly smile and looked up at me.
“I was talking to her.”
“Oh, I know,” I defended, “But she doesn’t speak much.”
“Let her speak.” He responded, as if ignoring me…
“Excuse me?!” I thought, my pride wounded. “Who are you, to speak like that.”
Missy resumed walking, my pride glad for the escape.
“Looks like we’re off!” I faked nicety.
A few steps forward I turned, my ego needing another look… Still he watched us, a grin upon his face.
“Leave her,” he said, now pointing to missy’s inquisition of the Canada Goose. “They understand each other.”
The goose had one leg. Worried she’d agitate him, I warned again. “Be careful, Sweety. Give the goose space.”
I turned to acknowledge the man.
“Looks like the goose is hurt. Only has one leg.”
“No,” He said, firmly, “She’s doing yoga… it’s a good thing.”
I laughed. Funny, I thought.
“There’s a reason for it- the yoga…” He followed up.
I was silent- perplexed. This was a strange man. Not only was he forward, His speech was cryptic, as if I knew the hidden meaning… as if he wanted me to ask another question.
But I didn’t- neither understand or ask.
I simply turned and kept walking.
I was puzzled and a little unsure about him; hurt even, by his authoritative, forward nature.
He was gentle, but his firmness cut me like a knife.
Minutes later, I turned to see him leaving, walking away, down the trail path we’d shortly return.
“What did He mean?” My soul tangled.
I felt like I had missed something.
Part of me wanted to chase after him, but I didn’t know why.
Only later, did I discover potential meaning, as if my spirit revealed His hidden message:
Let others speak first, Kailey. Don’t be so quick to talk. Listen. Let them surprise you.
Yoga: there’s a purpose to standing on one foot- learning to rest and balance in weakness. There, we find strength and peace, beyond circumstance.
Suddenly, I understood.
My soul affirmed it, as I read Jesus’ words the next morning in my bible: firm, yet gentle- authoritative and spoken in cryptic metaphor.
In the same way Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, this man had spoken to me. His posture and demeanour, identical.
Just like Jesus, He showed up in the middle of ordinary life, while on a morning family run, to redirect and change my heart.
This man had spoken life into two dark areas of my heart- places I’m currently wrestling and need assurance of his sovereignty in:
my incessant need to speak and be understood- and
my current season of life, full of weakness and imbalance.
Gentle yet firm, this man, who I believe now to be Jesus, pointed me to Truth- to the strength and peace I’m so desperately craving, in difficult, uneasy waters.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Johns 16″33