(A young man gets an unexpected blessing and a long-awaited answer to prayer).
“Wow, thank you Lord for creating the most perfect day ever!”
Brad said that as he sat on his porch in the early morning sun and looked out over his garden. He worked part time and today was one of the days he didn’t have to work, so he wanted to enjoy it to the full.
It was early spring and the flowers were beginning to blossom all over. The birds were putting on quite a song performance, and the air was fresh after a nice rain shower the night before.
Brad smiled as he took a sip of his cappuccino coffee. Then he said,
“Thank you Lord. I just feel like some good things are on the horizon.”
As he sipped his coffee some more, he opened his iPad and began to read one of his favorite gospel accounts in Luke. While he was busy reading his phone rang.
For a moment he was a bit annoyed and thought the enemy was trying to disrupt the nice flow he was in. He wondered if he should just leave it, but then he thought maybe someone needed ministry, so he picked it up and said hello.
“Hey Brad, how are you? This is Clayton.”
Brad was so surprised to hear from Clayton. He was a fellow Bible School student that Brad had lost contact with and hadn’t seen for years.
“Wow, how awesome to hear from you again!” Brad said. “I didn’t recognize that it was you. I lost my phone and had to get a new one, so I lost all my Contacts. What are you doing? The last time I heard from you, you were about to go on a mission trip.”
“You are right. I am back now though and would just love to catch up with you. Are you doing anything on Saturday next week? If not, why not come over to my house and we can have a good catch up session. What do you think? Is that possible?”
Brad looked at his schedule then said,
“Saturday next week is perfect! I have a speaking engagement on Friday and something again on Sunday, but Saturday is free.”
“Awesome!” Clayton said. “I will send you my address. Do you want to come round about 12? We can have some lunch together. Sorry to cut this short but I can’t talk much now. I am about to rush to a meeting. I’m looking forward to catching up on everything when we meet. See you then.”
The two friends said good bye and Brad sat for a moment in amazement. He and Clayton had been part of a group of eight people who had become good friends at Bible School. They studied together, prayed together and ministered together, and by the time their training was up they were a united force.
Brad had lost contact with most of them when he lost his phone. This included Clayton, which is why he was so surprised to hear from him. Now at least he could add him to his contacts.
He finished reading the Bible passage and drained the last sip of coffee when he was done. He closed his device and began to praise the Lord again. He had a sense of excitement building up in him that he couldn’t explain.
“Whatever this is, I believe it is something good,” he thought.
He took his cup inside, washed it, then began to busy himself writing an article for his mailing list. He also continued doing some work on a book he was writing.
Keeping busy helped the time to go quickly until the meeting on Saturday. He was excited because they had not seen each other for two years.
Saturday morning finally arrived, and Brad punched Clayton’s address into his GPS. He followed the route so that he knew exactly where he needed to go. It was simple enough. It would take him 20 minutes and he would be there.
As he got into the car to head for Clayton’s house, he prayed quickly and said,
“Lord, I don’t believe this is a coincidence. I know that your timing is always perfect, so I’m asking you to just be very present and confirm if you have a purpose in this meeting. Thank you Lord.”
Then he started the car and drove quickly along the route that the GPS took him. He took the highway exit and made his way through the beautiful suburb that Clayton lived in.
“Wow, he must be doing okay. The houses here are gorgeous,” he thought to himself.
Brad soon found the house. As he opened the gate he was greeted by a friendly Labrador, who barked excitedly and alerted Clayton that he was there.
He was halfway down the winding path to the front door when it swung open. Clayton stood there with a huge smile on his face and walked towards Brad. He gave him a big hug and said,
“I’m so pleased you could make it! Welcome to my little pad. Come on in.”
Brad followed him into a small entrance hall that was decorated with lots of plants. Then he pointed to a room on the side and said,
“Let’s go to the lounge here.”
Brad once again followed Clayton to the lounge. Then as he walked in, he heard a bunch of people shouting,
What a surprise that really was. Suddenly the rest of his Bible School friends walked into the lounge. They had been standing behind a wall in the dining room that was attached to the lounge and were waiting for his grand entrance.
Brad didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was just amazing! They all began to greet him, and for a moment there was a noise of excitement as everyone began to say hello and started talking loudly.
Brad turned to Clayton and said,
“Wow, this was so unexpected. How did you manage to pull this off?”
Clayton laughed and said,
“With a lot of juggling and difficulty! In fact I have a confession to make. When I phoned you and heard that you could make it today, I didn’t actually have a meeting to run to. I quickly phoned everyone to confirm that Saturday was finally good for everyone and don’t dare make any other plans!”
“Wow, it is so awesome to see everyone again.”
They settled down and began to talk about what was happening in their lives, where they were living and what ministry they were doing. As they did this, Clayton organized for his guests to get some drinks, then he went to collect everything for lunch.
Each of the other friends had brought something with them to contribute to the meal. When Brad saw that he was the only one who didn’t bring something he was embarrassed.
“Why didn’t you tell me you wanted me to bring something with?” He asked Clayton. “I feel really bad about this.”
Clayton patted him on the shoulder and said,
“Don’t worry about it. You will find out soon enough why I did this.”
Once everyone had their drinks he called them all to the dining room. They prayed and thanked the Lord for His blessing, then everyone helped themselves to the wonderful selection of food.
While everyone was eating, Clayton raised his hand to get their attention. Then he said,
“Brad, this wasn’t only a surprise reunion for everyone in our class. There is another surprise that we have. We know that it is your birthday tomorrow, so we wanted to bless you too.”
Brad’s eyes opened wide and he said,
“How did you know?”
Clayton gave a little chuckle and said,
“I am Mr Know-it-all, remember. I have a note of everyone’s birthdays, email addresses, phone numbers and everything. You need info? I can give it.”
Everyone laughed, then Clayton continued.
“Brad, to bless you on your birthday, we have all contributed to get you a ticket to go to the Walk in Your Blessing Show. The others have paid for you and me to go whenever there is an opening. Everyone knows I also wanted to go to the show.
They are pretty booked up for the next two weeks, but afterwards they seem to have more openings. I know that going to the show has always been your desire, and everyone has been happy to bless us.”
Brad’s eyes misted up with tears. As he wiped his eyes he said,
“Oh my, I don’t know how to thank you all. And Clayton you are amazing that you remember so many little things.”
The Walk in Your Blessing Show was a talk show conducted by a local pastor. Each week he had a different guest who discussed all sorts of spiritual things. It was shown live on TV, but you could also pay to be part of the studio audience, which is what his fellow students did.
Once everyone had finished eating, Clayton said,
“Before we go back to the lounge for coffee, let’s all gather round Brad and just speak blessing on him for the year ahead.”
They formed a semi circle around Brad, and began to pray for him and speak blessing on him. There was one person who hadn’t prayed. His name was Nathan and he waited for a minute before saying anything. He moved in Prophetic Ministry and after a short while he said,
“Brad, I see the Lord giving you a special gift right now. I don’t know what it is, but I just see Him giving it to you and you are rejoicing like a kid getting his best birthday gift ever. It looks like something very special to you.
He wants to say to you, I have seen your faithfulness to me and your desire to always flow out in love to others. I have seen your commitment to me, and how you have followed through no matter what has been going on in your life.
And now I want to reward you, says the Lord. I want to bless you more abundantly than you have known before, and I will give you your heart’s desire.
So rest in me and know that I am well pleased with you. And soon you will see the manifestation of what I am promising you taking place, says the Lord.”
“Wow, thank you so much Lord,” Brad said. “And thank you Nathan for bringing this word to me. I felt a strong anointing on it.”
They moved to the lounge then and had their coffees. The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up on old times, and remembering funny or tear jerker moments at College.
The time sped by and soon it was time to go. As Brad was getting ready to leave with the others, Clayton said,
“Before you go, why not just stick around here for a few more minutes and let’s look for a date when we can go to the Blessing Show. We can book officially then.”
They found a suitable date for a month ahead, then Brad said good bye. He gave Clayton a hug and said,
“Thank you so much for blessing me in such a wonderful way! I just pray that the Lord would pay you back a hundredfold in your own life.”
“My pleasure, Brad. Keep in touch okay, otherwise we will see you in a month.”
Brad headed for his home, and his head was spinning as he drove back. He couldn’t believe what a wonderful day it had turned out to be and he continually thanked the Lord for it.
He couldn’t wait to finally get to the Walk in Your Blessing Show, and the month seemed to drag by forever. To make the time go faster, he immersed himself in work and doing volunteer ministry for his church. Keeping busy helped the time to go faster because he couldn’t sit around all day and think about it.
Soon enough the day arrived, and Brad met at Clayton’s home an hour before it started. Clayton lived fairly close to where the auditorium was, but they still went early and were one of the first people to arrive.
They gave their tickets to someone at the door and soon found their seats. There were about 10 rows of seats and about 10 seats in each row, so the auditorium held a fair number of people.
Brad and Clayton sat in the middle, between the front and the back, and they had a good view of the stage. There were two big video cameras on tripods on either side of the stage which was obviously how they videoed the show and broadcast it.
The auditorium filled up quickly and the camera men took their stand behind the cameras.
“I guess they are going to start soon,” Brad commented.
He felt a wave of excitement come over him as Jim, the presenter of the program, came onto the stage a minute later. It was wonderful to see this powerful man of God live.
Jim welcomed everyone, then he began to share a few things about what the Lord was doing in his ministry. When he was done he said,
“But now let me introduce my very special guest this evening. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a big welcome to Will Jones of Agape Love Ministries.”
The audience applauded and Will walked onto the stage. Jim stood up to greet him, then they shook hands and sat down on the comfortable chairs on the stage.
Clayton turned to Brad and whispered,
“Hey, he has the same surname as you.”
Brad smiled and said,
“Well there are tons of Jones’s in the world you know. My brother’s name was Will though, so that is a bit of a coincidence.”
Jim shared a little bit about Will and his ministry, then said,
“You have had quite a difficult life haven’t you? Why don’t you tell us about it and share what the Lord has done in your life.”
“Sure,” Will said. “I grew up in a Christian home with Christian parents. My mom was a strong, committed woman who served the Lord faithfully and instilled a strong faith into me and my younger brother.
My dad believed in the Lord and served Him, but he was somewhat lacking in my mom’s commitment. Quite clearly this was too much for my dad. Looking back, I think he felt that she overshadowed him spiritually and it led to a big stress in the home.
I don’t really know what happened because I was very young at the time. But my folks went through a very messy divorce when I was about 6 and my brother was 4. I ended up going with my dad and my brother with my mom, so the whole family ended up being split.
My dad joined the military soon after the divorce and I ended up going all over the place. I saw my mom and brother three or four times in a couple of years. Then we were sent to the opposite side of the country and we hardly had any contact with them any more.
I was devastated because my brother and I were so close. I cried for him over and over again and nagged my dad to let me see him and my mom again. But one day he said it was over and I would never see my brother again because he had died.”
At that point Brad let out an audible gasp. Clayton looked shocked and whispered,
“Are you okay, bro?”
“Yes I’m fine. I’m just shocked though because Will is my brother; the one I have been looking for for the last 15 years! His story is exactly what happened with our family.”
After sharing some more things Will continued.
“When we were in the military I got so frustrated. We were sent all over the place, wherever there was a need, so I could never make any real friends. I think I went to 10 or 11 different schools during the course of my dad’s military career.
At one stage I confess that I became bitter with him and even bitter with the Lord. I was angry that the beautiful family I knew when I was young got broken up and torn apart. The Lord had to deal with me when I went into the ministry and I had to learn to let it go and forgive my dad.
You see it doesn’t matter what happens in your life. There is never an excuse to get bitter. You have to learn to keep walking in love, hence the name of my ministry.”
Jim talked to him about some other things, then asked Will about his strong spiritual commitment. In response he said,
“I owe that to my mom. She instilled a love for the Lord in my brother and I that I couldn’t shake. She was a real example of how someone who is following the Lord should live and act. I guess it just became part of my life and I continued going on for the Lord.”
After an hour the show was over. As everyone was getting up to leave, Brad said to Clayton,
“Do you mind waiting for me for about 10 minutes max? I want to see if I can talk to Will.”
“Sure, no problem,” Clayton said. “I will wait in the car for you.”
The auditorium cleared quickly, but Jim was still on the stage getting his laptop and other equipment together. Brad walked quickly onto the stage and said,
“Excuse me but do you know if Will is still here? If he is I would like to talk to him for just a minute. It’s important.”
Jim looked at his watch and said,
“Okay, but please don’t be long. We have to close up here in 15 minutes. You can come with me.”
He led Brad down a passageway to a closed door that said Guest Speakers. He knocked on the door, opened it and peeped around the corner. Then he said,
“Will, do you have a minute to speak to someone? He says it is important.”
“Sure, no problem.”
Brad walked into the room and Will said,
“Hello, what can I do for you?”
Brad began and said,
“I just want to say that I was really blessed by what you shared tonight.”
“Thank you so much,” Will responded.
Then Brad continued and said,
“I also want to let you know however that your brother is not dead.”
“And how on earth would you know what?” Will asked as he raised his eyebrows.
Brad continued, “Because I am your brother, Brad Jones.”
“Sorry, but you must be mistaken. My brother is dead and my dad would not lie to me. Just because you have the same surname as me isn’t convincing. It is just a coincidence. I don’t know what sick game you are playing with me, but I’m sorry I don’t have time for this!”
Jim was in the next door room and heard Will talking loudly. He popped his head in again and said,
“Are you okay? Do you need security?”
Will was about to answer, but Brad jumped in quickly and said,
“Can you give me 1 more minute? I can prove it to you.”
Jim said, “You heard him; 1 minute only!”
Will stood with his arms crossed like a bouncer at a discotheque and said,
“Nobody else will know this,” Brad said. “If this isn’t proof that I am legitimate, I don’t know what is.”
Then he began to sing a short song that their mother always sang to them before they went to sleep. It went like this.
You’re a child of the king of kings
And He keeps you under His wings
So follow the Lord and walk in His ways
And you’ll see His blessing all of your days
Will dropped his strong man stance and his eyes filled with tears. He began to sob and said,
“Oh my God, I can’t believe that dad lied to me! How could he do that?”
“I did actually die, Will. I came down with meningitis and died in hospital after being in a coma for a week. They did however manage to start my heart up again. I was in hospital recovering for about 3 weeks after that. Maybe somehow there was a misunderstanding and dad didn’t hear that I had recovered.”
Will blew his nose and wiped his eyes with a tissue. Then he said,
“Anything is possible. Life in the military was one big stress after the other, and dad often forgot to tell me things or was too busy to communicate properly.
I can’t believe this. Come here and give me a hug! Sorry I was such a bear with a sore head just now.”
They embraced each other and both of them cried tears of joy. Then Brad said,
“Do you know how long I have been looking for you and praying about finding you? It’s been at least 15 years; maybe more. When I finally tried to trace where dad might be in the military, they said he had retired shortly before that time, so they didn’t know where he was.
But you know what? The Lord always answers, even if it takes a long time before the answer comes.”
Jim was finished in his dressing room and came to find out what was going on with the two of them next door. When they told him what had happened, he also could not hold back the tears.
“Wow I am so happy for you. Praise the Lord! It seems this was really part of His plan to bring you together again.”
He looked at his watch then and said,
“Hey, sorry to put the pressure on, but we really need to lock up.”
“Sure, no problem,” Will said as he picked up his overcoat. “Brad, we need to get together and talk about everything. Can you give me your phone number?”
They walked out to the car park and Brad said to Will,
“Come and meet my best friend from Bible School.”
Clayton was sitting in the car listening to some Christian music with his eyes closed. Brad opened the door, and Clayton opened his eyes and stopped the music. Then Brad introduced Will to him and shared what had happened.
“Oh my word, Brad. The Lord really meant it when he said He had something special for you! Why don’t you both come back to my place for coffee. I want to hear the whole story.”
All three of them headed back to Clayton’s house and spent until long after midnight, talking and catching up on so many things.
As Brad and Will were finally leaving, Clayton said to Will,
“Brad is like family to me. And because you are his brother you are like family to me too. Welcome! I need to introduce the group to our new family member soon.”
Clayton now added Will’s phone number to his list of know-it-all things and said he would keep in touch. Will and Brad then left to go to their separate homes.
When Brad finally got home he was really weary and thought it was just because it was so late. But it wasn’t just physical weariness he was experiencing. His emotions had been on a crazy roller coaster ride that evening as well.
He put on his pajamas and climbed quickly into bed. But before his eyes closed, he still took the time to thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of answered prayer that he had received.
“Lord I want to praise you. You are just so amazing! Thank you for answering my prayers. I can never praise you enough.”
Then he switched off the light and drifted off into the best sleep he had ever had.