Striking a Chord


“Hey Caleb!” André cried across the street as he and I walked down the street together one night. I admit that I was shocked because I hadn’t really seen or talked to anyone on the streets in several weeks and that along with the dropping temperatures had put me into a bit of an “outreach funk.”

We walked over to where André was standing on the corner and struck up a lively conversation about the Bears and the Bulls, which I did my best to be a part of despite my dismal knowledge of professional sports. I had never met André before and I was fully prepared to spend the night taking the backseat and riding on the coattails of Caleb’s positive relationship with André. What actually happened was much cooler.

As the conversation moved on, André began branching out and talking about more serious things from his past and what he thought about the current strife that is characterizing racial relations as of late in the city. Much to my surprise, every time I offered a comment, thought, or just restated what he said to make sure I was tracking with him, he resonated deeply with whatever I said.

“I can relate to this girl,” he said.

I never thought that I would hear that sentence uttered by a man I was serving during my time at Emmaus. The differences between me and the men are large and obvious, so I knew that it would take an act of God to create understanding between us. And that is exactly what happened that night—an act of God. Being in tune with the Holy Spirit allowed André and me to understand each other at such a deep level on the first night we met.

Asking good questions, being compassionate, and offering a listening ear are all important things in communicating with other people, but the most important thing is to listen to what God is trying to do in a given situation and getting out of his way so that he can bring his Kingdom of unity and peace. So what is my prayerful response?

I can relate to these guys.

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