July 8, 2019 was a day just like any other day. Only one thing was different. I had an appointment to keep that morning. I drove to the location and entered the building hoping to be done and back home in a couple of hours. However, that was not the case. I walked to the office and up to the desk. The gentleman behind the desk asked for my identification card but I did not have one. He handed me a piece of paper and told me to fill it out. I did and then he told me to take a number. My number was “77,” so I knew it was going to be a little while. Forget the couple of hours idea. I asked the gentleman about how long the wait would be, and he tells me that their computer system is down and it will be at least an hour before they start calling people back. I looked at my watch and begin to decide how to adjust my schedule. The office was crowded and I finally spotted a seat. I sat down and begin to read a book by Lynn Anderson, “They Smell Like Sheep” volume 2. As I was reading, the gentleman sitting next to me asked what the name of the book was and I told him. He just replied “uh.”
Finally the system was up and running and numbers were being called. An attendant called “36” and the person waited and watched for any sign of movement. As “36” made their way to the desk, the attendant spoke a kind word to the person. I notice the appearance of “36” and thought to myself about the kind of life this person might have had. One older gentleman made his way to the desk to get his number. I noticed his dress as well. It was a suit. The suit hung kinda limp on his small frame. A banker, or a lawyer, or maybe an educator in his early life. He was frail and kind of shaky as he walked. I started to offer him my seat but he found one that was closer to where he was.
One of the attendants came out and said in his Bob Barker voice of The Price is Right, “Number ’41’ come on down!” It brought a chuckle to the crowd. Of the attendants, I thought to myself, is he the one who will be calling my number.? That was a pleasant thought. As I sat there, I begin to say a prayer for God to lead me to the attendant that He had for me. As each one came out, I thought “Is this the one?”
Now we had reached “54.” Again, I glanced at my number “77” to make sure it had not changed in my pocket. I continued to read my book. But I could not help but watch the individuals who were assigned a certain number. My mind thought about them and the difficulties they had endured. For some, just getting ready for this appointment was a monumental task. I begin to say a prayer for these ‘assigned number’ individuals as they were being called back. “Number “59,” come on down. How are you today Mr. Smith? Come on back with me.”
"Excuse me, I am “56” and you just called ’59.’ Did you call my number and I not hear?” The gentleman handing out the numbers said, “No sir, but this person needed to go ahead of you." Then I noticed the 8x11 sign on the counter. It said that because of some medical reasons, numbers may be called out of order. I looked again at my number “77” and wondered if my counting down was going to be interrupted. I decided that if that was the case, I would be glad to give up my place in line.
As I was continue to watch, I noticed the staff behind the desk. Some were busy repairing something. A nice lady was reloading the paper in her machine and doing her job at the same time. She was multitasking so-to-speak.
I determine to make the best of this time and that is the reason I brought my book. But the LORD had other plans for me. He wanted me to be a prayer warrior for each person who I witnessed being called for their appointment. "Number ’70,’ Ms Clark?” Waiting for a movement. Second call for Ms Clark, number “70.” Still no response. She made a note on the paper and handed it back to the lady at the desk.
They had the old fashioned way of keeping the numbers current. Each time the attendant would take the front number, they would move the other numbers closer to the front while they were waiting on the individuals to make their way to the counter. Sometimes the old fashioned way is better. This was definitely different than the way it was done at the front desk. There you signed in and took a number that was printed on a slip of paper as well. But the difference was that when your number came up, it was printed on the monitor and you could see it. Back at my appointment, the manual system seemed to be working because everyone was following script. The reason for the hour delay was because the computer system was down. The manual system doesn’t fail unless someone doesn’t do their part.
As I sat there, “73” was called. Again I noticed my number and then watched as my number moved closer to the front of the list. Who would it be? The Bob Barker guy? The Lady with the fancy hair do? Maybe the older “business only” guy. The LORD knew so I simply trusted His leading. He knew who I was to give an encouraging word to and hand them a small cross. “76” yeah, I am next, unless there is a medical condition individual that needs attention before me.
Then this lady came out and picked up number “77” and called my name. I recognized her. As I was coming into he building earlier, I almost bumped into her. She said, “I remember you.” I am not sure if made that kind of impression on her or was it my clumsiness. I am going to trust that it was the first. As she escorted me back to her cubby hole she wanted to know how my day was going. I told her that I was having a great day. It was a day the LORD had designed for me. “How is your day going for you?” I asked. She responded that it was a Monday. I told her that I had already prayed for her this morning and that her day was going to be great as well. After the testing, she ask me what I did in my work life. I gladly told her that I was a shepherd of God’s flock. Her response was, “I knew that. I knew that you were serving God in some way.” I told her that I had been doing that for over 49 years and it was hard for me to hold down a job. She laughed. Before I left I handed her one of the small crosses that I carry to share and give a word of encouragement. She took the cross and told me how grateful she was that God would send someone to give her that little bit of encouragement.
As I walked out of the office, I heard Bob Barker call out, “’86,’ come on down!” Thank you LORD for the day and the number I was given. It was a pleasure to take a seat and have the opportunity of praying for these individuals as they made their way back. It was a good day.