After MOPS today, I had to run an errand at the mall. As usuall, I parked in front of Borders which allows me to keep an eyeball on the best-seller racks and visualize a book with my name on the rack...
Kyle crunched on his cheezy bunnies as we cruised by the info desk.
"Hey! Hey!" I heard someone yell. I turned around to see who would be flagging me down.
I immediately recognized the caller. His name is Anthony. He was a student of mine in a study hall type class, and a very talented drummer in the Sheridan Marching Band. He was also a student that threatened me in the classroom - an incident I still cringe about.
"Hey, Anthony, what's up?" I asked thinking he must be on parole or something. I had seen him a few times since he left high school high on drugs and in trouble with the law.
"Oh, I'm with a Christian band named "Flinchpoint". We had nine gigs this last month all over the state of Colorado and have been invited to play at the larges Christian music festival in the US!"
If I were eating a cheezy bunny, I would have choked on it. At this point, my eyes registered on the cross hanging from his neck, and I saw the "Scum of the Earth" cap on his head. (Scum of the Earth is a church for people with shady pasts and incredible testimonies).
"You follow Jesus?" I asked still trying to catch my breath.
"He's my Lord and Savior. I accepted him in October of 2003. I'm not what you remember from Sheridan, I've done a complete 180, and my life is all His."
I lunged forward throwing my arms around this former student who caused me so much grief. I tried desperately to reach out to him when he was in school. He was teaching me some snare warm ups before he blew up in the classroom. I tried to encourage him to clean up his life and pursue his love of music. Drugs won. I lost. Or so I thought.
Anthony told me how he said the salvation prayer after watching a campy movie about the fires of hell, but the reality struck home the fourth time he watched the "Passion". He said God spoke to him telling him to quit playing games with Christianity. Quit sleeping with girls while trying to convert them and so on. The verse about false claims of faith plagued his mind and God told him to surrender his life completely. He did!
Anthony is a clean cut, articulate, heavy rocker dude who loves Jesus more than life itself. I told him I cried tears over the incident in the classroom and prayed for him back then. I also told him he made my day.
I walked away from my classroom position at Sheridan feeling dejected and a great failure. Here, four years later, God puts one of my scariest students in my path and he's a BROTHER in Christ!
Running into Anthony today was no accident. God wants to do something new in my life and wants to heal me and free me from the hurts of the past. God redeemed a very painful episode - one that left me traumatized and cemented my decisiton to leave the classroom.
I told Anthony he has the gift of evangelism. He does. Help me pray that God will use this talented young musician to lead thousands to Christ. This afternoon I had the best case of God-bumps to date.