Thinking of you Mr. Fly
I will never forget the day I saw the man who sat on his front porch in a tattered lawn chair. His stained white t-shirt and faded levi’s hung loose on his body. I couldn’t help but notice that his gray hair was slicked over to one side and that he badly needed a shave. He was the only one outside that day, alone in the little row of houses known as the projects.
As I slowly drove by, I found myself drawn to him. Actually, my heart pounded in my chest. I wanted to stop and introduce myself, but my thoughts prevented me from doing so.
He will think I’m crazy…
It might not be safe…
I drove on by, and yet, I could not get him off my mind. After church the following day, I asked Troy if he would go with me; he not only agreed, but thought it would be a great idea to take the children. On our way, we stopped and picked up a new pack of Hanes white t-shirts, and off we went for a visit.
Happy to see that he was again perched on his porch, we approached the weathered man. He welcomed the unexpected company and told us his name was Mr. Fly. Further conversation revealed that he had served in the armed forces and had but one living relative; a son who rarely visited. A disposable type phone was Mr. Fly’s only means of contacting him.
“This old phone ran out of minutes weeks ago. I haven’t been able to reach him and I desperately want to see him,” he said.
We promised to add minutes to his phone and to return the following day. That night I found myself praying for Mr. Fly, hoping to understand the Lord’s purpose behind these visits. There was just one problem: I was scared to death! I was still much too young in my faith to openly speak of the Lord with any one, much less a man I hardly knew. Doubts flooded my mind.
I don’t know what to say to him about Jesus…
Why would this man want to listen to me…?
I returned the next day with his phone and the promised mintues, and was rewarded by the joy that spread across his face. From this, I couldn’t help but notice a small shift had occurred in our relationship, almost as though a degree of trust had been established. So, as I prepared to leave, I felt comfortable enough to kneel down in front of him and ask, “Mr. Fly, do you know my friend Jesus?”
Bowing his head, he replied, “I’ve been a very bad boy.”
“Mr. Fly, I’ve done a lot of terrible things too, but it doesn’t matter. God forgives us.”
Silence. Not only from him, but from me as well. I did not know what else to do or say at that point, and so I left.
Days passed. For the life of me, I could not stop thinking about this man. I decided to visit again. With soup in hand, I drove to the small brick apartment. Though a sunny day, Mr. Fly wasn’t on the porch. I walked up to the door and knocked. After no response, I peeped in through the window. Panic ran through my bones as I saw Mr. Fly lying across the bed with his legs hanging off the side. I urgently began to bang on the door.
“Mr. Fly! Mr. Fly, are you ok? Please wake up!”
I knocked for more than five minutes, and just when I was about to call for help, he stumbled off the bed and headed to the door. His mannerisms seemed to indicate that he was drunk.
“What do you want?” he yelled.
“I brought you some soup Mr. Fly. Are you ok?”
“Set it on the table and leave me alone. I’m a bad boy.”
With tears in my eyes and a broken heart, I left once again. Troy told me that I should not go back unless he was with me. I knew he was right, but two days later, I thought it wouldn’t hurt just to drive by and see if he was sitting on the porch.
As I drew near, I slowed to a stop in the middle of the road. My eyes could not believe what I saw. A wreath was hanging on the door and his favorite lawn-chair had been removed.
“No! Please no!” I cried.
Over the years, I have continued to think of Mr. Fly. I see in hindsight with certainity that the Lord sent me there that day, but I am less certain as to His purpose. Was I sent in order to provide this man with minutes on a phone, that he might reconnect with his son, or was I to be an image of God’s love? Even though Mr. Fly saw himself as a “bad boy,” God clearly wanted him to feel loved and acknowledged. And yet, I really questioned, “Why me?” God could have sent someone far more equipped, so why didn’t He? Such questions are useless, however, for not only do we lack the proper understanding, but God does not make mistakes.
“I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
After that day, I became determined to ensure that I was equipped to give an account of the hope that lives within me to anyone that needed to hear it. I have also learned to trust that the Holy Spirit is ceaselessly working behind the scenes. Even now I pray that Mr. Fly cried out to the Lord in his last hours, because,
“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
Now here is the question for you. Are you prepared to tell another where your hope comes from? Or will you allow the hope that you bring to be silenced by doubt?
I love this! It’s uncomfortable to step out but so necessary when the Holy Spirit nudges us. Thankful for you and your sharing.
Thank you Linda! It’s crazy how uncomfortable it can be at times. Yet, when the Spirit nudges, if we would only stop and realize that He is right there cheering us on, “You can do it!”
Thank you Cindy! God’s faithfulness blows me away. Give that cousin of mine a big hug. I love you both!
Oh Rhonda, I am so touched after reading this. We are here to fulfill Gods Purpose and to witness for Gods Love and forgiveness. Thank You for sharing this and as I think of Opportunities I have had and let get by, I am ashamed for this. God has shown mercy on my failures and is giving me more opportunities that I want to do his will . You planted the seed for Mr.Fly and as a Christian serving you were obedient to Gods calling and this is all he expects from you ! Exodus 19:5 “Now if you obey and keep my covenant, then out of All Nation you will be my treasured Possession” Rhonda May God continue to Bless you in your ministry
Lesa, Thank you so much! Girl, we are all a work in progress, aren’t we? I posted about Mr. Fly because he was instrumental in my journey. The talks that God and I have had are truly comical. It blows my mind at the times I have said to the maker of the Heavens and the earth, “I can’t do that!” I’m sure He laughs and says, “Oh yes you can!” He loves us so and I love you!
I have many times let doubt hinder me from witnessing. Will this person think less of me? Will I mess up and they won’t ever find Jesus and salvation? Do I know for sure God is calling me to speak to this loved one or friend? Oh, I am just not sure if this is the right time! Lord help me to not doubt but believe that when I feel that tug it is You!!
Mrs. Brigham, You said it better than me! Those are the exact doubts that raged my mind. Please understand that I am not a theologian, just a lover of God’s word, but over the years, God has taught me to pay special attention to my thoughts and most especially how the enemy plays with our minds. It started with our friend Eve. It boils down to the fact that we are in a battle between good and evil. If God asks us to do something, it is to advance the kingdom of God. I could not understand why God chose me to see Mr. Fly, but who am I to question God? I didn’t even go into all the shame after Mr. Fly died. “It’s all my fault. I should have gone back sooner. Is he in hell because of me?” I have been in situations since then that I felt the Spirit give me words and other times not so much! I look at it this way–I try to be a seed planter, praying that the seeds fall on good soil; then leave the rest in God’s hands. Most assuredly, if our thoughts are keeping us from doing good for the kingdom of God, the enemy is at work. Take those thoughts captive. I remember well a story from Rick Warren about his father on his dying bed. His dads last words to Rick were, “Save one more for Jesus.” May we all keep that perspective in our minds and hearts! I love you so.
Well said, Rhonda! Jesus is calling and knocking and uses us to love others. Keep wittinessing and writing.
Beth, So good to hear from you! Thank you for your encouragement. How is your book coming?
This story really touched my heart as I like most of us know that we walked away from many opportunities that we were called to.
I know I have questioned that quiet but distinct voice because of fear or ridicule. Thanks for this reminder
Julia, It makes so much sense when we just stop and think about it for a minute. Of course, doubts are going to come swiftly because the enemy will do whatever he can to make sure it doesn’t happen! If it isn’t doubts it’s, “I’m too tired right now.” Makes me want to stomp my size 8!
Never doubt how you are being used by the kingdom Julia!
Absolutely beautiful, Rhonda! I can envision you kneeling down asking if he knows your friend, Jesus. I love your heart, my sweet friend! ❤️❤️❤️
Sarah, Can you also envision my big eyes when I couldn’t figure what else to say? 🙂 That entire scene has played through my mind a thousand times. God used that to teach me so many things. Thank you for loving me so well and always being an encourager. I love you too!
Such a lovely story. So many are sad and lonely and small gestures can be so meaningful. Thanks for such inspiration!
Thank you Debbie! These comments have encouraged me so much this morning to keep writing. God has given me so many stories, but I was petrified to write. We serve an amazing God.