College freshmen are known for many things, but good sense isn't usually one of them. I was a typical college freshman when God started stirring something in my heart. It was life-changing season for me and a group of friends. Though we were learning much about what it means to be a Christian at that time, we wouldn't have received a good sense medal. We tended to pray when we should have studied, play when we should have worked, and generally react toward authority the way a young stallion responds to the approach of it's first rider.
Even with all the senseless things going on in our lives, my friends and I thought nothing of taking audacious risks as we tried to understand what it means to follow Jesus. One such risk landed us in chairs across the desk from the Governor of Arizona. It's a story of great favor which we in no way deserved.
It was the Spring of 1970. The turbulent sixties were still being lived out with millions from our generation choosing to "Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out." Stephen Stills and Buffalo Springfield had inadvertently painted a word picture of our generation:
"There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speakin' their minds
A gettin' so much resistance from behind."
In 1970, the early signs of a coming spiritual tsunami called the "Jesus Movement" were just beginning to be noticed. Viet Nam was under full assault, by our troops in Southeast Asia and by the protesters here at home. With large universities among his constituency, Arizona Governor Jack Williams had his hands full. Students were screaming for change, law enforcement was being pushed to the limits and the possibility of riots lingered in the desert heat.
So here we were, four goofy guys from a small Christian college, who got the audacious idea that we should ask for an appointment to go and pray for the governor. Looking back, I can think of a pile of reasons why almost anyone else should have done this task. We were full of spiritual fervor, but our maturity was in the tank. Still, one of us called and asked for an appointment. I don't think we were surprised that we received one.
Late one afternoon a couple weeks later we arrived at the State Capitol. We made our way to the elevator and up to the Governor's office on the top floor. The Governor's secretary graciously received us and a few minutes later we were ushered in. Governor Jack Williams greeted us with a handshake. He then asked a little about each of us. Quickly, one of the guys got to the purpose of the visit. "Governor," he said, "We have seen the news and know that you aren't very popular with many college students. We wanted you to know that we are concerned and would like it if you would let us pray for you."
It was a moment of great favor. We sat in a place we didn't deserve to be and spoke with a man who didn't have to see us. To top it all off, he very humbly and gratefully wanted our prayers. We prayed and left.
Favor is getting things you don't deserve to get, going places you don't deserve to go and meeting with people you don't deserve to meet. Jesus said, "The time of God's favor has come." (Luke 4:19) We will talk about it this weekend at Stone Ridge. Can't be there? Catch the podcast here.