An Audience of One
by: Cadet Erik Muhs
The alarm went off at 6:00 am on a cold February morning. I got up and ready for my “normal” Sunday. The night before, a terrible ice storm came through and I knew it was going to take a little longer to get out of the house. I zipped up my coat and put on my boots and with a bucket of salt in hand I ventured out into a Narnia-esque landscape.
Everything was covered in ice, from my windshield, the trees and most unfortunately the uphill driveway. After cranking the heat and working up a dangerous sweat scraping off all of the ice, I went back inside to pray. At this point in my life I was in the process of becoming an accepted candidate, and I knew that this was God’s calling on my life. So with a smirk on my face I said, “Ok God, if you really want me to be an officer that means I have to be able to get to the Corps no matter what. So I’m counting on you to get me there safely, and if you do, I promise to open up the building and have a meeting with whoever shows up.”
“Ok God, if you really want me to be an officer that means I have to be able to get to the Corps no matter what. So I’m counting on you to get me there safely, and if you do, I promise to open up the building and have a meeting with whoever shows up.”
After six or seven attempts to get my front wheel drive Toyota out of the driveway, I had a brief success. Then the car slid back down the street into a snow bank and for a fleeting moment I had this feeling of just leaving it there and walking back for it in a few hours. But I knew God was looking at me and saying, just one more try, don’t give up. I stepped on the gas and made the crawl back up the street. Slipping and sliding I made it to the next one, then the next one and soon enough I was one traffic light away from the corps. That was the exact moment I got a call from my officer saying “the roads are too dangerous and we unfortunately will be closed today.”
Spurred on from the urgings of the Holy Spirit and not one to give up after all that effort, I replied “Major, I think God has other plans.”
I made it into the parking lot and started salting the sidewalks, unlocking the doors, turning on the lights, and making a fresh pot of coffee. As I went back out to salt again I saw him. With his bright red coat walking up to the building saying his normal greeting “Hello Erik Muhs, I’m on time for Sunday School.”
I smiled. “You sure are Calvin. Let’s go inside.”
For those who don’t know Calvin he is a regular at The Spring Valley Corps. He has an undiagnosed developmental disability, and anything that detracts from his normal schedule throws him off and into a panic. So we went in and I got out the Sunday School material for the adult class, made his coffee with the exact amount of creamer and sugar that he specified, and then it was time for holiness meeting. I made a copies of the program for the two of us and tried my best to muddle through it. I did the welcome and call to worship as if there we 200 people present, we sang the songbook songs, and I even squeaked my way through the offertory on my baritone.
When it came to the scripture Calvin stood up and said, “I’ll read it!” Having never heard him read out loud, I reluctantly said yes. As he read the verses in a low mutter, I prayed, “God let me say something that will help this man on his journey, and that will be praise back to you.” As he finished I started breaking down the scripture and talking about the lesson Jesus was teaching his disciples.
It was right about the time that I was wondering if the words coming from my mouth were even making sense to me that Calvin said from his usual seat, “Erik Muhs, that means we need to be nice and kind to one another right?” With eyes wide open I smiled and nodded my head. We went to the altar and prayed for his mother, the nurses at his home, and all of the people that helped him during the week.
We got up and walked to my car and Calvin looked at me. He said, “Erik Muhs, it’s too early, next time we have to go until 12 o’clock.” I smiled and told him I was sorry for being too short.
He replied, “Don’t worry Erik Muhs, I’ll forgive you. That’s what you said Jesus would do.”
As I sit here behind my desk on my summer assignment as a second year cadet. I reflect back to that time and know that God has me right where I belong, and as long as I am faithful and open to His call on my life. He will always be my most important audience of one.