IT’S A NOVEL WITH A MESSAGE: OUR UNITY IS IN CHRIST; NOT THE BALLOT BOX.
February 20th, Monday Morning, FBI Headquarters
I was livid at Pete and he knew it. “I don’t know how you came up with this. But I told you to keep me in the loop before you made operational decisions.”
I was just getting started and I continued, “Listen to me clearly, Pete, you do not get to surveil the two candidates’ employees. Do you understand?”
I paused and he didn’t respond fast enough so I said, more loudly, “Do you?”
He nodded his head, a tiny bit embarrassed.
I decided to give in and said, “Because of the Presidential campaign, I don’t want any names used in your reporting. Go to Perps #1 through #5 on all correspondence. Got it?”
And I continued. “Again, I don’t know how you came up with this information, and I don’t want to know, but what are your plans when your Perps #3, #4 and #5 have dinner together?”
“Look,” he said, getting angry at me now, “If you are not going to let me surveil them, I have no way of getting on the record exactly what they are plotting.”
I shook my head at my friend.
“Observe, that’s all, Pete. Observe.”
I got up to indicate the meeting was over, but he remained in his seat. After a moment he got up, and without a handshake left my office.
I called my receptionist, “Grace, I want to see Billy as soon as possible.”
February 21st, Tuesday Evening, Arlington VA
I introduced Issy and Dr. Dale and we sat in a booth at the P. F. Chang’s restaurant a few blocks from our home in Arlington. They initially sat us down by a window, looking out onto Glebe Road, but it was too cold there, so I asked if we could be reseated.
As they reseated us, I chuckled and told Issy and Dale, “Look at all those others moving to different tables. I guess it took us to be courageous enough to move so others could ask for different seats, too.”
We all looked but Issy’s eyes picked up something I had missed.
We immediately ordered appetizers. Issy and I got the Lettuce Wraps with their great homemade sauce and Dale asked for the Edamame which I normally don’t get because they are salty. However I was glad we got them. They weren’t as salty as I remembered. Actually, they were excellent.
We had a sweet time of fellowship, which is what I was hoping. I knew that during dinner we’d be able to talk shop, ministry and otherwise. Right now, I was just interested in getting to know this man, this servant.
The main courses came and Issy’s was the Kung Pao Chicken, with chili sauce and peanuts, but no onions and peppers. We both eat that way, no peppers and no onions, unless it’s Mexican food (which we don’t do too often because of the Fajita-Fear-Factor). I had the Fried Rice, always a favorite of mine and Dale had something new on the menu. It was called Korean Bulgogi Steak and it looked wonderful. The Mongolian glaze looked like something we could have had for dessert. I think I’ll get it the next time.
As we started to talk about our ministries, Dale reached into his pocket and pulled out a small card which he slid across the table. It was postcard weight and about four inches by five inches.
Immediately behind us a skinny customer pushed back his chair, knocking into mine. He seemed to stand up rather quickly and turn around, so I maneuvered as best I could to get out of his way. I had to lean over my table and that caused me to drag my arm through my Hot and Sour Soup. I can’t say I got grumpy, but for a moment it was an awkward situation.
Come to think of it, he never came back to his seat.
After the interruption, Dale simply said with a smile, “This is my version of P.C. which is a prayer card, as you can tell. I bring these to everyone when I am in the city.”
Issy and I leaned in together reading it.
Dale continued, “These men and women may be brilliant doctors or lawyers, but they’re not theologians, so I always make sure I leave them a card which shows them how I am praying for them.”
Issy nodded and asked, “What kind of responses do you get from these folks.”
“Oh, Issy,” he said, with genuine pain in his eyes, “My heart goes out to these men and women, and their staff.”
“How so?” she encouraged.
And then Dale sat back, clearly thinking about what he could say. We waited patiently until he leaned into us and spoke.
“Of course, like you two, I’m careful to protect sources and descriptive information, so let me just share a few generic stories.”
He now smiled humbly and said, “The pictures in my mind of these folks are all so precious. These are regular people on Capitol Hill. You know that as well as anyone.”
He went on, “A famous old guy who is now in heaven, Leonard Ravenhill, used to say, ‘A person who is intimate with God. . .’”
“Will never be intimidated by man,” I finished.
“Exactly,” said Dale, with a smile.
And then he went on. “My job, and the reason I can get into all these offices, is not because I want to fix the way some of them think. When I get to D.C. I truly do not care about their politics.”
“My job is to help them bear their burdens by[i] teaching them to cast the burden on Him who cares for them,[ii] and then I watch them receive some peace, which completely transcends their understanding,[iii] and transcends mine for that matter.”
He was speaking slowly, but we remained silent. We didn’t want to interrupt.
He confessed, “It is amazing to me, Issy and Jude, how God uses me, in spite of me. I sum up what I do like this, I encourage folk through the simple act of bearing their burdens in prayer.”
“Hmm,” I said.
“Let me tell you of the things I pray for.”
We nodded and he began, “I always stop into these offices, even if I do not have an appointment with the Congressman or Senator, because I want to leave them a new Prayer Card.”
“Well, I have a very good relationship this particular Congressman and when I stopped he was in a meeting with someone, so, like always, I dropped the card with his scheduler and left, heading down the hallway to another office.”
“And then all of a sudden, this man came charging out of his office calling my name. This guy just wanted to spend a few minutes in prayer, which we did, right there in the hallway. It was so sweet.”
“Sounds like it,” Issy said.
“A few months ago,” Dale went on. “I had an appointment with a Congressman who got tied up in a committee meeting, so the staff who are always busting their tails to help, escorted me to his committee hearing, since a break was coming up.
Dale sat there and chuckled a bit to himself. He was obviously remembering something and then he shared it with us.
“This Congressman came into the room, during his Committee meeting break and said, ‘Dale, I am so concerned for my family as I see the ways things are going in our nation.’ To which I replied, ‘Congressman, it’s only going to get worse.’ He looked at me like I had just punched him, and then I explained, ‘Paul said things would be worse before the coming of the Lord.’ But then, clearly by the grace of God, I added, ‘And that’s why God has you here, Congressman. God knows you will fervently pray for this country in ways very few can.’ I was able to encourage him, in a back-door sort of way.”
Issy and I sat there listening and contemplating what Dale was saying and the precious ministry this sweet man has.
He went on, “I don’t always get to meet with the Congressmen and women or Senators. Recently I was on my way to a Senator’s office, whom I have tried to meet with for months, but just before I got there he got a call from the Capitol and had to attend a closed door briefing of some kind.”
“So what do you do in those cases, Dale?” Issy asked.
“I pray with the staff,” he said. “When they let me,” he added.
He then told us about staff he has prayed for, including families of staff with major dysfunctions.
I said, more in passing than as a question, “It must take a while before people can trust you.”
He smiled real big and said, “Yep, and they often give a genuine sigh when they realize I don’t want anything from them.”
“I also pray for and with people I meet in the halls. I’m thinking of the guy who cleans the men’s restrooms in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, or the cook in one of the cafés. Or the group of loud people I heard walking down the halls talking about Jesus. I stopped them, told them what I do, and it was a blessing to them, and me, because we all prayed together.”
“There are so many examples. I saw a Congressman running up the stairs and I stopped him, gave him a prayer card and he went on, or the one who was coming out of the elevator and he looked really beat-up. But I gave him a prayer card and a few months later we started praying together.”
“I see the time soon when I will need to come to D.C. for three days, instead of just two.”
“I was in one Congressman’s office, and when he realized he could trust me, he sighed audibly and said, ‘Dale, why would God put me in a job I hate so much?’ Tough question. But these guys have no one to talk to about these things.”
Dinner was over and no one was interested in dessert, so we paid the bill and headed for the door. I gave Dale a man-hug and he gently hugged Issy and headed north to Fairfax Drive. He was staying at the Holiday Inn just a block up the road.
As Issy and I headed towards home, just a few blocks away, there was a lot of commotion around the restaurant, which seemed odd, for the time of night. Cars were whipping in and out of parking spots heading in the same direction Dale was walking.
As we arrived on our street, a van came towards us slowly and then sped by us. Just before it sped off, I caught a glimpse of the guy in the passenger seat. I could have sworn he was the same skinny guy who sat behind me at dinner.
When we got inside our condo, Issy said, “Did you notice when we moved tables in the restaurant how many others who also moved were wearing earpieces?”
[i] Galatians 6:2
[ii] 1 Peter 5:7
[iii] Philippians 4:7