A very clear answer

“The silent ceiling finally opened up with a very clear and direct answer. I call these thoughts or answers to prayer triple A’s. Almost An Audible.”

~ Tony

The Calgarian Visitor

A few years ago I was in Calgary on a business trip and staying at a hotel downtown. One morning I decided to go for a walk with the intent of finding somewhere to eat a late breakfast. The hotel restaurant had stopped serving and besides, seeing more of downtown Calgary sounded like a good idea. I cannot recall the exact date but it was during the time of shorter days and longer nights and cold. Very cold. The previous night’s low was below zero. That morning it had warmed up to about zero.

Walking through a very quiet part of the city mid-morning with all office buildings, nothing seemed to be moving and given the extreme cold that seemed appropriate. There were very few people out and about. I did see someone, a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk near a major intersection hunched over covered with only what looked like a finely woven burlap or canvas material. I asked if he (she?) was alright. My first dumb question of the encounter. I was prepared to meet an individual who was unshaven, obviously homeless, destitute, being in need in so many ways and perhaps in poor health. After a couple attempts to get his attention, he finally lifted his head and removed the fabric just enough to uncover his face and top of his chest, the fabric still being over his head like a hood. I was shocked. Long blonde hair, deep blue penetrating and translucent eyes, perhaps about 30 years old. He had perfect facial features and absolutely no facial hair. I am not accustomed to using this term when it comes to a guy but it fits in this case. He was beautiful. Nobody looks like this, especially compared to my expectations of this poor soul sitting on a sidewalk downtown Calgary in the cold!

We talked for a while. Actually I talked he listened. Tried my best to convince him that we should go to a restaurant, better perhaps, a clothing store to buy a down vest or coat. He just looked at me with what I can only recall was subtle amusement. I was getting frustrated so I said something thoroughly ridiculous like “I am a Christian. I have to do something. I want to help you.” He looked up at me offering a slight grin and said “I am a ……. Christian too.” There was a definite pause before he admitted to being a Christian and his grin became a bit more pronounced. This struck me as being odd. He seemed to know something I didn’t. Again, he seemed somewhat amused. More debate (one direction) then I finally gave up.


Before freezing solid I decided to take off walking about as fast as I could. Must have walked no more than 50’ which probably took about 5 seconds. My failure haunted me so I turned abruptly to give it one more try. One problem. He was gone. Assuming he got up as soon as I left and ran down one direction of the cross street I hustled back to the intersection even quicker than I had walked away. A modest jog. Got to the corner, looked to the right and left. No one. Completely gone.

It wasn’t until days later that I began to understand that this was no ordinary guy. Not only did he have beautiful features and apparently could easily withstand the cold, he had literally disappeared. His reaction to my comment and his agreement that he too was a, hesitation, smile, Christian, was very odd. One more thing. I was absolutely sure that this guy could easily level Calgary if need be. Don’t ask me how I knew that. I just knew it. There is little doubt in my mind that this brief encounter was with a ministering spirit (Hebrews 1:14).

Please understand I am not the type to expect this kind of experience in my Christian walk. Some odd things have happened to me, not a lot, but this was certainly one. It is always, always, necessary to thoroughly search and examine scripture to see if a conflict might exist between the only source of non-negotiable ultimate truth (canon) and what we experience. Certainly the overwhelming majority of spiritual weird experiences that occur in today’s world are sourced by the dark side and not from God. Pretty simple. I even hesitate telling this story for obvious reasons but I strongly, more important prayerfully, believe that there are references in scripture that allow for this kind of interaction. One of the clearest, if not the clearest especially given this situation, is Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

For years this had been my dilemma: “Why Lord? Why the heck did this happen? I didn’t need help. Did I need to know something?” Better, what did the Lord want me to do or say? Was this simply a test that perhaps I failed? You can see my perspective and I believe the perspective of many Christians is to automatically assume we are being tested. Is it about performance? Obedience? You see my confusion. I wanted to do more but I didn’t know what to do or say. It’s kind of funny actually. What could I have done to help this guy anyway? Buy him breakfast? How about a down vest???

Many years later when I was feeling particularly down (pun intended) dealing with a reasonably serious personal difficulty the Lord interrupted my whining and feeling sorry for myself with a subtle reminder of this northern experience. Again, stuck in a rut, I dropped back into the same thought pattern. More failure, more questions. Especially at that moment that was the last thing I needed. Pile it on. I was being reminded that I failed, lost, again. But here is the terrific part of the story. The silent ceiling (yes, never received an answer to my questions over all those years) finally opened up with a very clear and direct answer. I call these thoughts or answers to prayer triple As. Almost an Audible.

Tony, I didn’t want you to do or say anything. I wasn’t testing you. I know your heart. This was done then to better show you today that I love you. I am intimately involved in everything you do. You will get through what you are facing today. I sent my messenger as a gentle reminder that you are loved and nothing will ever happen to you that I do not allow.

Now, the above was not verbatim. I cannot recall exactly what the Lord dropped on me that day but clearly the message was of that kind. Meeting the Calgarian Visitor was simply His way of letting me know (years in advance of when I needed it most) that I was loved, cared for in every way, and protected. Please understand that this is the heart of the Lord we worship. Stop trying to prove your worth. Stop feeling like a failure and open yourself up to the One who loves you unconditionally. Carry on and do great things in His power and His strength because you love Him. Again, pretty simple.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 27: 1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’”

Tony Carvalho

Afterthought: It may have also been, in addition to the lesson learned years later, that I was headed toward a situation that the Lord sent the Calgarian Visitor to prevent. Perhaps in my walking around downtown Calgary I would have foolishly stepped off the curb and gotten clobbered by a rapid transit articulated bus. It may not have been my time and  this accident was choreographed by the dark side. Our brief conversation may have changed the appointment. I guess I will never know. At least not until the other side of the river and of course at that point, it won’t matter.