I have a friend whose faith has grown in leaps and bounds through loss of family members and almost unendurable physical pain. I say “through” because he had had faith but I had never witnessed it quite this strong and inspiring to me. I don’t wish any of that on me or on any of you. I do wish his faith on me and you. “The miracle of prayer is real,” he said to me. One of the most beautiful things I’ve heard. Ever.
I do believe that it’s stories like his which encourage people who are on the fence about their faith, or who are what some call “baby Christians,” just getting into the study of the Bible and their faith.
A pastor-friend’s bro-in-law was very doubtful, truly an agnostic, most of his life. He was finally prodded to read the Bible. This is a scientist type who was WAY too ‘smart’ to fall for the Bible. He finally read it on a kind of dare, and he read it again right away. He’s a total believer now…not necessarily a church-going man, but has NO doubts anymore. His wife is recovering from a particularly virulent breast cancer and he’s come through calmly, in ways he said he couldn’t have beforehand.
A friend’s brother, one of four kids from a home of bright, fun Christians, did nothing but get into trouble in school…drugs, minor offenses, bad friends…he went to jail for a more major offense about 20 years. He came out a Christian ten years later after being exposed to it again in prison, married a Christian gal and has 3 kids, and has never turned back.
A neighbor stays married to the man across the street, a die hard liberal who has MSNBC on 24/7 as she stays in conservative sites on the internet to stay sane. She says their relationship hasn’t been good since the marriage, when he completely changed personalities. Her faith carries her through…. how, on this one? I don’t know.
I had lunch Tuesday with a 34 year old who’s very, very pretty, extremely bright and a former drug addict. She attends my church. She has four stepparents and three stepbrothers, and tells me what she’s told me is nothing, that she keeps inside her the really bad stuff she’s gone through. She’d drunk big and drugged big for about 15 years and, one day, she stopped. No rehab, no nothing. She knew who her Savior was and started to pay attention to what her faith was about. Promiscuity and drugs weren’t it. She’s never looked back and blows my mind with her faith. She’d memorized so much scripture as a kid in a Lutheran school and says she can’t remember them but she very often will come up with a quip./concept that’s directly from a Bible scripture. It’s IN her. And it’s working.
Do you have a story you could share about changed lives? Because those of you who say “but it’s in the BIBLE!” to nonbelievers need to get a grip (and I usually don’t give directions or orders, but…on this one I am) and stop with the Bible recommendations, giving people verses. They don’t CARE what’s in a book they don’t believe in!! KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Tell your friends about stories like those above…I’m sure you’ve heard some, or lived some yourself…On the other hand, some people do sit down to read and become believers….I have to throw that in!
Changed lives matter. Changed lives change lives. (Hm…that’s a good one! You may use it!! But quote ME! Ha!)
Have a good Sunday…….change a life. But only when the time is right. Believe me. When the time comes with that person that you can say “….and it’s in the Bible,” you’ll know they’re there.
And remember, a very wise woman once said “but you do NOT have to seal the deal.”
God will do that.