Parts 1-4 are available here.
When my first wife was pregnant with our first child, we had two remarkable experiences:
- She was tutored the last few months of her senior year of high school. The tutor was a beloved English teacher who reminded many of the character portrayed by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society. While he was tutoring, he was going through a personal transformation. He was becoming more alive, more aware, and more connected with God. Being one year ahead of my first wife in school, “Mr. C” had been my English Literature teacher the previous year. We became friends. Late in my senior year, he shared with me his frustration with not knowing what he wanted to do with his life. “You are the best teacher I’ve ever had and you don’t know what you should do with your life?” I asked, a little sarcastically. Now we watched this transformation. He told me, “I know what I’m supposed to do when I grow up. I’m supposed to be a teacher.” It wasn’t just this. He was happy. He was close to God. He even looked… different. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never seen it. I’ve only seen it a couple times. He wasn’t overt in his sharing about Christianity. But it was obvious and he didn’t have to be overt. He simply was. I don’t know a better way to put it. Apologies. But the gist of it all was that God had showed up. A few weeks after our daughter was born, Mr. C was murdered. We know where he is, even now. And he is one of the first people other than my immediate family I hope to see in Heaven.
- As part of our National Guard weekend drills, we were allowed to attend worship services. I went with some of the guys one Sunday to get out of doing more soldier work. The message struck me, but I didn’t respond to the altar call. I told some of the guys with me, though. Before our daughter was born we didn’t have much money, and I did a lousy job managing what money we had. They knew. And later that week they showed up at our front door with a couple boxes of groceries. Minutes earlier, I’d looked at a nearly empty package of bologna and the few slices of bread remaining in the house and thought something like, “God, we sure could use some help with food.” And here was enough food to last a week or more. It’s easy (for me) to debate with people. I can see their arguments and – even if I lose this debate – I can cost them a whole other separate issue simply by re-applying their arguments on one issue to another. It’s a gift – or curse – depending on whether we agree. I couldn’t argue with the food in those boxes. My logic fell apart as I remembered my earlier thoughts. God had showed up. Again.
God used those occurrences to make Himself known to me. He made me aware that He was real. He showed me He loves people and changes them. He showed me He cares for our needs. And that He loved me and cared for my needs.
Like Mr. C, I’ve grown to know and love God more. He means more and more to me each day. I love Jesus Christ. Without Him, nothing you read in Part 2-4 would have happened in my life. I would have remained a bitter punk until death, and then I would have spent eternity separated from God in Hell.
Like the folks who showed up with food, I’ve been privileged to obey Christ by helping others. From experience, I can share that it is blessed to receive, but it is more blessed to give. That’s not a cute platitude. It’s a fact.
If you don’t have a relationship with Christ today, I hope you will seek Him. He is not part of the solution to life’s woes, nor is He part of the answer to your questions. He is the entire solution and answer and way and truth and life (John 14:6, paraphrased). Placing Christ on the throne of your heart is a daily thing (Luke 9:23). It’s not a moment. It’s a life. But it starts with a moment.
Is this your moment?