Another One in the Books
One afternoon God had a bit of down time. While He was relaxing he decided to share another success story with those who were with Him. He loved to share stories like these, and those who heard them always rejoiced loudly. As they all sat around Him, he started. “I’m going to tell you about this guy Joe. I’ve always loved that guy, but there were so many years that he just didn’t realize it. When he was born, I made sure it was to godly parents. They brought the lad up in the church, but well into his teens he started making bad choices.”
He went on. “You guys know all about choices. They’re equal opportunity. There’s good ones, and there’s bad ones, and you’re all here with Me because you made good choices. Poor Joe, however, continued to make those bad choices well into his adulthood. Then, around 1986, a bold man witnessed to him. But nothing happened for 3 long years. Finally, unbeknownst to him, I ‘arranged’ for him to have one more visit with his chiropractor (whom he just sensed was ‘different’). During that visit, he just blurted out ‘Doc, do you go to church?’ You should have seen the look on Joe’s face when that came out of his mouth! But I wasn’t done yet. I nudged him hard, and it worked, because the next thing he asked was if he could go with him when he went next time.”
“To make a long story short”, God smiled, “he went with the doc, and he stayed at that church for 18 years and got pretty involved.” Drawing a breath, and growing solemn, God then shared how Joe made another huge choice—a bad one. “He walked away….just walked away. That hurt, because I knew what was in store for him, and it wasn’t going to be pretty”, He related. He went on…..”for the next 8 years Joe went back to his old ways, living a life of sin, living only for himself.”
“You know,” He said, “he had a daughter who lived in Kentucky who never lost hope. She just kept nudging him lovingly, and prayed constantly that he would turn around. Well, her and I cooked a little deal up for him. He went to visit her for a long weekend, and she followed my nudging and kind of got in his face about going to church with them that Sunday. He couldn’t refuse, because he didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so he went. And that was where I pulled out one of my trump cards. There he is, sitting in church, and he didn’t know what hit him. He just knew it was time to turn things around. After that weekend, he went home and started looking around for a church. He was on the internet, looking in newspapers, doing everything except actually going to one and checking it out. So after 3 months of his messing around fruitlessly, I had to pull out another trump card”, He said smiling.
“Joe went to visit his sister down in Morris one day,” God said chuckling, “and he always came north on 47 to 72 to get home after those visits. Well, I messed with him because it was time—time for him to get serious. When he got to 20 just outside of Elgin there, he didn’t know it, but I made him turn right. You should have heard him when he discovered he made a wrong turn! He figured he’d just go on down the road to Randall, and then head north from there to get home. Surprise, surprise! Right there on 20 is this fabulous church called West Ridge, and Joe had to drive right past it, just like I planned. The minute he saw the place, he knew. He just knew his search was over. And he knew why. It was time.”
God sat back then and reflected in silence for a few moments. And He smiled. As He started to finish, He couldn’t help but to choke up a bit. “You see”, He said, “I loaded that church with real people. Folks like Norm, who is here with us now, and Greg the pastor, and all the others there, and they are all so warm and loving. They take people like Joe as they are, and they just naturally ambush them with grace and love. Because of that, Joe has grown like he never thought possible. Though still broken, his heart is soft, and he is spiritually growing by leaps and bounds. And the best part is, he has no idea what is yet to come, but he is eager for whatever it is. That’s because Norm and all the folks there have helped him find his walk and helped him grow on the way. That’s just what they do.”
As God stood up to get back to His routine, he spoke once more. “He’ll be here with you one day, but that has to wait because I’m not finished with him yet. He’s got a lot to do yet there on earth. But when he does get here, we’ll have one of those awesome parties.”