"I have lived two completely different lives thus far," he said.
He was only in his thirties--was he talking about a career change maybe? No; it was something far deeper; he was trying hard to express the difference an encounter with Christ had made in his life. Imagine what it would take to change a man's view of women; his perspective on money and, in fact, the whole path of his life. Something profoundly real and good would have to happen to have that much power. Stories like his are the greatest evidence for the reality of God.
When a person starts to tell me his or her faith story, I get ready for something wonderful. Eyes fill with tears, hands reach for tissues, hearts spill over with a gratitude that is hard to express and I am right there with the person, because I understand.
It may sound weird but I was grateful that I solidified my faith at the age of 16, having grown up in a non church-going family. I knew that I had made a personal choice; a decision that made a difference. Even though I knew that growing up in a Christian home would have been a great blessing, I always wondered how different it would be if hadn't felt that I had chosen. My life would have been very different if I hadn't done so and I am forever grateful for a living relationship with him.
In Canada there is such a secular bent in society, and such a bias against Christianity, that I am always very interested in and awed at, the ways that God gets people's attention anyway. And he does, over and over again.
One woman's epiphany came at her mother's funeral. As she stood at before the open coffin, she knew that whatever it was that made her mother, her mother; was no longer there. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was more than just physical existence, and she turned to faith in Christ. That moment changed the focus of her life and gave it meaning from that point on.
At school I loved the hymn: Tell me the Stories of Jesus. I have never got tired of listening.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness,
deeds full of grace,
All in the love light of Jesus’ face.
Tell me, in accents of wonder,
how rolled the sea,
Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee;
And how the Maker, ready and kind,
Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand.
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”
Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain.
Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain.
Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
William H. Parker, 1885. Parker wrote this hymn for his Sunday school students at the Chelsea Street Baptist Church, New Basford, Nottingham, England.
Joshua 24:14-15 (New International Version)
14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."