Ten years ago, I received a blessing that I definitely did not deserve. This gift would dramatically change the course of events for us. Our lives would never be the same.
Ten years ago, I finally found a church to attend. I had struggled, like many, with going wayward as a Christian. Though I am still growing in the grace and knowledge of my Saviour, the early years after being born again, were a struggle for me. Thank God, though, He was, and is, long suffering!
After a course of events, God was finally able to get my undivided attention, again. This time, I was far away from all I had known. There was nothing left, (save stubbornness), for my flesh to find any comfort: no familiar places, and no familiar people (except my new husband). Being thousands of miles away from anything that could keep me distracted from what God wanted to do with me, was a blessing.
Yet, not the blessing of which I speak. No, that one would come later. When it did, I was completely unprepared for what God would do!
So, one night, totally crushed by my behavior, I repented. I asked the Lord for help. I needed His strength to not continue misbehaving. I needed to find a group of believers with whom to meet: to grow, and to fellowship. Thankfully, He did not waste time directing me.
I found a small group of Christians meeting in a quaint little area of the new town in which I lived. I still remember that night. One of my dearest friends I now have, that night, was a stranger to me. Though I arrived late (thinking they started on the half hour), she cheerfully motioned for me to come sit beside her and her spouse.
It was so refreshing! For, for the past few years, my church attendance was a struggle. Too many times I sowed unto the flesh, rather than the Spirit. Too many times I yielded to temptation, rather than God. Coming to church, determined no longer to waver, my heart was overflowing!
The young man that greeted me at the entrance, reminded me of my brother when he was young. The church used the same Bible with which I used in my youth, and preferred. The singing was of the old-time hymns: the same as my youth. The kindness of my now-dear friend, was so moving.
The man that preached that night, has now become a dear brother to my husband and I; his wife, and children, too, are dearly loved. I mistakenly thought he was the pastor! Yet, the man I would come to know and love as my pastor there, cheerfully introduced himself after services (not quite as young as that night's preacher). ;-)
Ironically, he and his wife had once been stationed (having served in the military), just minutes away from my hometown, years ago. To our knowledge, our paths never crossed. Everyone there that night, was so friendly. I was so excited!
That night, after I arrived home, my soul was just bubbling with joy! It felt so good to be back in the will of God, to be amongst His people, and moving forward! Yet, this experience is not the blessing of which I speak.
Dear had determinedly decided against attending that church with me. Why? He gave empty excuses. When I came home, full of a happiness that he did not provide, well, he was not happy.
I kept going there, though. I would offer him the opportunity to come, but, he refused. Finally, a few weeks later, he decided to come on a mid-week service.
He liked it! He started coming every time; even telling me (who was saved), that even if he had to drag me, we were going (he was not yet saved)! I was so surprised! I knew this church was unlike anything to which he was accustomed. I was wondering what would happen...
... Well, during this time, the pastor would come over, weekly, to do a Bible study of basic Bible truths, trying to reach my husband. He was able to break down the Gospel, and why he needed it. Thankfully, it seemed to make sense to Dear.
One Sunday evening service, after about a month of visiting, three verses stuck out to him: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."--Matthew 11:28-30. To this day, neither of us can recall the sermon. Yet, from that night forth, he would never be the same.
When the invitation was given, I noticed something I had never seen before that night: Dear go forward to pray. All the years together, he assumed he had to do these great fetes to get God's attention. Even though I was not where God wanted me to be, I knew God was not distant. I told him that he could just talk to Him. He never saw God as just a prayer away, but rather so, so far from him.
That night changed his mind. He finally saw that God was approachable. He saw that He could come directly to Jesus, without fear, or works... Just come!
He never talked to anyone after the service. I was so curious as to what occurred. So, on our way home, I asked him: "Did you get saved tonight?" He did not answer me immediately.
After parking the car, he looked at me. "I think so," was his reply. Something was definitely different.
I was not about to push the matter. Getting inside our home to our awaiting dog, he quietly got the leash and took him outside. Coming back, he confirmed it: he was saved!
While looking at the night sky, as he walked our dog, he simply asked Jesus to save him. At the church meeting, he had asked Him to help him. In such a short time between the church house and our home, God had worked mightily on his heart!
He did not just want help: he wanted Christ's salvation! Realizing that he could go to Him, without a priest, or works to prove himself, he called out to God to save his soul! By the time he came back inside our home, he definitely was a new man!
Oh, my heart! I had married him while being like one of the Corinthian saints, and he an unregenerate man. Yet, standing before me with unspeakable joy and peace, was the man for whom I prayed, when I was eighteen years old: just a couple years before I met him.
My husband, now a Christian, is the blessing of which I speak!
I did not deserve this gift. Oh, but how glad! Nevermore did I fear for his eternity: it was now secure!
No longer were we on two different paths. No longer were we enemies. We were aiming for the same destination. We had the same Father, now. We were now going to get to grow together, in Christ!
Grow we would! My, how he took off for Christ! I barely could keep up with him! I had never seen something like it, in person!
God had a hold of him! God used that zeal to whip my weak spiritual muscles into shape, too! I just had to hold on for dear life.
That zeal, coupled with knowledge, has matured over the years. There are so many stories I could tell you, of different things Dear has tried, in reaching the lost, or ministering to the saints. Not always have I handled things well; it took me out of my comfortable, complacent zone. Oh, but did it do me good!
Though there are still some things that are the same about him, since I have known him, he really is a different person. It would be such a contrast to put the man of yesterday next to the man of today.
Does he still struggle with sin? He would be the first to let you know, he most certainly does. Though his soul is redeemed, his body is still the same, with the same tendencies and desires. Such is it with all who are born again.
Oh, but the gift God gave me, in this man! One who points me to Christ, every day! One who seeks to exalt the Lord who saved our souls!
Ten years ago, God performed a miracle in our home, by saving my precious husband's soul. I am beyond honored to be married to such a man. I am so grateful to be his help meet, as we journey this life, together.
Happy birth day in the Lord, love.