Thursday, December 06, 2012
People love to hear stories, especially true stories about those who find real love together. Maybe this is why my wife Wendy and I love meeting other couples and hearing the story of how they first met and fell in love.
These stories are almost always half told by each person in turn, with one person starting a thought from their perspective and the other person finishing that same scene in time from their point of view. Often the real fun is hearing what each person was thinking as they first met the other, about the misunderstandings that threatened to keep them apart, and about how, eventually, they both realized that this might be the person they wanted to spend the rest of their life with.
My wife and I have such a story. I saw her from a distance and thought she was gorgeous, but figured there was no real point in pursuing her. She barely noticed me sitting behind her on the bus ride to a college leadership conference, although she did lend me batteries for my Walkman.
Eventually I got up the nerve to ask her to join me to see a local play and when she showed up late, with her baby sister in tow, I stood up to leave in disgust. That was when the house lights came up for intermission and she saw me through the crowd. I stayed, we finished the play and that was it. Every date after that she continued to bring her little sister, and once even positioned herself so that she didn’t have to sit next to me during the film. I was pretty upset.
After that I officially gave up on her. All summer long I ignored my desires to call her and ask her out again, even though my friends urged me to keep trying. I was unmoved.
But after I joined the Christian Drama Team that she was leading we started to spend more time together, and I couldn’t help but start feeling close to her. One afternoon between classes she asked me to go with her to visit people at the Senior Home down the street. It was just her and I, for once, and I was glad to have some time alone with her.
As we approached the building I ran forward and held open the door for her, like a gentleman, but she was gone. I turned around and saw her looking up into the face of an elderly woman in a wheel chair that I had flat out ignored on the sidewalk. In that moment, as I watched her open her heart to this woman I had ignored, I knew I had met someone more amazing than I could ever have imagined before. Her heart and genuine love for others astounded me. That was when I realized that God was up to something in my life and that maybe I should listen for further directions.
The next few months took even more twists and turns, with more steps backwards than forwards in our relationship, but I knew that I shouldn’t give up hope. I knew that she was worth the fight, and she was.
I’ll never forget the night that she and I both agreed that only God could save our relationship. Over the phone we both prayed together and laid everything on the altar and said, “God, if you want this to work you have to do it all. It’s practically dead already, so if you want this relationship to fly we need your help.” And after that night, as corny as it sounds, everything started to click for us.
I held her hand for the first time after a cold night playing Putt Putt golf, saying “Here, my hands are cold. Can you warm them up for me?”
I kissed her for the first time on her back porch, in the rain, but only after she asked me to, and even though I had already planned to kiss her anyway.
I sold my brand new 9mm Browning High Power pistol with Pachmeyer grips (yes, this was Texas) and bought her a diamond engagement ring. The price of the ring was exactly, to the penny, what I had sold the gun for. It was a sign.
Later that week I got down on my knees in the middle of the restaurant to ask her to marry me. When I looked up she was walking towards the exit. I called out to her, “Wendy!” and she turned around and saw me kneeling there by her empty chair. I’m so glad she turned around and took her seat again so that I could ask her to be my wife.
For those of us who are following Jesus, we also have a similar story to tell. We can recall what we thought of Jesus before we first met Him, and about what our first impressions of Him were, and about what events and circumstances threatened to keep us apart. We can all share the story about how we eventually discovered that Jesus was someone we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with, and about when we first knew that He was the One we couldn’t live without.
So, I’m curious. What’s your story? When did you first meet Jesus? How did you come to realize that you wanted to spend the rest of eternity with Him? How has your life changed since you made that decision to follow Him all of your days?
Have the two of you been through difficult times together? Did it strengthen your love for each other? What did it teach you about yourself? About Him?
Can you imagine what your life would have been like without Jesus? Can you fully appreciate how significantly better your life is now that you’ve surrendered your life to receive His life?
Tell us that story. Tell that story to your neighbors. Tell it to your co-workers. Tell it to anyone who asks you. But let them ask first, and try to let them see that you’re in love with God before you say it out loud.
You see, people love to hear stories, especially true stories about those who find real love together.