Sunday, September 15, 2013

Redeemed

  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
  His love endures forever.
  Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— 

      those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 

      those he gathered from the lands, 

      from east and west, from north and south.  ~Psalm 107
     There are moments in your life that change you forever.  Sometimes you can almost feel the earth shift under your feet.  Other times it happens so quietly that you don’t realize the significance of what has happened until you look back for that moment that made everything different.
     I was out with some girlfriends at a dance hall when a dashing young man came over to our table and asked me to dance.  I can still see him.  His blue eyes flashed at me under his dark brown hair, a combination that had always made my heart beat faster.  He had on a white button down shirt and brown corduroy pants.  We danced late into the night and I have been dancing with that man ever since.
     Pat and I had been dating almost a year when the company he worked for hired another young man by the name of Steve.  Steve had recently moved to the area with his wife and daughter.  Steve was short, going prematurely bald, and carried a pocket sized Bible.  He began to talk to Pat about having a relationship with Jesus.  He and Pat would have long debates on how a relationship was different from a religion.  I lived at school about an hour away during the week and went home on weekends to see my family and Pat.  Pat would call me during the week, long distance - when long distance cost an exorbitant amount of money.  Pat told me about his conversations with Steve.  He wanted me to provide him with ammunition against the things that Steve was saying.  The problem was that Steve made a whole lot of sense.
     On Saturday evenings, I went to a Catholic church with my Mom.  We always left right after communion.  Going to church made me thirsty to experience more of God.  The God I had learned about had a whole lot of rules, and seemed to become very angry with those who did not follow them.  I had studied Jesus in the New Testament before dropping out of catechism class, but I couldn’t connect the stern Father and His miracle working Son.
     One night after hanging up the phone with Pat, I prayed, “God, if Pat decides to get baptized then I will know that You are in this.”  Now where that came from I am not sure, because we hadn’t even talked about baptism.  Both of us had already been baptized as infants.
     The next weekend, Pat was about three hours late to pick me up.  He claimed that he had been busy.  What he didn’t say was that the night before he had been given a dream.  In his dream he saw hell all around him.  It was utterly dark and full of emptiness and despair and then he sensed God’s hand cover him and everything changed into joy, happiness, and love.   It was in a phone call in the middle of the next week that Pat confessed that he had gone with Steve to be baptized in a nearby creek.
     The next weekend I was also baptized in the same creek.  I remember feeling so fresh, clean and new after coming up out of that water.   My life was forever changed.
     I have to admit, neither Pat nor I prayed long eloquent prayers asking Jesus to come into our heart.  We didn’t know enough to.  God drew us to Him in His unfailing kindness with an everlasting love.
     Pat and I immediately looked for a church to learn and serve in.  We married about six months later.
 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— 
   those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 
 those he gathered from the lands, 
from east and west, from north and south.  Some wandered in desert wastelands, 
finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, 
and their lives ebbed away. 
 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,  and he delivered them from their distress.  He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 
 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love  and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 
 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love 
 ~Psalm 107
     Sometimes, you meet a  stranger who asks you to dance and your life changes.  But anytime God asks you to dance, your life will always be changed.
     What has God done for you?

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