Infusing Hope

My daily devotional from Our Daily Bread directed me to the second chapter of Ruth. Whoa! It’s been years since I have read this book. Actually it had been so long, that I had to look up in the index of my Bible, just to find where it was. It is tucked neatly between Judges and 1 Samuel.

As I began to read, I noticed something that said: Pay Attention! As I read, I begin to see God’s providence unfold in the story I was reading. Wait! Let’s skip back to chapter 1 of Ruth. The Book of Ruth is the story of devotion, dedication, hope, and redemption. All of that packed into 4 chapters.

As I re-read the second chapter, I couldn’t help but notice how God provided for his people. They didn’t have welfare in those days. If you were poor you gleaned in the field after the harvesters. Ruth came to glean in the field of Boaz. Backbreaking hard work. Where just enough was gathered to keep body and soul together.

But was it fortune that smiled on Ruth that day, or divine providence?

Boaz replied, “I have been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband — how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12)

You see what he said there? Man! That’s hope! He said the right thing, at the right time. Affirmation.

Do we infuse hope into the lives of others? Today a bedraggled individual walked into a restaurant. You could read the dejection, humility, and humbleness in his face. He sat for awhile, to enjoy some cold water, and to escape the blistering heat of the Arizona landscape. I was beside myself. I didn’t know what to do. I said: “God my brother is in need here. How do I infuse hope?” I am not an evangelist nor did I feel he needed to see my mouth flapping.

I remembered how one day, a person did something for me totally unexpected. A random act of kindness. She purchased a gift card, came over to my table, and said: This is for you. And just walked away. I don’t know who this person was, or why she did that, but it has always served as a powerful reminder of God’s providence for me.

Yes that was the right thing to do. I went to my car, got some money, and purchased a gift card for him. I went to his table, laid the card there and said: This is for you. As I walked away, he said: Thank you! I was more then re-paid.

How are you impacting your world? How are you infusing hope into the lives of other people? Do people only see our mouth working, or do they see Jesus in our actions and deeds? I pray that I instilled in this man today, the love of God through my actions. My brother is in need, how can I help? That should be a daily prayer. Emily Dickenson said:

“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.

and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”

Wayno

The Zombie Apocalypse

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[c] is near, right at the door. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[d] but only the Father. (Matthew 24:32-36 NIV)

A lot of us poked fun at the end-of-the-world doom sayers. The Bible tells us confidently that NO one knows the day or the hour, except God the Father.

When you hear someone giving a date, be it 1972, 1994, 2011, 2012… you can depend on what the Bible says. No one knows. When someone gives us a date for the end of the world, they are manipulating. The question is why? Publicity, folks. I did NOT see, or hear anyone saying repent. What I heard is, “The end of the world is coming.” The end is coming, but NOT on man’s schedule.
The rapture or catching away spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 WILL happen. I believe we are the final generation. The time to prepare, is now. But what if I am wrong, and the rapture doesn’t happen in my lifetime? I have lived with this hope, all my life. It is called the blessed hope of the Church. But what if I am wrong? Phillipians puts it best:

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Phillipians 1:21-24)

Rest assured Jesus will return for his followers. We shouldn’t follow anyone who sets dates. We should follow Christ, and his example. Be the best representative of Jesus and his love, to a lost and dying world.

We rush headlong sometimes, trying to get a person to the point of salvation. Instead, invest a little time in their lives first. Get to know someone, see things from their point of view, and share the gospel courteously, instead of cramming it down someone’s throat as happened to me this week. Be kind. Be gentle. LISTEN! We have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Listen twice as much! Let your life do the talking, not your mouth.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Rev 22:20 NIV)

Maranatha!

Wayno

One of My Most Unforgettable Characters

This is a very personal story. How one person changed entirely, the person I would become. Several people have impacted my life. This is but one of them.

Wayno

—————————–
Kenny Grobe at the monument on Soda Dry Lake
(Kenny Grobe at the Monument on Soda Dry Lake)

Few people come along, that change the elements of the person you will become. But one person I knew did just that.

Born on March 16, 1960 into an impoverished home, he become one of the greatest friends in this life, I would ever have.

Growing up in Los Angeles County, he would look for ways to escape. Not through reading or writing. But other things. An interest in things of a mechanical nature. Motorcycles, and off-roading. He was working to become: A Real-Estate Appraiser.

We first met at an off-road event near Borrego Springs, California. We both had the same 4WD truck, 1/2 a year apart! And we both had the same problems. Ah misery really does love company. For me, this was my first time ever four wheeling, and he would serve as a guide into this venturesome world of the unknown.

We would go on to do several trips along the beloved Mojave Road. Times spent chewing the fat, watching the scenery, or hearing him guide a tour on his CB Radio. We always signed in at the Mailbox. Camping, being outdoors, and being free, were the essence of his character. He taught me how to do many things I thought I could never do on my own. How to pack wheel bearings, how to change brake pads, how to do a top end job on a 2 stroke motorcycle, and on and on. He invested time, in ME! He believed in ME, even though I often doubted.

His love for off-roading would eventually lead us to Motorcycles. Dirt Bikes of course. And some of his friends. Crazy Dave. Hot Dicky. Too Tall Bob. I didn’t know a Motorcycle from a bicycle. But he patiently taught me. I’d drive up from San Diego, we’d meet, and go dirt-biking. Mostly off to the dry lake bed around Victorville, California, or to Gorman, California. But perhaps the most beautiful of places, were Pismo Beach and Kennedy Meadows, California. I stuck to the newbie trails, and he to the advanced. I always enjoyed being with him, but I never knew why.

His love for the outdoors, turned into making videos. Three all told. Crudely edited on 2 VCR’s, but set to music that matched the action. The tapes unfortunately lost through the perils of times and several moves. But the memories are well preserved in my mind.

One day he found a lump on his neck. He called me and said, “I don’t know any doctor’s here in LA who can diagnose this do you?” Indeed I did. So he came down to San Diego, and my doctor examined him. A few days later, the doctor called. It wasn’t good news. He had cancer of the lymph nodes. The doctor said, “Do you want me to call him?” I said, “No, that’s something a friend should do.”

And so with much reserve, I made the trip up to LA to see my friend. Of all the things I’ve done in life, telling a friend he has cancer, has been the toughest. He took the news calmly, and then he decided, “I can beat this!” So he underwent radiation treatment. I had never seen him look so green in my life.

I saw on the outside, the shell of the man I knew. But inside, nothing had changed. After one of his treatments, I came up to see him. He loaded his dirt bike onto his truck. I thought to myself, “Have you lost your mind?” He wanted to go to Ascot in Gardena, California to go Motocross racing. “Surely you are out of your mind!” “I am not out of my mind, and quit calling me Shirley!” And so we went. He didn’t do very well, but he did finish. Later I asked him, “Tell me why you decided to go racing tonight, even though you’re as sick as a dog.” He said, “Yes, but for a few moments I was able to forget how sick I am.” I hadn’t thought of that.

We talked for some time. I said to him: “Never be ashamed of where you came from. You had no control over that. But you do have control over where you are going.” I was able to lead him to Christ.

He fell in love with Oregon and a woman, and moved there. He made his 3rd and last video on the beauty to be found there. Truly a labour of love. He played in the church band, at the First Baptist Church of Beaverton, Oregon.

Later, he had a re-occurrence of the cancer. I knew he was a fighter, and he fought hard. I spoke to him just a few days before Christmas in 1995. He was on the last rounds of Chemo-therapy.

But, he didn’t make it. He died on Monday, January 8, 1996. On Thursday of that week, all his friends gathered in that church to pay respect to a person that united us. He was the glue that kept us all together. Now his life cut short at 35. Yet he did more in those 35 years, then most people do in 3 lifetimes.

I went to Oregon, to pay homage to one of the greatest persons I would ever know. I had one last task: to do his funeral service. He lay in a closed casket, dressed in what was appropriate. Motocross gear: Helmet, Jersey, Leathers, Boots.

After that, we all scattered to the 4 corners never to come together again. The glue had let go.

Kenneth Stanley Grobe will not be remembered for the things he did, rather for what he gave. His friendship. His patience. His sense of humour. And for me, the greatest gifts he gave were his acceptance and the courage to believe in ones self.

Rest in Peace, Old Friend!

Original Copy,

Wayno Guerrini
July 27, 2010

The Wisdom Hunter

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me.

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me.”
(Psalm 13:1-6 NIV)

Excerpts from “Wisdom Hunter” by Randall Arthur (Questar Pub) Chapter 27 pages 237-240.

…Yoma, his worn Bible in hand, turned to Psalm 13 and asked Jason to read all six verses in the chapter.

Jason complied. He took the bible from Yoma and read the psalm slowly and thoughtfully. Then he looked up to await Yoma’s instruction.

“The chapter is written by King David. Tell me, Jason. If God truly forgot David, as David says in verse one — then how did God at the same time truly love David unceasingly, as David says in verse five?”

Before Jason could frame a suitable answer, Yoma fired a second question.

“David also says in verse one the God hid his face from him.
At the same time, in verse six, David says God was good to him. How does Jason explain David’s contradiction?”

This time Jason made no immediate attempt to answer. He could tell by Yoma’s intensity that the pastor was not yet ready to talk about answers.

“In verse two, “ Yoma continued, “David says he wrestled with many thoughts and had sorrow in his heart every day.
But in verse six David says he sang with joy at the same time.

“In verse two David says his enemy was triumphing over him.
But in verse five David says God was delivering him for the enemy.

“Does Jason see the discrepancy?”

Jason answered carefully. “Yes, I see what can possibly be viewed as a discrepancy. But I’m sure it appears that way only because I don’t understand the psalm.”

“Ahh…but Jason does understand the psalm,” Yoma corrected him gently. “Yesterday when Jason discovered that his grand-daughter was taken away again, did he feel loved or unloved by God?”

“Not loved,” Jason replied truthfully.

“Yes, Jason felt that way. Bud did Jason believe that way?”

There was silence. Jason thought about the question then gave a sober answer: “No, I cannot say I believed I was unloved by God. If I really believed God didn’t love me, I would have completely give up on him long ago.”

“Exactly,” Yoma replied. “Jason has felt unloved by God many times, but at the same time Jason has always wanted to believe the opposite. Jason has always wanted to believe the opposite. Jason has always wanted to believe God somehow loved him.”

The psalm now clicked in Jason’s head, and he looked again at the verses. “So you’re saying the apparent discrepancies in the chapter are simply the differences between David’s feelings and David’s beliefs” You’re saying David FELT like God had forgotten him, while at the same time he really BELIEVED God’s love for him was unceasing?”

Yoma quietly nodded.

Jason continued with excitement: “David FELT God had hidden his face from him, but he BELIEVED God was somehow being good to him behind the scenes. He FELT the pains of inner sorrow, but he BELIEVED he had every reason in the world to sing. He FELT his enemy was defeating him, but he BELIEVED God’s unseen hand would somehow actually deliver him from that enemy.” Jason’s face shone with discovery.

But Yoma wasn’t yet finished with the lesson. “Does Jason understand,” he asked without any letup in intensity, “that King David’s strong and certain beliefs about God’s love and about God’s involvement in his life were weights that kept him anchored while powerful negative feelings were trying hard to blow him away?”

Again, Jason thought. “Yeah, I understand. The very fact that David continued in his walk with God means that his beliefs kept him from being beaten by his feelings.”

Yoma quickly drove home his last point: “Now — does Jason finally understand why he, Jason Faircloth, has nearly been blown away so many times in the last four and half years?”

Jason felt as if someone had uncovered him, exposing a nakedness he had for years been trying to hide. He felt the revelation cutting him to the soul. In shame he lowered his head in the presence of the old man and God.

“Yes,” he finally said. “I understand now why Jason has nearly been blown away so many times. It’s because his feeling have been stronger than his beliefs. His beliefs about God’s love and God’s mercy and God’s providence have been too weak, and too uncertain.”

Yoma kept silent, letting Jason be pierced by the truth of his own words.

Jason half lifted his head and spoke again. “Is this the warning you wanted me to hear?”

“Yes,” Yoma answered tenderly. “This is Maung Maung’s warning. Jason must once and for all decide what he believes about God’s love, decide what he believes about God’s mercy decide what he believes about the misfortunes God allows in his life. Jason must know with certainty what he believes, so that his future will not be destroyed by the many strong winds of negative feelings.”

It was true and Jason knew it. His four and a half years of wandering had left him teeter-tottering in his ideas about God’s personal love and concern. He had learned many things, but his overall picture of God’s love had been left abstract. Only during the last six months here in Norway had his concept of a caring God really grown. And that was due to Yoma and the International Church. They had prevented him from going all the way under. They had been his spiritual lifesaver. They had helped persuade him that God does love, that God does care.

Yes, Yoma was right. He had to settle, once and for all, his beliefs about the loving side of God’s character. He already had his directive: to simply believe the person of God as portrayed in the Scriptures, not adding anything to the picture nor taking anything away. Yoma and the church had begun the process; now there was no excuse for allowing it to stall.
Excerpts from “Wisdom Hunter” by Randall Arthur (Questar Pub) Chapter 27 pages 237-240.

“The Poor you will have with you, Always”

Feeding the Homeless, Phoenix 01/16/2010

“Feeding the Poor”

Nestled near Central Avenue and Northern, in Phoenix, Arizona, is the “Crossroads United Methodist Church.”

On Saturday mornings, around 7:30 am they begin lining up. The Homeless; the Un-wanted; the Un-kempt; the “Disposable People.” It’s breakfast time and there is a flurry of activity to serve everyone. The coffee line is long on this chilly morn, but moves quickly.

They arrive by bus, by bicycle, or simply walking. Some appear with their companion animals. All are treated with respect, dignity, fairness, and a healthy dosing of a non-judgemental attitude.

Yet, this simple act of Christian Charity is endangered. These people aren’t wanted there for a host of reasons. Foremost, is the proximity to an affluent neighbourhood.

Amidst the backdrop and tumult of the world, this church and its outreach to the poor and destitute of our modern society, finds itself the centre of controversy from the city of Phoenix, alleging a violation “based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalised Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”)

In a press statement released by the church and the ministry’s director Mike Ricker, it states:

“The City of Phoenix is taking a stance that extends far beyond Crossroads and threatens religious freedom in general. The city is purporting to use its zoning jurisdiction to regulate whether, and to whom, food can be served as part of a worship service. The sharing of food and drink has deep roots in the Christian faith, and is part of of the tradition of Judaism, Islam and other faiths around the world. By trying to regulate when food can and cannot be served in the middle of a religious service, the City of Phoenix is interfering with a sphere that has, until now, always been recognized as the exclusive “business” of the faithful.”

Is the The First Amendment right to Free Speech and Free Association being tested? The church thinks so, and others as well.

So how does this simple act of charity become the “lightning rod” for a law suit? In the cry of the Realtor’s credo: “LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!”

It’s too close to a neighbourhood that continuously disdains the plight of the homeless in America. Black, White, Hispanic, Poor: all are welcome here. But the church is 2 miles away from a wealthy pocket of homes and well THESE people’s misfortunes seem to be their own, and they [and the City of Phoenix] just want the problem to “Go away! Disappear! Vanish!”

By 10:30 am, everything on the church grounds is packed up, and the area returned to a pristine state. You’d never know they were there.

Perhaps the residents might well be advised to see how some of their fellow citizens actually live. But the street smells and stains, and their lack of influence, means that they will continue to be an unseen and unheard voice in the landscape of the American Political Agenda.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ” (Matt 25:35-40 NIV)

Wayno Guerrini
PhotoJournalist
internationalpress.com

“The Little Things”

“The Little Things”

Wayno Guerrini

October 14, 2009

Steve N. (crica 1977)
(Steve N. Circa 1977)

Is it possible to measure a man by things he did in his youth?

I am re-acquainting myself with someone who is definitely an “Old Friend” after several decades.

This person, while on the sideline of my life for years, made profound influences. Not by doing something great, wonderful, or earth shaking. It was in the tiniest, most fragile of things, we often find memories which remain as indelible as ink.

I met Steve while I was working with the Federal Aviation Administration in Palmdale. Not unlike my present surroundings here in Tucson, the Antelope Valley in California is also a desert environment.

The things that I remember most about Steve, were his un-yielding smile and enthusiasm, attention to God, and prayer. He always had a smile on his face, rarely a frown, and a kind word on his lips. Steve was neighbourly. He was also, quite humble.

Steve seemed to have three passions: A love for the outdoors (especially climbing), painting, and tea.

I have shared in all of these passions.

The only time I’ve ever been rock climbing was with Steve at a place called “The Devil’s Punchbowl.” While I nearly passed out from exhaustion, Steve was able to get me to safety, and I survived to tell the tale. I still have a rope burn scar on my right hand. A reminder of the incident.

I remember hiking through the Yosemite Valley with Steve and some friends. Hours of what seemed like arduous and tedious driving. Made worth it in the first few moments upon seeing one of the natural wonders of the world.

Steve’s passion for life, drove me into a life long involvement of doing Youth Ministry. (outcastpress.org and a Facebook group I help moderate: Christian Goths) I have always worked with kids. Steve was far from being a kid at the time, but that impish grin of his sometimes betrayed his appearance.

Steve’s second passion is painting. I never knew if Steve would become a successful artist, but he showed remarkable talent. I’ve been fortunate in having one of Steve’s early paintings, adorn the living room of every place I’ve lived for over three decades now.

A daily reminder of my youth, and time well spent with an “old friend.”

But in the most humblest of offerings, Steve’s true nature was born.

Tea. Steve had what I surmised, to be the largest collection of loose Tea. We’re not talking “Lipton” here.

The very first time I’d ever heard of “Earl Grey Tea” — was not someone saying: “Tea! Earl Grey! Hot!” Rather it was Steve saying: “You ought to try this!” And so with care, he brewed a couple of cups. We sat and talked, and I enjoyed my first cup of “real tea.” Ahh. The little things. The one’s that you never forget.

To this day, when I have a cup of tea, I am always reminded of Steve’s humble circumstances, and this precious gift.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41 NIV)

And so it goes…..

Wayno

Thoughts on Susan Boyle

Amidst world-wide tumult, recession and uncertainty, a pudgy, dowdy, ordinary looking woman appeared on the stage of “Britain’s Got Talent,” on April 11, 2009.

Virtually unknown to anyone outside her small Scottish village, by all appearances, this would be quite the gaff.

Bullied as a child, she grew up with several learning disability’s. “Simple Susan” as she was known.

She worked only a few months, and lives in a council house (government sponsored), with her 10 year old cat, “Pebbles.” She took care of her mother, who died at the age of 91 in 2007.

No one thought she’d amount to anything.

The music began to play. The judges already had a pre-conceived notion, that she would squawk on stage.

What happened next, was truly remarkable.

The judge’s faces went completely blank. Was this not the same woman? Her voice betrayed her appearance. Instead of a puny, clucking sound, they heard no squawks. A beautiful voice emerged from this 47 year old woman. “Les Miserables” — “I Dreamed a Dream” with full bravado.

Could it be? Yes! A precious gift had just been given to the world.

I have watched the videos several times. She never disappoints. She sings from the heart. Deep, rich, emotionally heart-wrenching songs. For her semi-final, she sang “Memory” for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.”

Songs that touch the very soul of man. Embeds itself in one’s essence, and does not diminish with time.

God granted to us the gift. Susan Boyle’s voice.

Cats – Memory Lyrics

Midnight – not a sound from the pavement.
Has the moon lost her memory,
She is smiling alone.
In the lamp light, the withered leaves collect at my feet,
And the wind begins to moan.

(Memory – all alone in the moonlight.
I can smile at the old days,
I was beautiful then.
I remember the time I knew what happiness was.
Let the memory live again.)

Every street light seems to beat a fatalistic warning.
Someone mutters and the street lamp gutters,
and soon it will be morning.

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise.
I must think of a new life,
And I mustn’t give in.
When the dawn comes tonight will be a memory too,
And a new day will begin.

(Burnt out ends of smoky days,
the stale cold smell of morning.
The street lamp dies, another night is over,
another day is dawning.)

Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun.
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is.
Look, a new day has begun.

(consulted in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_boyle)

Wayno Guerrini
May 24, 2009

A Friend in Need

Someone asked me to post this — an oldie but goodie

Wayno

———-

“A friend in Need”

by

Wayno Guerrini

02/16/92

His mind was a tiny island amidst a sea of turmoil. He had known
only anguish and pain for the last several months. What was God
doing in his life? Why was he suffering so? He had never known
such emotional pain in his life. Where was God? Was there even
a God?

His whole system of beliefs had been shaken to the core. Would
he turn away from God completely, or would he embrace God 100%
with his life?. Eternity was in the balance.

He had been a Christian for nearly 20 years now. He had
undergone several tests and trials, but nothing like this. He
was afflicted physically. He was no longer able to work, so he
lost his job. He applied for worker’s compensation since it was
a work related injury. Due to a foul up at the insurance
company, he hadn’t seen any income in two months. Bills were
piling up. He couldn’t apply for disability or unemployment,
because the problem had to be straightened out with the insurance
carrier first.

His marriage was in shambles. They had tried to re-finance their
house several months earlier to help pay some bills. But when it
finally came down to signing the paper work, they lost out
because he was no longer employed; he had lost his job just two
weeks before signing the paper work.

He opened the mail one morning to find he was being sued for
$5,000 by his ex-tenant for evicting him. (Although the tenant
was several thousand dollars in arrears on rent). He couldn’t
understand that. At a time when he needed help and prayer, one
of his closer Christian friends was off enjoying “the pleasures
of sin for season.” The stress created from all these problems
caused a resurgence of his bleeding ulcer. All he was able to
eat was baby food while his ulcer healed. He FELT alone.

The night became his enemy. He remembered those verses from Job,
all to well: “so I have been allotted months of futility, and
nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I
think, `How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss
till dawn. (Job 7:3,4 (NIV)). Even sleep had become futile.

He looked at his calendar. It was Tuesday. “Bible Study night”,
he mumbled. He looked at his notes, but he didn’t really need
them. He had gone through the material a few weeks ago, and it
was still pretty fresh in his mind. He knew God in his head, but
he had NEVER known God in his heart. When he needed God the
most, he FELT as if God were galaxies away.

He got into his car and drove the short distance to the home
where he would be teaching that night. He sure didn’t FEEL like
teaching the study. Only one person there tonight. Jon.

He had meet Jon a few month’s earlier, and began working with
him. Jon was a baby Christian, about 6 month’s old. They had
taken an immediate liking to each other. Jon was a typical 21
year old long haired “metalhead.” He had given his life to
Christ a few months ago. Bill was now trying to help him grow in
his faith. “FAITH!” he thought. “If I could only have FAITH,
maybe God will help me to weather this storm.”

Bill and Jon began their lesson that evening on grace. Bill’s
mind was seething in torment all this time. He said all the
right things, but his heart was raw. He was 40 years old. He
had been a Christian for 20 years, and supposedly knew it all.
But all he had was a knowledge of God in his head, but his heart
was totally empty of God’s love and mercy. He continued the
lesson for 15 minutes. At last he could stand the pain no
longer. He wondered, “Would Jon FEEL any differently about him,
if he shared what was happening in his life?” Could Bill risk
exposing his vulnerability this way? What would he think? A 20
year Christian that doubts God’s existence. That doubt’s that
God even loves him? His head told him that he should suffer in
silence. But the pain in his heart grew ever stronger. He was
about to explode.

Bill decided to risk it. He needed a friend more than ever. One
who would understand his pain; one who would show mercy. He had
to risk sharing this with Jon. Even if it meant destroying a
friendship. His tormented soul, writhing in pain, could be
silenced no longer.

“Jon,” he said. “I…I gotta share somethings with you. I need
your friendship more than ever now.” Bill began pouring his
heart out to Jon. A 40 year old child of God, to a 21 year old
child of God. “Would Jon understand this? God,” he prayed he
would.

Jon looked at Bill and said, “I understand. I too am going
through a lot of the same hurts in my life. Of all the people I
have met here at Calvary Church, you alone are the only one who
has ever shown a real interest in me.” Bill looked puzzled. He
never realised his life had ever made an impact on anybody. He
was hearing this for the very first time in his life.

Bill began to sob uncontrollably now. Jon came over, and took
Bill in his arms, and hugged him. Bill realised that night, that
God will use anyone in his life to teach him, if he would be
open and humble to God using that person. He realised that for
too long his FEELINGS toward God, were stronger than his BELIEFS
in God. He needed his BELIEFS to be an anchor in his life, so
he could withstand the negative tide of emotion that had entered
his life from time to time.

For the first time in his life, Bill knew in his heart that he
was fully and completely loved by God. He had used Jon to convey
that message. He knew that God would now work in his life to
bring about the spiritual healing he had been crying out for, and
so desperately wanted. He was reminded of that verse in Psalm
32: “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing
love surrounds the man who trusts in him.” (Psalm 32:10 NIV)

God demonstrated his love and mercy that night to Bill through
Jon. Bill continued to embrace Jon, and through a flood of tears
he finally said to Jon, “I love you, Jon.” Jon, continuing to
embrace Bill said, “I love you Bill, and so does God. Don’t ever
forget that.”

Ed note — This story although fictional, is based on actual real
life experience’s by the author. Unfortunately, all the bad
things in this story, are true, and occurred ALL at the same
time. If your struggling with your FEELINGS and your BELIEFS in
God, this is normal. We need to understand what it is we
BELIEVE. God doesn’t ask us for blind faith!

I am thankful to my many friends, whose prayers have and STILL
ARE sustaining me through this. To date, these problems have NOT
all been resolved. I need to single out two people whose time
and efforts in helping me through this time in my life were,
examples of going that extra mile.

First is my best friend, Brad Bracher. We have known each other
for 15 years. I have realised that this friendship has been just
one of God’s gracious gifts to me. Thank you Brad
for your many prayers, and for your time.

I am also thankful to Pastor Bob Beeman, of Sanctuary. His
guidance led me to a book called “Wisdom Hunter” by Randall
Arthur (Quester Publications). This book helped me to understand
the differences between my FEELINGS toward God, and my BELIEFS in
God. Thanks Bob, for your many prayers.