The following poem was texted to me by my friend Paul Roberts, someone who knows my story, and celebrated God’s faithfulness on my spiritual birthday, January 15th.
“A cold dark night.
A rangy silhouette with a wild mop on top.
A lost, wandering soul.
A weary thumb.
A destination unknown.
A kind and patient stranger.
A story of hope seeded in a longing heart.
A new heart where a stone had been.
A well-timed intervention of mercy from an all-seeing God who long had his eye on you.
A new mission.
A stuttering tongue.
Adventure previously unknown now around every corner.
A growing obedience.
A fantastically perfect partner for the road ahead.
Children filling the house.
Students turning to God.
Resources and inspiration penned.
Wars won and lost.
Cities and countries with new hope left by a runner’s sole and soul.
Prayers offered in hidden clefts.
A new longing for a forever home with an eternal Lover leading the way.
Forty years ago I put faith in Jesus Christ, or better put, my idea of faith; that small crumb of belief I held onto, the faintest of all pictures of God as Savior, Liberator, Chain Smasher, Redeemer, Shepherd King. That bust of a meeting during a snowstorm, when I walked into an empty room. Small gathering there. Slide projector, a short guy named Jim rifling through the carousel. Feeling awkward, afraid, I took the seat closest the back wall. An hour later I prayed, as the song, Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters echoed in my head, a reflection of the dangerous currents my heart had once believed. Now seeing a way to safely cross, I bowed and talked to God, first time in my life, to know He really existed, listened. I felt loved, like a lingering hug after a long parting.
I marvel at forty grace-filled years, though broken beyond remedy; He’s used a kid with a lifelong disability, to bring coherent, concrete hope through words of life, to broken dreams. Cascading through a gauntlet of towering sky scrapers in lower Manhattan, my driver Mehdi hears about God whose face is Jesus Christ, whose heart is big enough to hold his troubles. It’s the reason Ginnette and I get up every morning and report for duty.
Today I need your prayers. Recent test results suggest I could have significant calcium buildup in the arteries of my heart, and on January 29th I go in for a heart cath. What they will find, is anyone’s guess, but God’s. He’s already been there, and so nothing will shake His grip from holding me fast. Ginnette is standing with me, a rock in times like these, the very thing I saw in her the very first time I laid eyes on her at that crazy Cru retreat, the steel of God in the veins of a woman of god, money can’t buy. Our children are stunned, but believe God has a plan. Our friends and loved ones, many of them with Cru around the world, are in prayer. We only ask one thing. Would you set aside a few minutes each day, by the alarm on your phone, to offer thanksgiving for the outcome we will hear? Can God heal? Without question, He’s shown us He can. Will He? We only know that a man is invincible until He has fulfilled all the will of God. We will not withhold a crumb of faith, from the only One we truly trust.
In Forty years, our Eternal Lover has not forsaken us.