Monday, February 18, 2008

Words for Living #8 (published in "The Community Voice" January 30, 2008)

Someday, I might get to tell you the story of our dog that bit me. Almost took my eye out, and I got a whipping for instigating the attack.

The cat that we lost two islands away that made its way home after six months is a fun one. Truly, that cat had more than nine lives; I think he used at least nine lives surviving a “fall” into our open well.

I was also bit by a monkey at a zoo and was rewarded with rabies shots. You know the kind where the needles are two feet long and go into the stomach. One cat I owned hunted and apparently killed dogs. Poor thing was hit by a car while chasing a dog across the road.

I could tell you about the people who couldn’t go on “pilgrimage” so they would stone our house instead. The day before, the leaders would warn us, assure us they would make sure the stones were small, and invite us to the huge party afterwards. We went to the party and the next day they cleaned up the yard and fixed anything the stones broke.

I’ve also lived through a communist coup, had a .45 held to my head by a crazed neighbor, and was riding in a car mistaken for one driven by a cop killer. Over all, it’s been a boring life compared to some of your stories.

Some stories are funny; others may be interesting or terrifying. Then there are the ones that change your life. I remember standing in front of a church sanctuary, watching the most wonderful woman in the world walking toward me, and thinking “What am I doing?” I remember the excitement when my son was born. I got home from the hospital praising God, saying “I have a son!” And God said back, “I had a son, too.”

I remember hearing about God the Father who loved me so much that He sent Jesus, His only son, to take my punishment and give me eternal life. Trust me, at that point in my life; I was well acquainted with guilt and punishment. I remember personally accepting that gift and asking for forgiveness for my sins. Something happened at that moment beyond imagination or explanation.

I walked away from the alter and saw, for the first time in my life: colors. I don’t know if this ever happened to anyone else, but that’s my story. The real question is; what is your story? Have you been to the point where you felt the personal and living love of God for you? Have you accepted responsibility for the wrong things you did and ask God to forgive you? Have you said “yes” to God?

I haven’t been flawless since then. Like everyone else, I mess up. I only have a promise. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]

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