After choosing to submit to God’s authority in my life and the wave of love that followed, one of the best changes for me came in a new found freedom to share the good news of the gospel with people. I accepted Jesus as my Savior 30 years ago, and have consistently struggled with seizing up and not having a clue what to say when it came to telling others about new life in Him. That was the big motivator to take the Navigator’s Bible study when it was offered at our church. I wanted to speak about the good news of God’s grace and salvation found in Jesus, but I didn’t know where to begin.
Well, Navigator’s is really clear. After memorizing about 25 Bible verses related to salvation and God reaching out to people, it all gets put together in a single illustration called “The Bridge to Life.”
If you’re not familiar with it, it will be worth your while to see it and read through it. You can click here to see it for yourself.
I don’t know if you can imagine how excited I was to be able to sit down with someone for the first time and draw it all out for them. I asked which side they were on, and would they like to accept Jesus as their Savior and begin life with Him as Lord of their life. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. Afterward, it was as if LIFE had been infused in me!!
I also had the opportunity to spend some time with a woman and her family at the hospital. She had recently been diagnosed with a cancer that was already advanced. From this new place of life and love that God had brought me to, even though I felt like I was in way over my head, God graciously gave me the words, thoughts and insight to bring a significant measure of hope into a really difficult time. He was showing me again that as God over all, he really does want to bring His LIFE and wholeness into a broken, hurting world one onerous circumstance at a time.
Repeatedly throughout the months before Christmas I would meet with girlfriends for coffee. It was as if this new life simply couldn’t be contained and inevitably would spill out in my words and demeanor to be seen. Opportunityafter opportunity arose to communicate God’s plans for life, hope, wholeness, freedom and love to hurting and broken people – believers and unbelievers alike. I was astounded as a friend just out of the blue said, “You’ll have to tell me sometime what you believe about God. I’m really interested to know what you think.” A group of us began the “Breaking Free” Bible study at the church; I was thrilled to think of more people experiencing this same freedom that had completely changed so much of life for me.
Life was consistently adventure; I couldn’t imagine anything better. The closest analogy I could find to describe life now was ‘a perfect honeymoon.’ I was loved, I was satisfied, I was often swept off my feet, I was enthralled, and I was secure. Life couldn’t have been better! I was often awake at 6:30 to spend time in God’s Word – learning from Him, and being loved by Him. Jesus’ quick obedience to His Father stood out for me as I read in Matthew. In the gospel of John I was intrigued by how often John spoke of Jesus being under God the Father’s authority. I believe Jesus is God too, so for the Son to choose to obey the Father to accomplish our redemption – well, that makes me curious. If Jesus chose to obey the Father, then it falls to reason that I am in no position to disobey – ever! A journal entry from October 5 reads, “Father, keep helping me to get this – you are KING and I am under your authority. You are the boss of me; when you speak, I obey. Father again, enable me to hear what you want me to do or say – I want to follow your lead.”
It was late in the fall when I caught my first glimpse that not all was well in “paradise.” There were more changes to come – and these ones were painful…