I have been blessed to have listened to and read a number of personal witness stories chronicling the authors’ Faith and life journeys. It was truly amazing how beautiful and individually God worked in each of these individuals’ lives. Just as each individual was uniquely different, so too was the way God worked within each individual’s life to inject and make available His grace. Just as unique, through our beautiful free will granted to each, was the way each of us recognized (or not) and acted on (or not) these wonderful gifts that Our Lord sent our way.
Immersing myself in these other men and women’s walks in life, first, it is amazing how many times God knocks at our door with a wonderful present awaiting a response; calling us to a closer union with Him. How many times are we oblivious to the pearl of great price set right in our hands. How many short stories in each epic journey (I add my story to this list) does the subject decline this gracious gift and even slam the door right in Jesus’ face. Even so, He, time after time, continues to extend His hand out, making my step toward Him only a matter of my saying “Yes”, only for my asking.
It is a good thing that God’s mercy is relentless. Until our dying breath, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God continues to place beautiful graces, and opportunities for more graces, at our feet. God not only wants each one of us to join Him, but the Bible also depicts how God appreciates the fight, the struggles we go through while searching for Him. He especially loves the times when we are actually fighting against Him. Then, through the course of the fight, God’s trueness and wonder is uncovered, causing a life changing metanoia moment. “I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” What an unconventional, yet glorious statement filled with hope for anyone and everyone on this planet. Even the ones of us that feel and see no redemption for themselves, are still welcomed and extended that hand of mercy, grace and love to turn and be welcomed at God’s eternal banquet table.
The second thing that struck me as very interesting. Although each person’s story was completely and uniquely different, with completely different circumstances/crosses borne, each story contained an eerily similar set of situations/events compared to my own journey’s story. I am not alone in my battles toward salvation. Elements of God’s wake up calls, how the world responded and even some of the gifts received during and after one’s cross, God’s will, ran its course, found me blurting out, “That same thing happened to me!” I can learn from these examples. I can take proven solace that a cross can have a resurrection at the end if I look for one.
The wonderful present attained from each persons’ shared journey with Christ is, hope. The brilliantly bright but thin crescent of light along the eastern horizon seen at the end of a long, black, dark night. I encourage my readers to first, find a few life journey stories and read how someone else wrote and experienced their journeys, their dark nights. For a shameless plug, a good one is my book, “I have come to set the earth on fire”. When reading a witness story, listen for the crosses experienced and how, with Jesus’ hand outstretched, life became beautiful, simplified and transformed as the light of Jesus was infused into one’s heart.
Next, find a quiet place and write your journey with Christ. It will be incomplete, of course, because your journey is not yet completed. You will get a sense of where you are now and how your travels (good and bad) have brought you to your present point of reference. At the end of your story, and after comparing your story with those other journeys with Christ, you will see how you are not alone in your struggle. Everyone, in spite of their outward appearance, is struggling and searching for truth. Struggling to make sense of what is happening in their life. Struggling to making sense of what is happening in the world around them.
In the end, your story will include two feelings: First, thankfulness. Thankfulness to God for all the blessings heaped on you – whether one has accepted or rejected them. Thankfulness for all the people sent to intersect with your life to bring God’s message to you. The second is hope. “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” Regardless of were one’s individual Faith journey lays, we are still in need of the Eternal Physician’s care. Jesus, the Eternal Physician is always on call to be with us throughout one’s struggles and dark nights, holding one’s hand, showering graces needed to get to that sliver, then rising of the light of His love and mercy.
Join me in the search for truth and God’s glory that He has planned for each of us. Join me to celebrate the beauty and wonder of that beautiful thin crescent of hope rising on the horizon. Let us celebrate the birth of Christ, the ultimate gift of hope that God has set at our feet to bring us home to Him, to our eternal and glorious home. Go ahead, grab onto my hand and grab the hand of another brother so, through our mutual stories of Faith and hope, we can together reach out and be pulled by Jesus’s outstretched hands, toward that thin but widening bright light of hope, and be seated at the Lord’s banquet table awaiting us. Amen.
 Luke 15:10
 Mark 2:17