Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Salvation Story

I love stories.  In fact, I’ve been known as the storyteller in our family since about four years of age.  Many of you are involved with the art of telling a story so I imagine you share the same fascination with stories as I do.

My own story begins in a small town in Iowa and was a story I was determined to rewrite.  Born three minutes after my identical twin sister, our father left my mother before we were a year old.   We looked alike but were different in many respects.  Like many stories you may have heard, our life was less than ideal.  Having a young, pretty divorcee’ for a mother in a small town in the early 70’s made things a bit like Peyton Place and the Harper Valley PTA for us.   Though my mother worked full-time we faced poverty at every turn.  Our father’s leaving us at 1 year of age affected my sister – she somehow felt responsible while I looked at it realistically – hey, they were young.   I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me and every lemon that life threw at me, I was determined to make lemonade. 

In high school our lives couldn’t have been more drastically different.  My twin was wild, running with the bad kids and using alcohol as an escape while I kept my nose clean and planned my own escape.  I studied hard, became student body president and yearbook editor and any free time I had was spent working part-time jobs.  Since the age of twelve I’d had my life figured out, my career path and how I would escape the poverty.  As soon as I turned seventeen I enlisted in the Air Force in order to attend the best language school in the “free world.”  Meanwhile, my sister at seventeen became a born-again.  That’s right, a holy roller, a Jesus freak.    I remember the day she told me, beaming, her own story of an what happened to her I rolled my eyes and said, “Great, and since we’re twins everyone will expect me to do the same.”  I really expect my mother would have had a better idea what to do with her daughter had she announced she was a drug addict than a born-again.

Though I may not have liked the new stares and whisperings our family faced with a “born again” I could not deny the 180 degree change I witnessed in my sister.  Rebellion was replaced with obedience and anger with a sense of calm, animosity with friendship.

Hey, I was happy for my sister but remember, I was busy making lemonade.  I pushed myself and excelled in all that I did and I didn’t need a savior.  I could save myself, thank you very much. 

Let’s skip ahead a bit to my new life in the Air Force.  Living in a dormitory, fulfilling my dream of studying Russian, I made lots of great friends from around the country.  It just so happened that on my floor, there were six of us that had siblings back home that had that peculiar experience of meeting Jesus.  So, we approached it intellectually, meeting on Friday nights to read the Bible in an attempt to figure out just what happened to them.  While we were figuring it out, we were shipped off to our next technical school and then onto our assignments.  Mine was a tiny air station in beautiful southern Italy.

I was now a far cry from my life in Volga, Iowa, population 300. And my story was unfolding nicely.  The dollar was strong and I was living in a beautiful apartment with marble fireplaces and views of the Adriatic Sea.  I had great friends with whom I would travel, eating in the best restaurants. and my career was on the fast track -  having received a number of awards from the Air Force, I was single with a disposable income…but I was still not satisfied.  I was like a mountain climber that took twenty years to train, climbed the highest peak and looked around only to behold vanity.   

One evening, I came upon the realization that I belonged to a particular denomination because of family tradition.  I was also a Chicago Cubs fans not because they were the winningest team around but because of tradition.  I no longer wanted tradition, I wanted reality.  So I asked for it.  I told God that if He is who He says He is, and Jesus really was His son and paid for my sins then I would follow Him but He would have to show me first.

God has a way of stealing in though even when all the doors have been barred shut, He is always sending a ray of divine light through a loving smile, testimonies of others, or some Word of God dropped into our lives.  

It was revealed to me that He is the great I AM.

And just as Jesus answered Thomas, Jesus answered me and said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Oh, this was a love story that surpassed “Cinderella”.  The Word from eternity past, the King of kings, stepped off his throne and out of the Godhead, he clothed Himself in humanity in order to gain each one of us.

Perhaps you say, “My story is quite different from others that I have heard.  How does this pertain to me?” So what if your story is not the same as mine or doesn’t resemble the story of others.  Maybe you are the woman at the well, or a harlot, or you have kept every law and commandment with pride.  Maybe your story doesn’t resemble any in the Bible. 

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

All.  There is no way you can find yourself outside of the word, "All" is there?

In the Bible, Jesus is called the Author of our Life and the Author of Life (Acts 3:15) the Author of our Salvation (Hebrews 2:10) and the Author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2). 

Today, I would like you to meet the Hero of the story.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.  Acts 3:15

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10


Sarah Pratt said...

Great testimony Richele!

Nelleke Plouffe said...

I'm always so amazed at how God meets each of us where we are. What a wonderful Saviour we have.

Jeanne said...

So beautiful. I love you. xxx

Sarah said...

A beautiful picture of God's saving grace. Thank you Jesus.

Elena said...

Praise Him!! Beautiful testimony of God's amazing grace & mercy.