Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And God Smiled...

You know what would be awesome? If God were going to tell you a joke how funny do you think it would be? Monty Python use to do a skit about this guy telling the funniest joke in the world. The problem was, to hear it was to die. Death by laughter. Nobody could hear the joke and live. It was just too hilarious. That is the kind of joke that God would tell if He wanted to give us both barrels of His humorous streak.

How do I know that?

Two years ago a young couple visited our church on a Wednesday night. Towerview people are scattered all over our building during our midweek events. Youth and children events are going on. The nursery is open. Staffing those positions takes a lot of adults and that leaves a fairly small group to attend the adult Bible Study. And so I doubt that there were that many present when this couple showed up. But in true Towerview fashion one retired couple engaged them in conversation. They were new to our area and were seeking a church. As the talking wound down the older couple gave the younger couple their names and phone number on a small, ripped piece of paper. The wife stuck it in her bible.

Over the next twenty-four months this couple moved to another suburb. They checked out many churches. Dozens of worship bulletins, prayer lists, and brochures passed through our young friends bible. She tried to keep it clean. Every time she came to that torn piece of paper she saved it. It was nice to know that there was somebody in the greater St. Louis area that cared enough to tell them, "If you ever need directions, or suggestions about things in the area feel free to give us a call." Roughly 730 days passed and the couple still had not found a church that "fit." No place really seemed like home. That is what they were seeking. A church that made them feel like they belonged.

Recently our young couple moved back to a suburb several miles from our church. They remembered visiting our church but not in any specific way. They didn't remember the pastor. They didn't recall the people. They decided to give it another try. They really, really, needed a church. It was important to them. And so on a recent Sunday morning they pulled into our parking lot, shut the car off, and made their way into the auditorium. The worship service would be starting soon. The wife looked at her bible. Hmmm. She opened it, turning through its pages in search of something she thought she remembered. Wasn't this the church where that nice man gave her the names? Yes. Yes, there it is. John and Shirley. And their is their address and phone number. The young woman wondered if the older couple were still attending church here. It couldn't hurt to ask somebody. But who?

In the brief discussion that followed the wife showed the note she had saved for two years to her husband. She asked him what he thought she should do. It would be nice to meet that couple. The husband suggested she ask the man seated in front of them. He had noticed that the man was the only one in the building wearing a tie. Maybe he was a deacon. Maybe he would know this couple.

She leaned forward and tapped the man on the shoulder. He turned, looked at her, and smiled. Excuse me, she said, but do you know Shirley Warren? Well yes, the man replied. That is my wife. Why do you ask?

Two years. 730 days. A torn note. A vague memory.

Tonight my wife and I took that young couple to dinner. Their eyes lit up as they told us the story of the old, worn note pressed into the Bible. There was excitement in their eyes. We sat and talked in the restaurant for three hours and ten minutes. It seemed like maybe half an hour.

This, my friends, is called "The Fingerprints of God." That is the way He works. He goes the extra mile, stands you on your head, and leaves you gasping for breath. He loves you that much.

And if He ever decides to tell you a joke ... I suggest you take a pass. With the kind of creative energies He displays to His children ... you probably wouldn't survive the experience.


On The Cross said...

That's awesome pastor!

Kellye Fabian said...

Love this!