It’s a nice day here at the cabin. There’s talk of a thunderstorm later and the air is kind of thick & muggy, but a good day none the less. It’s actually warmer outside than inside. I just turned the heat on, so my little downstairs cave is warming up as I type.
Now let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, camp wood. As I told you earlier, the wood had been gathered, loaded, paid for, and we were about ready to leave when my curiosity got the better of me. Years ago I was the youth minister for a little church in my hometown and am always interested in other youth groups.
Now let me sidetrack here just a minute. It all ties together, honest. But have you ever looked at a person, sized them up, and decided that you had them all figured out before you had a chance to get to know them? It was getting a little on the dark side, but with the overhead lights, I had watched Honey and this man talking. He looked to be about 60 or so, built like a man that was used to working outdoors and overall, pretty average. I immediately sized him up to be an average churchman with an average ‘everybody in church on Sunday morning’ type family. You know the type. Just ordinary folk.
Now back to the conversation. As we were getting ready to say goodbye, I asked him about the youth group he helped support. He started off by explaining how he provides them with firewood to sell and how a percentage of his own profits went to their fund. He talked about how with the way the world has gotten, the youth group was a good way to give the kids something better to do with their time. As he talked, I could tell that he was sizing us up as fellow Christians. We each introduced ourselves, and he went on to tell us that he grew up going to church. Just like everyone else. One night he was picking up a car, (indicating that he used to work in the towing profession at some time in his past), and the driver of the car was stumbling down drunk. The following Sunday he was visiting a new church, sat down and was waiting for the service to start, and who should come walking out of the back room but the owner of that beat up car. Seems the drunk driver was the pastor. Roy said that he got up right then and walked out of the building. “You see, I was lookin’ at man and not at God,” he said. “I didn’t go back to church for a long time after that. You can’t look at man. ” He gazed up toward the house and said, “You know, Jackie is my fourth wife.” He went on to tell us that a few years back, he had lost his job and things were going bad at home. He didn’t go into details, and I didn’t ask. But Jackie left him. He said that they were separated for several months and he was living at the house by himself. She was in the process of filing for divorce. Late one night he said God told him “Don’t give up on Jackie.” (I know there are lots of folks, including some preachers that will dispute the if's, how's, and why's of God talking to man. But that’s a conversation for later.) Roy went on to say that when he got the divorce papers, he gave them to his lawyer and said “Here, take them. I’m not going to sign them.” I guess at that point the lawyer questioned him. Roy said that he looked at the lawyer and asked him if he believed in God. The lawyer was a little stunned and said yes. Roy told him that God told him not to give up on Jackie and because of that, he wasn’t going to sign them.
I’ve stated in the past that no one ever comes to the Lord from the mountaintop. We each have to hit bottom and be broken. You don’t cry out for a Savior unless you need saving. That night seems to have been the turning point in Roy’s life. He told us that he first had to get himself straightened out and a few months later, they started again. You know, a man doesn’t have to describe the pits of sin that he had fallen into to show you the love and power of the Savior. The glow on his face said it all. He kept gazing up toward the back door, either waiting to see if his Jackie was going to call him to supper or maybe just to get a glimpse of her in the window. I suspected that just the sight of her was his ever-present reminder of the grace and mercy of God. Then that was it. He was fired up and talking 90 to nothin’ about his Jesus! This wasn’t the standard Sunday morning preaching – oh no, this was the personal testimony of a man who has found the love of God on a personal and very real level! This wasn’t a theology student. Occasionally, he would get to talking so fast that Moses and Noah would switch places in history. It’s like the awesomeness of Jesus’ sacrifice was just bottled up inside him and if given even the slightest opportunity it would overflow and spill out everywhere! This was his love story. He was like that ‘teenager in love’ who couldn’t tell enough people about ‘the love of his life’. The first love of Roy’s life is his Jesus. (and it would be a safe assumption to say that his Jackie was a real close second.)
A new congregation pulled up and it was time for us to leave. As we drove away I thought – ‘this man is SOLID’. He doesn’t just know ‘about’ Jesus … he KNOWS Jesus! The Bible says that when two or more are gathered together in the name of the Lord, there He will be also. Folks, we came away from that place knowing that the Lord was in the midst. We’re talking some real Holy Ghost church right there in that man’s driveway! If anyone happens to be from Maine and knows Roy and Jackie, tell them that the folks from Vermont said hi and that we’ve got them in our prayers.
One final note, in the middle of all of this, Roy had asked the question “what can I do for the Lord?” He had a genuinely puzzled look on his face when he asked.
Everyone, have a great day and May the Lord bless you.