“Hello, how are you?”
He returned my greeting with the customary, “Fine, thank you”, and continued to speak. As he spoke, I could tell he was slowly opening up the book of his life, giving me a brief but rich summary of his life. I confess, my initial thought was, “Oh dear. What have I started?” However, as I listened, his story began to pull me in and I found myself leaning even closer and listening more intently.
Soon, I was captured by the story of this man’s life.
He spoke of the recent loss of his beloved wife of over sixty years and of how they met while in the service during the Second World War. He shared stories of raising their children and even the tragic loss of their youngest in a farming accident so long ago. His story was like so many who can tell of the highs and lows of personal and family life, occasionally causing his voice to crack.
Finally, as if to rightly conclude his story, he squared his shoulders just a bit, and I noticed his eyes began to widen as he looked directly into mine. A slight mist now covered his azure eyes, and a heavy drop formed in the corner of one. The tone in his voice strengthened, and through smiling eyes he continued.
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine.”
I recognized his words from a favorite old hymn.
“Heir of salvation, purchase of God. Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
With a smile, he stopped, but the chorus of the old song continued in my head.
“This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.”
The chorus was a perfect illustration of this man’s life. His life was indeed filled with pain and suffering, but his words reflected a life that was in perfect submission to God, filled with His goodness, and completely lost in the love of his precious Savior.
I looked in his eyes again and saw a love that was so pure and so sweet; the burdens of my day began to melt away. I saw Jesus in this man seated next to me.
The nurse called my name and I reluctantly stood, not really wanting to leave this holy place. I took his hand, however, and thanked him for sharing his heart with me. As I walked away, I silently thanked God for allowing me the opportunity of this “chance” encounter.
Sitting in the coldness of the patient room, I pondered this undeniably divine appointment. I tried to put myself in his place and wondered how I would tell my “story”. He had spoken with such eloquence, without loathing in self-pity during hard times or boasting in self-pride during times of abundance. His words seemed to be orchestrated by one single attitude—a genuine love for Christ.
Each of us has “a story” to tell, and the story we tell is very telling. Our stories reveal much more than just the events of our lives; they demonstrate our trust or lack thereof, of our heavenly Father. Our story will always disclose where we are in our relationship with Christ.
1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
One never knows with whom the Lord will “interrupt” your day. At times, He may use you to bring consolation or peace to another through your testimony; other times, He will arrange your divine appointment for encouragement or even confirmation. God never wastes an opportunity; neither should we.
Do you have a story? What does it say about you? Does it glorify you or glorify the Father? Consider now how your relationship with Christ has changed your life. Perhaps you were a child blessed to be raised in the training and instruction of the Lord. How has His grace sustained you throughout the years? Everyone has a story. What is yours?
Blessed Lord, thank you for every opportunity that You place in our lives in which Christ may be glorified. Help us to recognize each moment as a gift from You to build in us the person of Your desire. Help us also to step out in faith to share with others of who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you have never written out your personal testimony, I encourage you to do so today. You will find it not only encouraging to your own faith, but will be helpful when God brings an opportunity for you to share it.