More than 30 years ago my friend asked Jesus to come into his heart. It was beautiful, from the knock on my door to that undeniable moment where he had a personal encounter with Jesus. It’s a moment I will never forget.
Years later, I bumped into my friend in a local mall. I discovered very quickly two things. First, I learned my friend was still convinced of the undeniable reality of the person of Jesus, that person he encountered that night at my house years past. He met Jesus. The next thing he shared concerned his experience with Church. It was disheartening, painful, and he wanted nothing to do with it.
Recently, now 15 years since that moment in the mall, I felt the nudge to give him a call. I sent a text to see if the number still belonged to him. Then next thing I knew we were arranging a Face-Time video chat.
The first thing out of my friend’s mouth: “This is a God thing!”
Without a moments hesitation the next thing he said was, “You know, I’ve never been happier ever since leaving church.”
I thought, “Ok here we go ...”
Instead, my friend went on to share how God has been so much a part of his life, in crazy ways that he could never have imagined. And, while I was grieving his experience of church, I was amazed at the depth of comfort that I took just from the fact he and God were still a thing. He talked to me about how recently God has spoken to him while walking the dog. God told him, “This life on earth, it’s a vacation.”
My friend had such a keen awareness that Heaven was his true home. I was amazed. He was even gracious enough to share with me how the love of his life had recently got them going to “church.” We laughed.
We updated each other on where our lives had taken us, spent some time reminiscing about the past and swapped some amazing stories of God’s handiwork in our lives. Much like that beautiful moment 30 years ago, what a blessing this “random” phone call was. Just like my friend said the moment we connected, “This is a God thing!”