Amazing Grace John's Encounter With God Ch 4
God of Wisdom
As Deacon Jeffrey Maynard came through the door, Pastor Walters snapped out of the past and into the present. Pastor, Jeffrey began, The Deacons and I have been sitting with Tom in the study, he's freaking out like a caged animal. I don't know how long we can keep him here. I'm telling ya he's crumbling by the minute. Can you give us some counsel on how we should proceed until you get there?
Pastor Walters looked over at the devastation written on Jennifer's face. He knew he needed to focus his attention on this situation before moving on to handle Tom. As he sought the God of wisdom he contemplated his next action ... "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." James 1:5-8
Pastor turned to his Deacon, "Jeff, I would advise you to seek the Holy Spirit's direction for wisdom, pray with him or open the word of God and begin reading it to Tom, I will be there as soon as I can."
Jeff's eyes landed on Jennifer's vulnerability and he felt rage within his heart, "Yeah I'll read God's word to Him alright." Matthew 5:30 came to his mind ... "And if your right-hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
Instead of allowing the rage to control him or to take up residence ...he sent up a prayer for God's wisdom and His Holy Spirit to control him and guide him as he headed back to the office.
As Jeffrey made his way out of the room John felt himself shaking inside. He told Pastor that he needed to take a break and walk off some of the adrenalin still thundering through his veins. Pastor Watermelon understood, all too well, the conflicting and wild emotions threatening to undo John.
After John left the room Pastor looked over at the women and studied Jennifer. She was struggling to quiet her soul. He determined it necessary to give Jennifer more time to come to grips with what had happened to her. He turned to Jill and decided to ask her some questions about her husband. You see John had come forward the previous Sunday morning as the congregation sang, I Surrender All, and laid his weapons on the alter. There had been no time in Pastor's grueling schedule to discuss this, action of surrender, with John that week. Although they had not talked about it yet, Pastor was quite sure he knew the story behind the action. The pastor began, "Jill, you and John have not been in our congregation long so I don't know much about your background. Can you tell me a little about your husband?"
Jill felt like a deer caught in the headlights. She wasn't sure she should speak for her husband but in the little time, she had come to know Pastor Walters, she perceived his intentions to be pure and unadulterated. She did not want to expose all of the pain and suffering her dear man had been through. Where would she begin and what would be relevant for Pastor to know. She was quietly weighing her options and did not speak for a few minutes. Pastor Walters seemed to understand her struggle and waited patiently for Jill to speak.
"Pastor, you have no idea about the journey that God has taken my husband on to bring us to this Church. It is miraculous really .. You see John is a Vietnam Vet (ah huh thought Pastor - I knew it!) After serving his time in Vietnam he came home to a country that literally spit on him and called him names as he walked off the airplane ...and for what! John had served his Country and its people. He had obeyed the orders of his country and given his life to protect it. The shock of the reception he received, upon landing on the soil of the USA, was the last straw of hope for John."
My husband experienced the worst kind of tragedies imaginable during his stint in Vietnam. "Yes, I know ..thought Pastor Walters painfully" "In fact, to this day he will not tell me all of the specifics. All I know is that it was horrific and so damaging that it almost destroyed him."
"John was homeless and estranged after his time in the service. He could not come to grips with what happened in Vietnam ...with the obliteration of lives, as a smashing of so many insects, and the comrades he held in his arms as life drained out of their bodies ..all of the injustices he faced when he came back to the States were too grave to hold in his soul."
John Introduced to The Word of God - Bible
Jill continued, "One day, not too long ago, as he sat on the grass at one of his favorite fishing spots on Lake Odessa, one of your Church members, Ken Gentry stopped to talk to him. John looked suspiciously at the young man who reached his hand out to introduce himself. John noted that there was a kindness to Ken's features and a knowing in his eyes. John wasn't sure he liked or wanted this young man's eyes disrobing his vulnerability. But Ken didn't acknowledge John's discomfort, instead, he plopped down beside him. It didn't take Ken long to put John at ease with his relaxed ways and nonthreatening mannerisms. The foremost question in John's mind was .."Why would a man like Ken stop to talk to him, a good for nothin' homeless man?"
As John concentrated on fishing, Ken lounged back on his forearms and talked as if they were old friends. Ken was sharing stories of his life and situations with great humor. He was talking to John as if he was somebody important. John could feel his body loosen up as he weighed Ken's words and observed his mannerisms. Ken had a way about him that allowed John to let down some of his walls down, the walls he so diligently guarded. Ken did most of the talking. John found himself laughing softly at some of his stories. There was something different and intriguing about Ken. He was unlike any man he had ever met; he couldn't put his finger on it, but he intended to find out. John hoped this would not be the last time he would meet see Ken.
Before Ken left he handed John a book explaining that it was the word of God, the Bible. He told John it was the book of life. Ken smiled warmly and told him to keep it. John saw the sincerity in his eyes and quietly responded with a 'thank you.' Ken got to his feet then bent down to shake John's hand, flashing a big smile he said, God Bless you, John!.
As John turned back to his fishing he was rerunning the conversation in his mind. Tom said the book was the word of God. He said it was the book of life. John meditated on those words as he stared at the very worn book he held in his hand, the supposed word of God. "Could it be there was a God?" After all the horror and devastation of the war, he'd pretty much decided that there was NO God. Still, John tucked it in his jacket and concentrated on catching a big one for dinner that night.
Encounter with God
Jill continued the story by telling Pastor about John's Encounter with God. "That night God revealed himself to John in a supernatural way. John was setting up camp. He built a campfire. As he sat on a log he stared at the red hot embers. Then out of the darkness, God spoke into John's soul. He told John He loved Him and that He had a plan for His life. John ran over to his jacket and grabbed the Bible Ken had given him. It was dog eared from years of use. As he sat beside the campfire holding the Bible in his lap ... He opened it and then watched as the pages of the Bible turned right in front of him. He began to wonder if he was asleep ...is this a dream? His eyes searched the page and then landed on ... "For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock."
"There is so much more to his story Pastor, more I feel you would like to know. But what I can tell you is that John is no longer a man without hope. He was healed from the years of torturous guilt, shame and thoughts that plagued him night and day. He knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was real and that He loved him and He cared about every detail of his life. John has studied the Bible for hours and hours learning all He can about the God who came to his rescue; the God who pulled him up out of a miry pit and set his feet upon a rock!"
Pastor Walter's eyes filled with tears as he contemplated the love and mercy of God in reaching out to John... Amazing Grace came to his mind ... "He once was lost but now he's found ...was blind but now he sees."
A Soul at Rest
After Pastor wiped the tears from his eyes he turned to focus them on Jennifer. He noted that there were no more tears or red blotches on her face, in fact a soft peace covered her countenance. She had been listening intently beside Jill. She had also felt the power in Jill's words ...the power of God seeking out and calling this man, John, to Himself.
Jennifer now spoke. "Pastor, I am ok now, really I am. As I listened to Jill, God spoke to my heart. He showed me that I need to put the violation behind me and open my heart to His healing touch. My true protector is God Himself. I see that clearly now. God placed John in the right place at the right time for my protection."
Pastor smiled as he contemplated the great and marvelous work of the Holy Spirit. It was evident that the Holy Spirit was working a miraculous healing in Jennifer's heart.
Sisters - It Is Well
My Experience with God Bringing Good Out of a Bad Situations is:
© 2010 Susan Ream