I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield 1878-1967
Yesterday another blogger asked an important question:
Which of the two ways – there are only two – would you describe how you were saved?
1. You were drowning in a deep pool of water. You were just about to go under. A man on the bank shouted to you to stretch out your hand. You struggled with all your might and managed to stretch out a bit of your exhausted arm. He grabbed your arm and pulled you out. He told you all about yourself and promised you would live forever if you put your trust in him for the rest of your life. You were so grateful that you decided to follow him the rest of your life.
2, You were lying dead at the bottom of the pool. You, of course, didn’t know this because you were dead. A man came dived into the pool, swam to the bottom and dragged you to the surface onto the bank. The “kiss of life” would be of no use because you weren’t half-dead but dead dead. Yet, he brought you back to life. He told you all about yourself and promised that you would live forever if you put your trust in him the rest of your life. You were so filled with joy that you decided to follow him the rest of your life.
This is my response.
Ahhhhhhhh! The second–I was dead-dead. So dead, that I didn’t recognize that the person next to me praying with tears and sobs was praying for ME! I patted her on the leg to comfort her. My boyfriend (future husband, but that was later to be determined) and I were being kind to his parents and attending a ‘camp meeting’. I had just graduated from nursing school, had a boyfriend that said he loved me, and was looking forward to working for a steady paycheck. I was in ‘heaven’ by my definition.
Now, here I was in a really weird church service in the evening and it wasn’t even Sunday. People were praying out loud, bunches of them at the same time. Young people, old people, some of them were walking around the hall that held the meeting. I don’t remember the message, the songs were unfamiliar, but I can vividly picture my friend’s mother sitting next to me on my left, with her handkerchief in her hand and tears rolling down her face. When I asked her if she was OK, she just nodded.
For many years after this I would call this same woman and ask her to pray. I knew whatever was troubling me would be laid at the feet of the only One who could fix things. Dorothy prayed until heaven answered.
The year was 1976. July of that year was to be a big celebration here in the U.S. It was our bicentennial year. One night my boyfriend and I went out to celebrate and watch fireworks. I should have been having fun, celebrating everything that had happened recently. But, my ‘heavenly’ existence, didn’t seem that satisfying! Here I was walking through the best time of my life–and still not satisfied. Actually, I remember feeling disappointed and empty. That evening, after we came ‘home’ (we were living together–a real NO-NO to everyone at the time) I was sitting on the sofa and my boyfriend was in the back room.
I was thinking.
Then, I can’t tell you how I knew, but I knew. Just as real as my computer before me is right now, I knew God was real. I knew HE existed. The next thing I knew, or felt, was an overwhelming sadness. It wasn’t my sadness. It was as if GOD were sad. He was sad that my life could be so much more. There is something gut wrenching about someone who responds to your stupidity with sadness. Beat me over the head, yell at me, I can walk away. But respond with love and sadness, I have to stop……at least for a moment.
Well, if God is real, maybe I need to do something about that. No, wait, I need to do something RIGHT NOW! I may go back to forgetting HE is real. I may go back to my cynical, Nietsche-loving, Stalin-pondering idealogies.
But wait, this guy that says he loves me, what about him? He is going to think I am some kind of weirdo. Well, God, you will just need to find me another. It seemed like I needed to make some changes, and quickly, before I dismissed this whole thing as indigestion.
I got up, walked to the back of the apartment where I thought my boyfriend was studying. I told him, “I need to be a Jesus freak.” (That’s what we called sold-out believers back in the day.)
He responded something like, “me too. I was just sitting here thinking, I could never marry someone who did not believe in God.”
No one can ever tell me there is no Holy Spirit; a Being so awesome, who works in the hearts of men. I didn’t realize that at the moment, I just knew that I gave up the love of my life in the front room and received him back in the back room. Except now, he was all dressed up as a man of God! I still remember this scene with awe. Who wouldn’t want to follow a God like this! I thought I was giving to Him–He gave so much more to me…………
I can actually see each of the above scenarios bringing the same results. I think the eventual outcome is what is important. Half-dead or dead-dead, things are not looking good. Realizing that you cannot do it for yourself is the key to salvation.
Ephesians 2:3-9 (NLT)
All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.