This is one chapter of the free book titled Naked Faith Part II chapter 31 found by following this link. Scroll down fin the book.
With an old acquaintance and now a brother of faith, we, over the past few months have been meeting and reading the Bible. Last week we were reading about Philip going to Samaria and many of the Samaritans responding to the good news of Jesus the Christ. They were so taken by what Holy Spirit had to say through Philip they received the message, were baptized in water, and then, after Peter and John came to them they were baptized in Holy Spirit.
As we chatted, my lips framed a question for which my brain had no answer. I passed on the question to my brother saying, “What do you think Philip said to a bunch of know-it-all anti-Jew Samaritans that they would want to hear?”
The silence became uncomfortable. I broke it by admitting I had no idea but could only guess.
Our meeting place is my favorite coffee shop. To my left, one table away sat a woman I have known for years. Just last year she heard a story of Christ that so captured her, she too was baptized in water and is very active in a local church. She did not seem overly occupied by studying to be a nurse, doing her real estate business, keeping a husband and children happy and preparing her lesson with which to teach her Sunday school children, so I turned and pointed to my friend and said, “Treat this young man like he has never heard of Christ Jesus. What would you say to him?”
Immediately, like a stunned deer captured by a car’s headlights and with a weird look on her face, she first looked straight ahead, then up, gained a smile, relaxed, turned to us and we all entered into an uncomfortable pause. Able to ignore my desire to break the silence, I just listened to the cacophony of people dancing with life right there in front of me. Within a minute and with great poise and confidence, she turned to us and spoke words similar to this.
“Why wouldn’t I love Him. Why wouldn’t I? He took each empty, dark corner of my life and hugged it into happy. He gifts me each moment of every day. He is my reason to live, have hope for tomorrow, and a purpose to live right now. I can, with a pause in each moment, like in-between each breath, see His loving face, experience anew His embrace of peace. Then looking at His smiling face looking square into mine, I am flooded with such inexpressible joy…
Why wouldn’t I trust Him? He took the past heap of decaying efforts and after making them compost, planted Holy Spirit’s presence, revelation, acceptance, love, and sense of peace deep in my now fertile soul. He wakes me to a new day of possibilities and tucks me in like a child at night as I drift off to sleep remembering how He, that day, took me to the fair of life and even bought me cotton candy. Then I take just a moment to tuck the memories away and excitedly wait for tomorrow.
Why wouldn’t I honor Him? My life is no longer a mystery. He is both my purpose and core. Where an empty, chaotic void once ruled, His peace and love, along with this unfathomable sense of being right with God and humanity now lives. My life is no longer me trying to become, but the ability to watch Him be Himself to others through me. I have discovered He almost hugs me too much, everywhere, all the time, that I want to hug others with the same love and encouragement.
Why wouldn’t I obey Him? My previous will had no other capacity than to pad the desires of my flesh, dance to the tunes of the world, and gain prominence before people, even demanding respect before giving any. His will, His ever so perfect desire to be the answer to every human heart has so burst alive in me I cannot but share His tears of pain and joy, and heal the wounds of hate and fear. His will has no boundaries for me. Here I share another of His hugs. His kind thoughts toward me never end.
Why wouldn’t I remain with the only one who walks before each of my breaths, removes every stone from my path, plants projects too big for me to accomplish, delivers all the resources to do so to my front steps, and gloves me with His skills to transform my world into children at selfless play?
He is everything to me. He lives within me and sneaks out of me to you. If He died, I’d die.
Why? I ask you why wouldn’t I love Him who is forever faithful and has no plans to leave me, is honest with me, trusts me with His desires, and always, without fail, hugs me back to His first, all healing embrace?”
With that, she turned away and went back to work. In concert I turned to see on my friends face a smile matching my own. From toes to top of our heads, from deep within and now from ear to ear we were but one big happy smile. Our hearts were warmed…okay hugged. After she had dumped her inside life at our feet and we each discovered and proclaimed ‘I like it!’
Finally, I was able to say to my friend, “Well, I guess that would be what Phillip had to say to the Samaritans.”
After relating this event to Linda and about a week later, we were at the coffee shop. There she was. I almost ran over to her as she, having seen me, removed her earphones, stood, and hugged me. Linda, now to my right, heard the rest of the story.
Apparently, she had never tried to share her testimony before. My request for her to expose her belief had come as a surprise. After a silent prayer she then proclaimed with clarity what she had never before put into words.
Then she informed us that the rest of her day fell into insurmountable challenges which she could not avoid. Not knowing exactly what she had said to us she never the less found herself clinging to Jesus’s hand like a desperate child. Again all was well. Then she said, “Yay! Why wouldn’t I trust Him?”