Sisters and Brothers in our Jesus:
I know a gentleman (might be using this term lightly) whose brother was drafted into the Army in May of 1969. His Dad changed jobs and moved his family from Michigan to Sylvania, Ohio in November 1969. His Sister was killed in a car accident two weeks later. Thanksgiving was spent with friends family’s as the funeral services were that week. For his folks and two younger Sisters, Christmas was so very hollow as his deceased Sister was a Christmas baby born early in the morning after his Mother sang at Midnight Mass.
In January, he was one of the first lucky Draft Lottery winners. He got his draft notice in February and was in the Army in March – ten months to the day after his Brother was drafted. The day he was drafted, his Brother came home on leave to go to Vietnam as an Infantry Soldier – they missed each other in the shuffle.
He was hurting in his soul and did not know where to find relief ….. Except…. He was asked to be a “counselor / leader” on a weekend for a non-denominational youth group – Young Life in mid-February 1970. He attended still feeling a bit hollow, but there was the fun energy of the fellow leaders and the High School Youth. The trip by bus to the YMCA Camp Kern outside of Dayton brought a few smiles.
Then all of Heaven began to break loose …. The first “mixer” was being taken by the shoulders, shaken and told in a scream “This is going to be the greatest weekend of your life…” then he was turned around and needed to find someone who was not in the Conga Line and shout out to them “This is going to be the greatest weekend of your life…”. Other mixers followed and there was a sweet talk about where are you and where are you going. He thought “I don’t know and off to the military…” Not much sleep that night, but lots of smiles of the feeling of generous love that was flowing from the folks and the proceedings.
Next day dawned with more activity and more talks … Saturday afternoons talk was about falling short in life … sin, then it was out in the field for a modified crazy game, kind of like capture the flag, and then off to a very nice dinner. After dinner there was a set of absolutely ridiculous skits … The leaders going to “absolutely no expense” and no pride either, to bring laughter that made the gut ache and the lungs search for air with the “entertainment” with singing and singing and singing.
Just when you thought there could be no more – then the finale was delivered. There was one more “talk”. The speaker offered a walk through the Crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of Barabbas. This notorious murder and thief literally had his very own nails and cross stolen by this Jesus. Jesus not only died for him … He died instead of him. And this Jesus was totally innocent, yet he took Barabbas’ place ….
After the “Cross Talk” the speaker entreated those there to spend 15 minutes outside alone and think and if they wanted, pray about what they heard. The young man heard that Jesus died for and instead of him. He went out into the cold starry night and fell on his knees and prayed for Jesus to be the real Redeemer and Savior of his life and soul. Screaming tears flowed and the realization of what it is to be lovingly born again overwhelmed MY entire being.
In a couple of weeks, “the greatest weekend of my life” will be 50 years ago and I am still chasing and being chased by Jesus. This is all very wonderful for me because since that day, my life has never been the same. I remember two songs from that weekend, one is “He’s Everything to Me” and the other is “King Jesus is My All in All” that about sums it up except for the love of Jesus that I realized that day has placed a love of the Scriptures in my heart. It is a wondrous 50 years, that’s my story and I am blessed in it
Praying there is much more joy to come. Hope you get the chance to share your very own salvation history “His story”.