When I was younger, maybe 13 or 14 years old. A group of missionaries came to the church I attended to lead youth groups and services and generally talk about their missionary work.
Some of the other girls in the group immediately fell in love with one of these missionaries. He was mid-20s, tall, I was reliably informed that he was good looking but I think the thing which set him apart most was that he was French.
You can tell I was not interested in this man, I can’t even remember his name.
However, I can remember Chris. Chris was short, probably early 30s and balding. He was Irish, which meant he had an accent to rival that of the French-one. However, Chris is who I remember.
Christ had this excellent testimony. He called himself Chris the Hippie and spoke about how on his conversion to Christianity he had cut off his long hair (I’m sure he was regretting that since he was now losing his hair). It was a dramatic testimony, one of life changes.
At the end of the week, they gave us all a book and while the other girls got their books signed by the French-one, I got Chris to sign mine.
There is a Christian musician called Paul Poulton who I was (and still am a little) obsessed with as a child. He had a song called ‘Strange People’. I am able to sing it almost word perfect even now.
This song is about a guy who is minding his own business when some strange people move into the house next door to him. They did weird things like dancing, hugging and saying ‘Hallelujah’. He assumed they were on drugs. One night, he follows them and finds they go to a church. They give him a bible and he reads it and becomes one of those peculiar people.
I used to go to church and listen to people give their testimonies. ‘I was born in difficult situations and then God found me’ or ‘I was raised in a Christian family and I went away from God as a teenager and I got involved with all the things that we’re told are good by the world -the drinking, the parties, the ‘relationships’ etc but then, at my lowest, like the prodigal son I returned!’
I heard Chris talk about his dramatic conversion, I listened to Strange People, I listened to the testimonies of others and I was glad. I thought look at all the miracles the God I serve is doing for all these other people. Look at the dramatic differences God is doing for others. The God who met Saul and turned him to Paul is still meeting people in the middle of their badness. The God who forgave Moses and David -murderers – and used them for excellence is still doing that with people who the world see as beyond redemption.
And I looked at these things God was doing for others and didn’t think that my story was so dramatic. I didn’t have a road to Damascus moment. There is no real point in my life that I can point to and say ‘there, that’s when I went off the rails’.
And that’s my miracle. That is the power of God at work in my life. I was called when I was young, I followed and God has kept me and provided for me. There have been difficult times, there have been setbacks, there has been joy and success. And God has remained faithful throughout it all.
The bible says that Jesus came to give us life, life in all its fullness. This is for everyone and this is dramatic and wonderful.