Stories like this are all too rare. But why? This is the gospel applied to real life, real pain, real brokenness. God is truly glorified when this happens. Don’t be surprised if He’s calling you toward a a miracle like this one:
My Fall Into Grace, Part Two
by Will Lohnes
After talking with Jody at the store on Saturday night a question crossed my mind. Would Mike and his family show up at our church the next day? It was a fleeting thought; I didn’t dwell on it. Too much pain. Too little hope.
Early the next morning, as I made my final sermon preparations, I asked the Lord to give grace and truth in the service and sermon. As I walked into the church I saw Mike, Jody and kids. They indeed had come. It took guts on Mike’s part because many of our congregation knew the history all too well. Mike could not have known what kind of reception he would receive, but he came. It was God’s time, finally.
Picture the scene: Half the people were buzzing about Mike and his family being at church. The other half was clueless of our history. They were excited a new family was visiting!
I found myself in a difficult position. I had made it a practice to not preach on Sunday if relationships were broken and I had not sought reconciliation. The scripture is clear, “if your brother has something against you, leave your gift… reconcile… return… offer….” (Matthew 5:23,24). Mike and I had not been restored to each other for over five years. I had prayed, desired, and sought restoration. But God had His timing. With Mike in the church I could not preach unless we were reconciled.
Then an almost miraculous happening occurred. Years of prayers came before God and He called in a blessing. I went directly to Mike and said, “Mike, may I talk with you?” I did not know for sure why he came, where his heart was, what he desired. Nothing. But I knew my part before God. Mike followed me to the back corner of the church. I turned and said,
I cannot preach without reconciliation. If I have sinned against you in any way, I apologize and ask your forgiveness.
His response was immediate,
With all my heart and would you please forgive me for my sin against you.
And in a single moment, five years of broken hearts, shattered ministries, selfish pride, and dishonor to Christ all fell away. Reconciliation and restoration in grace was poured out without measure. Tears of joy, hugs of hearts, and smiling souls all danced at once. God was honored as evil was rejected.
The people who knew the history were crying and rejoicing at God’s beautiful grace displayed for all to see. The triune God was declaring in our midst:
This is why my Son died. This is why I have given grace to My church, that I may be glorified in My church, MY Church.
The blessing of the Lord rested at our church, The Fountain of Grace, that day. I had seen God do what no man could do. Following the service I hugged Mike again and we parted. Immediately as I began to drive home my eyes flooded with tears. “Thank You Lord. Thank You for Your reconciling Gospel of grace.”
I picked up the phone and called Bob Bevington and told him what had just happened knowing that he and Mike were still estranged. He was profoundly touched, almost disbelieving. But I will let him tell his story.
Simply let me end by saying to you: Be ready with a heart of grace. Be confident in God’s Gospel of reconciliation. Be reminded that when God shows up, He thunders with grace and the hearts of men bow. We wait for Him to come to set all things right and make all things new. Weep! Wait! Worship! He comes.