Mom – came to Christ in spite of the odds. She grew up on a non-Christian family. Her dad died when she was 12. It was an older sister who one day invited her to church. Mom accepted Christ that night. After graduating High School, she boarded a train alone and traveled over 800 miles to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Dad – also came to Christ in spite of the odds. Dad grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father. One day a friend of grandpas came over to tell him he had come to Christ, and knew he had to give up alcohol. He invited my grandpa to church, knowing that alcohol was ruining my grandpa’s life as well. Grandpa didn’t want anything to do with Jesus, the church, or now this friend. But, my dad knew there had to be something better than the home he was living in. My Dad heard the conversation, found the church, and accepted Christ when he was 16. Dad later went to Moody, where he met my mom. They married after Dad served in WWII.
One day, not too long before Dad went home to heaven, I asked him if he ever had doubts about the Bible. I was having my own doubts. “What if someone made it all up?” I asked. We had devoted our lives to being pastors, to following this book. Was it all a waste of time?
“I’ve had my doubts,” Dad said. “But whenever they come, I look at the lives of those who have tried to do life on their own. I can look back on my own family growing up, my friends, those who turned their back on God’s Word. Their lives, in comparison, are a mess. By God’s grace, I’ve been married for forty-some years. You kids are all living solid lives following the Lord. The Bible’s instructions about life and money and raising a family are the best way to live. So, even if it isn’t true – it is still the best way to live. And then I figured, if it gives the best way to live, the Author must have known what He was talking about, so the rest is probably true as well.”
This may not be the most profound apologetic, but it works for me. Christianity works. It changed my parents’ lives, my life, my kids’ lives and hopefully my grandkids lives. If Christianity works in this life, I’ll trust The Author with the next one.
I was reading through one of Dad’s old sermons where he wrote about home. He wrote:
- A place where the small are great and the great are small.
- A place where strife is shut out and love is shut in.
- A place where Christ is the unseen guest at every meal and the silent listener at every conversation.
A Christian home is a glimpse of Heaven. My parents are in their true home now. A home where Jesus said the first would be last, and the last, first. Where strife is shut out and love is shut in. Where Christ is at every meal and active in every conversation.
I brought an old Bible of Mom’s on this trip – I didn’t mean to – but when I threw in another Bible I forgot to take hers out. So, I was surprised to find it in my suitcase the other night. Seeing it there, I took it out and started reading her notes. In one of the pages in the back she wrote,
- Think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven
- Think of taking hold of a hand, and finding it God’s
- Think of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality
- Think of waking up and finding it home
Neither mom nor dad had a great home growing up. They have one now. Christianity works.