Got a rather surprising phone call this morning. It was from the wife of a couple Beve and I have known since we were wet behind the years in our marriage, when we had a tiny baby and were living in a college dorm. She wanted to 'come out of the closet,' as she put it. Those were her exact words. You should have seen my forehead wrinkle in bewilderment. I know what that term means and, though I know how she feels about the subject, I also know exactly how she feels about her husband. She adores him. They adore each other. They might just be the happiest couple I know. And that's saying a whole lot.
"We're joining a church," she told me.
This is a woman whose views and beliefs I've known and accepted. I don't know that I'd have called her an atheist, but she's always had serious doubts about Jesus. And even more serious doubts about the Christian church. Her husband was raised in the church but stopped attending after college. Her influence? Or life? We never quite knew.
But a few weeks ago, while in Hawaii, they went to a church with some friends and when she looked over at her husband during the singing, he had tears in his eyes. During the sermon, she was knocked between the eyes with the truth and love of the spoken word. When they returned home, they decided to find a church. Her husband told her that being in that community of believers washes away the pettiness of his daily job. Those words clenched for her. Now, just weeks later, they've decided they're all in.
"Joining?" I said. "You're joining. Not just checking it out. checking out a few others. You aren't dipping your toes in, then wading a bit up to your knees, then your waist. No you've climbed the ladder and are diving off from the high dive. Right into the deep end of membership."
"I've always known what church would be right for us," she said.
This is a woman who has been vocal about her feelings about the church as long as I've known her. But all along she's known where she wanted to go. Isn't that interesting. Something in her knew all along.
So now they're becoming members. And slowly telling people around them this sea-change decision. You'd have to know them to understand how big this is, but trust me when I say, it'll startle people.
It thrills me (which is why she told me).
There are always people in our lives we can't imagine coming to the faith. She was one of those. I think this step I've been praying for, but never dreamed would happen. There are more steps for her, I know, but this is a very big one, and I am awed by it.
As I've said before, I prayed for my father for 20 years before he became a believer. When he did, it was one of the best days of my Christian life, not only for the fact of it, but because it showed me that God answers 'earnest and upright prayers.' Today, I'm reminded of that again.
And so I praise God.