Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Testimony of a Friend

Today, I will not post my own thought. Instead, I will give the floor to a good friend of mine named Matt Thorne. We were together in the trenches of youth ministry for three years, and in that time, I saw the Lord use him over and over again to touch the lives of teenagers. He sent me e-mail today, and I can't help but share it. Matt writes:

"In the midst of a retail job that seems to have no end, I at times have been blessed by a few customers that, in one way or another, help me make it through the day. Wayne Anderson was one of those customers. Wayne came in every evening around seven to play the lottery. I don’t mean buy a few scratch off tickets, I mean play $30-$50 worth of tickets every day. During the interactions, which sometimes would take a while, Wayne and I would get to share stories or I’d tell him a stupid joke or we would talk politics (he hated Bush). It usually ended with Wayne laughing and telling me something like, “Man you aint right.” I miss Wayne.

When they moved me to Hartford City, it happened so fast that I didn’t get to tell a lot of people good-bye. Wayne was one of those people. In addition to not telling him good-bye, I also never got to tell Wayne about my personal relationship with Jesus. He knew I was a Christian from our talks, but I never got to tell him what Christ meant to me and what he did for us on the cross. You can imagine the overwhelming guilt and anguish that came over me this morning when I read his obituary sent to me from a faithful friend at Marsh #94.

I saw his picture and began to tear up. I started reading through the life of Wayne Anderson and as I read, I kept thinking to myself, why didn’t I say something? Why is this man burning in hell right now when I had the chance to stop it? And then suddenly, I got to the middle of the obituary and read six little words that made me cry like a baby. It read, 'Wayne received Christ in July 2006.' Praise the Lord!

I’m not sure how Wayne came to the best decision he ever made. I don’t know if someone led him or if the Holy Spirit just moved upon him so much that he had no other desire than to know Jesus. Whatever the case, I get to see Wayne again someday. Thank you for taking the time to read this and please, remember what Paul wrote in II Cor. 4:13. 'I believed, therefore I spoke.' God bless you all and have a great day!"

Isn't that an amazing word for all of us? I believe this testimony carries two lessons for all of us. (1) We should be reminded of the urgency to be vocal about our faith, and (2) we should be reminded that even when we get tongue-tied or afraid or lose an opportunity, God continues to seek and save those that are lost. What a wonderful, gracious God we serve!