October, 2023 – And Then… JESUS Happened!

October, 2023 – And Then… JESUS Happened!

Several years ago, I used to visit terribly poor Gypsy-peasant homes in Romania.  These ‘homes’ would have been condemned in America.  The two-room houses (sometimes only one room) for a family of four to ten were beyond filthy, sparsely furnished, swarming with flies, and with odors that turned my stomach.  On the other side of one of the walls within their house was their horse.  Often, the ‘man of the house’ was a drunk – abusive of his wife and children.   And then . . .  JESUS happened!

I have a lovely friend.  Eventually, I got to know and love her whole family.  I made the comment to her one day that her father was one of the kindest men I had ever met – and how secure she must have felt growing up with a Dad like that.  Her answer was, “Oh, no!  He was angry all the time – drunk most of the time – we were afraid of him!”    And then . . .  JESUS happened!

I grew up near a boy of whom everyone was afraid.  One never knew how his anger would be displayed.  We were even afraid for our physical lives.  This anger followed him, and even more dangerously so into his adult life resulting in multiple marriages and affairs.  He was abusive to everyone in his realm.   And then . . .  JESUS happened!

Just one more story.  I have a most wonderful friend in America.  But gradually over the years, his life has taken a downward spiral.  I remember when he and his wife were faithful servants in a ‘local church’.  Recently, he took the time to ‘pen’ me concerning everything in his life that has gone sideways, upside-down, wrong side out – about as bad as it can get. I could hardly catch my breath reading from one dark misfortune to the next    I LOVE this man and his wife. I PRAY over them, but . . .  I am waiting for JESUS to happen in their lives!  HE is their only answer.

What I have learned is that when ‘JESUS happens’, one not only gets saved, but everything in their life changes.  It may not happen overnight, but besides our hearts being transformed and for sure our eternal destination, things around us also change.   When the Gypsy peasants invited Christ into their lives, everything changed.  The husbands were no longer drunk, nor did they beat their wives and children.  Their homes were not only clean and presentable but were much improved upon.  Money that had once been spent on liquor now was used to buy appliances, cabinets, tile, curtains, and food for their homes.

Likewise with my friend’s father who was, face it, an angry drunk —  with Jesus, his whole being was transformed.  His heart became filled with love for his wife and for his daughters – for everyone!  His eyes that once blazed with anger became eyes of love filled with compassion for others – with a hand always outstretched to those who need help.

About the boy whom I grew up near, in his later life he was transformed into a new and beautiful creation with a life living to please the Savior.  No longer trying to cope with intense anger from young childhood, his life became one of wanting to help rather than hurt others – a life living to ‘serve at the pleasure of the King!’

I know that several paragraphs above, I said ‘Just one more story’.  But I do have a bit of one more – but with no details – and that would be me.  At twenty-eight years old . . .   JESUS happened, and in a rather dramatic way.  I only know that my life has never been the same since then!  My sister who lived a consistent godly life, prayed over me without letting me know and shed many a tear over me, said that she had never seen such a change in anyone’s life.  That’s what happens when JESUS happens in one’s life.

And by no means does that mean our lives become perfect, problem-free, or transformed overnight, but it is the beginning.  The process of sanctification (and may I say, a life-long process) begins to take place in the ‘inward man’.  Through immersing ourselves in the Word, through leaning on Him for everything in our lives, there is an inner peace that only Jesus can give. (John 14.27)  The Scripture says in II Corinthians 5.17  – ‘ . . . if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away’ behold, the new has come.”  Our minds become renewed (Romans 12.2) – rather than being swallowed up/destroyed by our grief and problems, we can choose to see life through the lens of God’s Word – through crying out to Him in prayer – and not through our own understanding.

My prayer for you would be that you would let . . .  JESUS happen! – in your life. He loves you (us) so much that He gave His life for us.  ‘He never leaves us nor forsakes us’, but we have to want that.  He waits for us patiently with open arms.