Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.02.2010

The Death of Jack

Many years ago, John--though everybody called him Jack--was born into a Christian home. As he grew, his parents took care to take him to church every Sunday. Jack would listen—sometimes attentively, sometimes not-so-attentively, as little boys are prone to distraction—and something deep inside of him would respond to his pastor’s message. Conviction. Instead of acting on that conviction, though, he made deals with God. As little Jack grew into big Jack, he found new ways to postpone any decision. He didn’t like his pastor—he would proceed when this pastor left. However, a new pastor made no difference in Jack’s life, because—as most deals with God end up proving—he had no intention of fulfilling his end of the bargain anyways.

Soon, neither “sinner accountable to a just God” nor “sinner saved by grace” nor “Christian” nor simply “sinner” seemed to be a title to Jack’s liking, so he chose another one—agnostic. Of course, such a presumptuous label as that, which he wore proudly as if it was the college degree he never needed, required constant explanation. He was intellectually honest, because he believed that one could neither prove nor disprove God’s existence. True honesty, though, would have meant acknowledging that he was living in denial of God’s existence. So his father and mother, agonizing over what went wrong, prayed for their son.

One day, Jack met a pretty, vivacious woman at work--Beth. As they talked and got to know each other, they fell in love. But the pretty lady had also been raised in a Christian home, so Jack had some convincing to do. Soon, though, she called a friend and relative over who deeply cared for her—my mother—to announce that she too was an agnostic. "Did God exist? Who knows! Who cares? God is in all of us, after all. There is no one Supreme Being…no accountability…no hell…maybe not even a heaven!" And Mama, agonizing over what went wrong, prayed for the pretty lady.

They got married, though, and made a good life for themselves. Jack got a wonderful job in computers, they had two sons, and they found a house. Ten years passed—and Mama prayed, and Papa prayed, and Lauren prayed, and I prayed, and Melanie prayed, and Susanna prayed, and Micah prayed, and Jonah prayed. We prayed for Jack—without knowing that he even knew of Christ from his childhood. We prayed for Beth—knowing that she knew! And we prayed for their sons—hoping that they knew.

After a decade of marriage, though, their world collapsed. Jack left his family for someone else, leaving a devastated wife, and two sons who struggled to fill their father’s shoes. He didn’t contact us at all, of course—we lived in two separate worlds. And to his wife and his sons, he was hardly better, coming up with excuses for not paying child support or not spending time with his own children. Meanwhile, we kept praying. But we focused on Beth and her children. We never saw Jack. We rarely thought of him. From our human perspective, if there was any hope for anyone, it would be for our own relative, who had grown up in the things of the Lord. We prayed for Jack when God brought him to our minds, but you know the old saying--"out of sight, out of mind." Our lack of faith kept him a little less present in our prayers than he used to be.

Several years passed in this manner, until last Monday when Jack suddenly reached out to Mama on Facebook. This action took us all by shock. But that shock was dwarfed by what we felt as Mama accepted his invitation and scrolled through his wall. Littered with Scripture and a few disparaging remarks about the present liberal administration, Jack's wall reflected nothing of the person we knew. “Is this the same Jack?” Papa asked, voicing all of our thoughts. We didn’t let ourselves hope too much, though. It was obvious that he was no longer agnostic, but just what had happened? So Mama messaged him: “Jack, have you become a Christian?”

And he replied with exclamation points and unmistakable joy that last year he could not deny the Lord anymore, and he gave his life over to Jesus. The old Jack was gone and dead, and he requested that we call him “John” to symbolize his new identity in Christ. My family and I sat in utter disbelief when we read those words. Beth? Yes. Her sons? Yes. But Jack? John! If there was anyone, in our weak faith, that we did not expect to come to the Lord, it was Jack. But here is Jack—er, John—today—praising the Lord, fathering his sons, witnessing to his family, and preparing for baptism.

“My heart stands in awe of Your word (Psalms 119:161b),” for You, oh God have been faithful when I lacked faith. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear (Isaiah 59:1)!” Friends, have faith! “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2).” We serve an awesome, sovereign God Who makes the impossible possible. “…Men always ought to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1b).” It is God Who has done this great thing, and I haven’t been able to stop smiling for a week! If you would, please pray with me for Beth and her sons that they too would come to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour. “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations (Psalms 89:1).” Praise the Lord!




Please note that, while I have changed the names in this story, "Jack" did indeed change his name to reflect his new life in Christ.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this story!!!!!
    I got tingles all over as I read it - Oh WHAT a God is ours!
    I know of so many situations, in many of which I am in the same postion as yourselves, and I know of many men who are still "Jack"s - This was such an encouragement to me to keep believing that one day, through the Power of Christ, maybe they will become "John"s!
    Thank you so much!

    SOLI DEO GLORIA!

    -Kyrie<><

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  2. Oh, Lauren, how AWESOME!!!!!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!! How exciting!!! So encouraging...made my day! :) We had a wonderful day yesterday as my 8-year-old sister, Eunice, received the LORD as her personal Savior (read about it on my blog!)!! Hallelujiah!!

    Blessings,
    ~Miss Raque

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  3. Whoops! In my comment I said "Lauren"...I meant "Mikaela"...actually, I mean both of you! :)

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  4. How wonderful! This is such an encouraging story! I have a friend who I have not talked to in a while, who is russian orthodox, but she is not really strong in that faith. I have not talked to her in over 6 months. I need to call her up and this reminded me that we should not shut out friends and family just because they are not christians like we are. thanks I needed to hear that!

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  5. I'm so glad that you all are as equally elated as I am! Our shared joy reminded me of Romans 12:15: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." Thank you for rejoicing with me! It makes this experience even more precious.
    And, yes--please use this story as an encouragement to go do what you know you need to do for unsaved loved ones, whether that be prayer, a letter, a phone call, or a confrontation.

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  6. What an awesome story! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. Mika - that's awesome! I feel like dancing! Our God is sooo indescribably perfect in the awesome-ness of His plan! Praise the Lord for the wonderful glorification of Himself!

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  8. You guys that is SO wonderful!! I am so challenged to keep praying for the non-Christians in my life. It breaks my heart to think of anyone I love going to hell, and I am so encouraged hearing that story...our God is indeed a merciful God, "not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance."
    Praise God!!!

    Kelsey :o)

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