Tuesday, June 16, 2009

End of the Story

Today's Link
The Cookie Jar

Today's Saying
Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel. ~Author Unknown

Today's Picture
Our first rose of the year
James had gone from a highly successful Pastor in Chile to a drunk on the streets of Chicago. He had watched as Christians betrayed Christians and had decided there was no God. When his pastor friends managed to find him he would insult and laugh at them driving them away. He was a alone and wanted to be alone. In the next few years he got what jobs he could to get drinking money. He spent time in various shelters. It gets cold on the streets of Chicago. His health began to fail and from time to time he end up in emergency rooms where they madfe him well enough to go back on the street. It was not a great time or a great life.
In the summer when he had no money to drink he would sometimes go to a little park and sit and look at the flowers and the rabbits and squirrels. Sometimes, when the police didn’t come by , he slept on that park bench.
One day a man came and sat beside him. He didn’t say anything he just sat there. Two days later he was back. Again he sat next to Jim. Jim asked if he wanted anything. The man said no . He just didn’t want to sit alone. The third time James decided to tell the man his story. The man listened but said nothing. He didn’t say “ Your wrong there is a God”. He didn’t say “ How could you do that?” He just nodded at the right times and that was that. A few days later the man came back . He told James a story. In the early Church there came a day when the Emperor demanded that everybody acknowledge him as God. If you failed to do so the penalty was death. Out of that period came some of the great martyrs of the Church. They refused to sign the oath. They refused to name other Christians . They died a martyr’s death. We celebrate them to this day. But what we forget is there were priests and even some Bishops that signed the oath. Even some that turned in other Christians. Did God fail? Or was He there in the martyrs working to save his people? The Church is still here is one answer. The Church is still there in Chile . God has not turned his back on his people even when they turn their back on Him.
James thought about that for several days. Then his new friend invited him to an evening Mass. That’s when he discovered his new friend was a Priest. A man whose mission was to the down and out in Chicago. Sometime during this period he stepped over the line and began to believe again. Though the priest says he never stopped believing he was just angry with God and was punishing Him in the only way he knew how, by withholding belief.
James died soon after that. His time on the street had been too hard on Him. But he died in the arms of the God he had always really loved.
He went home.
This story of James was hard for me to write because it’s true, James or Sav as we called him was one of my best friends in my High School youth group. He was far braver than me. I envied that. He could speak Finnish I envied that. When he got the Baptism in the Holy Spirit I envied that. And when he went to Finland to study I really envied that. I was one of the pastors that pressured the Synod President to get him called to the mission field.
I rejoiced when he went. I really envied him because I once wanted to be a missionary but God had other plans for me. I envied him when I learned how well his ministry was going since my congregation was not growing but just holding its own. I cried when I heard that he had lost the faith and why. It made no sense to me. I had coffee with him when he was working on his PhD. He dared me to convince him there was a God. I failed. I cried again when I heard he had cut all ties and was now a drunk in Chicago, I stood at graveside with some other pastors who were also friends of Sav and we listened to a Priest tell us of a faith never lost but hidden in pain. I felt the presence of the loving God that had called him home and I envied him one more time.
So I felt a need to tell his story. If he had died in the government purge his story would be told. If he had been a martyr his story would have been told. But he did what martyrs do until he was ordered out of the country. He saved people who would have been killed without regard to his own life. If the government had caught and killed him he would have been a hero of the faith. To me he is still a hero, a wounded hero , a broken hero, but a hero nevertheless .

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Tammy and Tommy UK landed with a thump in the bottom of the trench behind the town hall which was instantly flooded with light as Eino’s equipment came on. They were greeted by a screaming Willie who was shouting “ I promise not to drink any more. I promise. Don’t let the ghosts get me.” as he ran off toward his house. Climbing out of the trench they discovered that the town clock said it was two in the morning. They figured they had been gone for four hours or so. The question now was how would they explain this to their parents. They were going to end up being grounded for life or at least they thought they were.
They quickly decided that Tommy would use his ring to transport them to Tammy’s house and then after they tried to explain to her parents why they were so late getting back from the picnic he would go home and try to explain to his parents.
Tammy’s father opened the door and through his arms around his daughter. “ We thought the spider ate you/” he said “ The whole town has been looking for you. Where have you been for four days?
“Four days?”, Tommy and Tammy said together “ It couldn’t have been four days.“

Wrap UP
It was a good day. Betty and I did a story together which we will post tomorrow. We are still married but she kept crushing my story line and I hers. I wonder if either of our stories would have been better than what we ended up with. Still it was fun. Then we went shopping. We went to two stores and in each store I was ready to leave long before her. A clerk saw me sitting on my scooter staring into space and asked if she could help me . I said only of she has something to speed up a wife. When we came home I visited all the blogs that left comments yesterday. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story on James (Sav) has got to be one of the must heart felt stories I have read. And I don't mean story as like a fictional or real life story, but something you wrote from your heart to share with us. I can't thank you enough. This moved me.

Well maybe this will sober up Willie...for some reason I don't think so...wow 4 hours and it was 4 days...hmmmm interesting. Landing in the trench and the cameras come on...wow...Wonder if they are really capturing this so Eino can see it

Mahalo again Dr. John You are an inspiration :)

1:41 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Dr. John, that your friend could deny his faith for so long and then reclaim it, is a truly inspirational story. Sav is a hero, not just for his work in Chile, but also for being able to find his way through all the pain and anger, back to God, who had never left him at all. I think it is important for us to remember, if we cannot see God or sense his presence, it is because we are the ones who turned away.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Yes, a hero.

2:25 AM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

Sadly history tends to remember people as they were at the last, and all they achieved beforehand can be forgotten. You do well to tell this hero's story.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Thank you for sharing James' story with us. A hero is someone who works through his pain and fear, so your friend is a true hero.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there have been a few times when I felt it COULD NOT HAVE been 4 days, or 5, etc...
Working thru pain & anger ain't for sissies. I'd say it he did that well, he can do almost anything well.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

I'm so glad you told that story. I knew right from the beginning that James was someone close to you... the beginning paralleled your life too closely for him not to be... I am sorry that James lost his faith for so long - I can't imagine it either, but I pray it never happens to me! But the important part was part III, where Jesus drew him back. And that IS what Jesus does... Jesus made Sav a hero! And his story should be told! Thank you for doing it!

Oh boy... They're BACK! But oh dear... if they feel like it was only 4 hours, then they really won't have MUCH of a story to tell... darn! But YAY! They're BACK!!!

6:00 AM  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling the story of your friend James (Sav). It is a very moving real-life story.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

Uplifting story!

And Dr. John, you are the star of my blog today;)

7:46 AM  
Blogger Cookie said...

THanks for making my blog your link of the day! :)

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Ray Perry said...

Truly an inspiratioal story. Thank you Pastor. . You have not lost your power to make a dissertation live.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Ray Perry said...

Truly an inspiratioal story. Thank you Pastor. . You have not lost your power to make a dissertation live.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

A wonderful tribute to your friend Dr. John.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Inspiring story. Made me feel better.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Dr. John -- you have been tagged. Come by my place to see the particulars. Feel free to decline the summons if you so wish!

10:57 AM  
Blogger aims said...

A heartbreaking story about your friend Dr. John.

When I was in the psyche ward I often wondered what put the other people there. I knew that many of them went from there to live on the streets and it broke my heart. I wished that I could help them in some way but I needed all the help I could get myself.

It's hard for me to pass a street person without wanting to help. They are there for a reason and so many people just sneer at them.

Glad Tommy and Tammy are back.

11:05 AM  
Blogger A Lady's Life said...

That was a very nice story and so sad it happened to this very nice man.
I have to admit, martyrdom bothers me, especially after the movie I saw last night. I know I am going to have night mares about it because it was that gross and deep and along the same subject of martyrdom.
People would ask: " Will you die for him?"
I would answer:" Yes, I would die for him but I would not martyr myself."

I would separate the state from my soul.You do not martyr yourself to evil. You fight against evil.
So if the king asked me to make him God, I would let him be God.
Insanity lurks everywhere.
You will never convince an insane person he is not God if he wants to be. So why add to that by martyring yourself? You are actually martyring yourself to evil.
Jesus told people "you will denounce me thrice before the day is over."
I would denounce him thrice, to save him in a heart beat, to buy time, to try to find another way out for him, to make time to design a saving expedition and I don't understand why no one did this for him at that time.Did they have another plan? If I loved a person that much, wouldn't I try to do something to help him?
You know, people found out the best way to destroy something is from the inside. One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.
How many rotten apples do we have in the barrel? Maybe its a rotten apple that is asking you to die for him and is a part of the program to destroy the barrel.Maybe most of the apples are good and will not rot.Maybe a farmer finds the rotten one and takes it out of the barrel in time.
If I make any sense at all.lol

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

Wait a minute. They stepped into a door at the bottom of the trench and walked through a long dark hall and popped out another door into four days later. Did they learn anything?

6:14 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Omigosh, what an amazing story. I cannot even imagine the pain Sav must have gone through. He sounds as if he was a really beautiful person, and his feelings were too deep.

Did you know that Mother Teresa lost her faith for several decades? She did not sense God's presence in her life, and she said she felt abandoned by God. So your friend Sav was not alone in this.

I can understand this. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wondered, "Why can't we see God?" Why do we have to believe in something that we can't see, and who sometimes seems to be very capricious? I sometimes wonder, "If I don't believe in God, does he still believe in me?"

I can understand your friend's anguish. I'm glad he found his way home again.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I hope that his wife and children were able to see and forgive him. His pain was clearly crushing his heart... and yet, God gently called him back.
I am so grateful that at the end of his life, he could see how much God loved him.
I hope you find comfort in this as well, Dr. John.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for telling the story of Sav. Who of us hasn't at one time or another felt like God had abandoned us, or raged at Him for watching passively as we exercise our free will.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Voegtli said...

This is a very touching and beautiful story. And I am happy that you told us this story.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

That's a very sad story about your friend. There are a lot of homeless who had very good lives before.
You know the catholics did the same when they landed in south America. They forced people to become Christians and killed the once who refused ! What a massacre ! and in the middle age it wasn't better !

10:26 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Thank you for sharing Sav's story with us, what an inspiration. You know, I'm sure there were times when he envied you, too. And, you are a missionary, even if you've never been to a foreign country. As Believers, we each have a mission field, even if it's only our own neighborhood. You have the world mission field at your fingertips.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

Beautiful, touchung and very personal and human story...thanks for sharing it with us

9:10 AM  

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