Friday, August 05, 2011

Something new inside

When a man finds Christ and believes, something happens inside. He still has the same name. He still lives in the same house, wears the same clothes and works at the same job. But he's a new man inside. "If anyone is in Christ," the Bible says, "he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

He has the same National Insurance number and gets the same bills. He still loves his wife and children (more than he did before). He still enjoys life (more than he did before). He knows he belongs in this world, but somehow he feels he doesn't belong to it.

If you take a fish out of water, it will die, because it's out of its natural environment. If you put a man underwater, he will die, because he's out of his natural environment. A diver can exist underwater, but that's because he has an airline to the surface.

A man (or a woman, or child) who finds Christ can live in this world, and live a successful life: but that's because he can breathe the air of heaven. If he doesn't feel completely at home, that's because he's the citizen of another country.

When I was young, I had to do National Service. The young man in the bed next to me was a Christian.

In the evening, I would go out to the pub. When I got back, he would be tucked up in bed already. Having had a few beers, I would sit on the end of his bed and persuade him to sing The Old Rugged Cross. I didn't understand too much about it, but there was something about that old song that I liked.

After we were both demobbed, I was on holiday one year near his home town, so I looked him up. He invited me to his home the following Sunday.

He and his young wife had a simple home, but there was something different about it. They said grace before meals. Somehow that spoke to my heart.

A few years later, in a different place, in different circumstances, I was converted to Christ. I wrote and told the young man. He was pleased.

A lot later, I found out that when he was 29 years old, he died from a massive brain haemorrhage, leaving behind a wife and young daughter, which was sad. But he didn't just die. He went home.

As you get older, one by one friends and family disappear. Some of them go to heaven.

One day there's going to be a tremendous reunion. I'm looking forward to that. It really is going to be something.