Fifteen-year-old Rick was on his way to work. As he passed by the local church hall, he saw the minister’s wife come out to the sidewalk. The last person he wanted to talk to was someone connected to the church. So, quickly, he ducked into a phone booth and pretended to be on the phone. Wonderfully forward, the minister’s wife opened the phone booth door and asked Rick what he was doing. Lying to her face, Rick answered, “I’m just waiting on my mate to come pick me up for work.” The sweet woman invited him to wait for his mate inside the church hall. Though Rick refused, she prevailed in her insistence. Like a schoolboy being dragged into class by his teacher, he followed the minister’s wife into the hall, where the minister was standing. Looking up at a row of banners on the far wall, Rick’s eyes were drawn to the central one, on which was written, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Every week of Rick’s younger years, he’d played soccer underneath those banners, as the minister had hosted a youth soccer league in the church’s hall. But he’d never cared about their words. It wasn’t until this day that he really saw those words, and he couldn’t take his eyes off them. What is this love spoken of? Has God loved me this way?
Rick never made it to work that day. He insisted that the minister explain that passage to him, and before he knew it, the day had come and gone. Before the sun was down, Rick believed the gospel, a formerly blind man having been given eyes to see the truth of Christ.
Though a year later Rick would be kicked out of his home by his stepfather for reading the Bible, he never stopped following Christ. Having been loved in such a way, through the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he could do nothing other than carry his cross and follow him.