About 15 years ago, a good friend of mine (and spiritual mentor) got a disease so rare that it affects less than 10 people worldwide.  He lost all his coordination.  His balance got so poor, he had to use a wheelchair.  Then he lost the coordination necessary to speak.  He had to take the bus to downtown Denver to get to work since he lost the ability to drive.  Throughout all of it, he maintained his incredibly upbeat, sunny disposition.  One day he got off the bus in downtown Denver and one of the other passengers on the bus gave him a note and walked away without speaking to him.  It said that she knew he must be a Christian because of the joy and the light of Christ that she could see reflected in him.

A few years ago, I had a somewhat similar thing happen to me.  I got a call from my best friend in junior high and high school.  We had lost track of each other since the day we graduated high school in 1978 as we went to college in different parts of the country. (In the days before Facebook and cell phones, it was easy to lose track of people).  He said he had been wanting to contact me for over 35 years to thank me for helping him find Christ.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  He said that in 8th grade, my whole life revolved around basketball (which was true), but that I did not attend any Saturday morning practices because I went to church confirmation class every Saturday.  I told him I only did that because my parents made me.  Nonetheless, he said that he had never been exposed to church or God and that it made quite an impression on him.  He said that was the seed that led him to becoming a Christian in college.

These events remind me of the quote from St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.”  It’s amazing what God can use to further his plan.

Brad Gauen

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