The following amazing story of God's grace at work is shared by Pastor Dave Barber of the Village Church of Barrington, Illinois an Evangelical Free Church of America. The names are changed to protect Jane, whose father is still at large. We do not want to endanger her life. God is alive and active among us.
Jack and Jane came to our church for the first time at Christmas 2004, to enjoy our Christmas concert. Then they came again in February and joined a small group. Jane had accepted Christ when she was eleven. But the next year would prove to be devastating! Her father ambushed her mother and shot and killed her! For the next decade she would live with her father in a tangled web of lies. So deviant, that they would trap her in confusion and doubt. For the next ten years she wandered far from God, but a good hearted husband and the Holy Spirit would begin to shine light on the lies that she had come to believe.
One day she knew she needed to return to church. She encouraged her husband to come with her. He was raised in a Catholic family but hadn't really been practicing any faith. During their first night in our small group, I asked if someone would share their testimony, thinking that it would be good for Jack and Jane to hear. To my surprise, Jane spoke first, sharing the incredible details of her life and finished with, "I have been away for a long time, but I'm back. God would not let go!"
Wow! I could not believe how transparent she was. Then Jack spoke up, "I'll go next. I don't know God like Jane does, but I'm here to find Him." Two weeks later he asked if he could come and see me. I shared the Gospel and asked him if he'd like to put his trust in Jesus. The next few moments, heaven rejoiced as this deeply sincere man prayed a prayer of repentance without pretense and with deep longing for God, and God answered! This past week, I looked up and saw Jane singing in the choir and was stirred by the long arms of our God.
I love that phrase, "stirred by the long arms of our God." What a great God we serve.