The question was posed today to a group of us at church. Father asked us, “How has God made you curious?” He told us that in order to get to true conversion, we first had to be curious about Him. Who is this God? Then we start asking the second question which is, “Where is the evidence?” We read books, maybe go to church, seek a lot of different avenues, and some of us get closer, but most of us do not. So, maybe there is a God, but it cannot be proven, so I could be an agnostic. There we stay.
Father said that in order to reach the third stage, which is conversion, we must have an open heart. God uses suffering to make that happen. Suffering will always happen. What it means to really suffer (and we all have been there), is that we cannot move forward alone. We should stay with it and see where it takes us.
In the movie Unbroken, hero Louie Zamperini, almost died floating in the ocean during WW2 until he was captured by the Japanese. He spent time in a POW camp where he was tortured unmercifully by a Japanese soldier called “The Bird.” He was not a Christian, but just before capture, he looked up at the stars and called out to God – something like – if you really are there and I get myself out of this, I will dedicate my life to you.
Once he was released he suffered from what we would call today a form of PTSD. He married, drank too much, and abused his wife. Obviously his suffering had taken a great toll. But his wife dragged him to a Billy Graham lecture. Billy was talking about heaven – going to God after all was done – and God pulling down a big screen and seeing your life on that screen, seeing everything you ever did or thought
Louie always told himself and his family and everybody else – I’m a good man, I survived the war, was tortured, but look at me, I fought for my country. I am a hero. I am a good man. But Louie changed that night. He realized that he had to let go of the hurt, and be more than a war hero.
He became a model citizen, generous with his time and money. He never drank a drop after that night. And he remembered his promise to God.
Louie’s conversion is not in the movie, but it is in the book. It is a pivotal moment in the story of a man who remained unbroken through unspeakable treatment. He lived many years, calling himself a good man but not acting as a good man. Then God chose to open his heart, let the suffering out, and make Louie truly unbroken.
The journey starts with curiosity, proceeds to evidence, and finally conversion. Friends, we have to chose conversion. We are either in or out. Some scientists say that we can prove many facts that we could not even imagine even 50 years ago, like the star of Bethlehem. But the reality is, if He is with us, and I believe He is, I want to be on His side when I leave this great earth.
God sent Jesus to show us how to live. Let’s give it a go, shall we?