Here's a link to a short story I wrote for aLife, the denominational magazine of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. But now for the cool part -- come back after reading the article for "the rest of the story" that very few people have heard...
Here's what has happened since. The 'young man,' who from now on I'll refer to as "M,"began attending our church, The Outpost. Not only that, but within months of this story, "M's" brother was attending, and then another brother. But it gets better.
"M" soon asked if he could get involved on a volunteer basis. "What did you have in mind?" I asked, forgetting to prod the runty hamster asleep on the wheel in my brain. "M" looked like he wanted to perhaps biff me upside the head but, instead, only rolled his eyes. "Helping with worship of course!" he said cheerily. The lights went on in my head, startling the hamster so badly it tripped in mid gallop, which translated into a look of shocked surprise on my face. Call me slow, but I never saw "M's" story turning out this way. "What a God," is all I kept thinking, "What a God." Yesterday (Sunday), "M" played guitar during worship for the second time at one of our services.
On a personal note -- I find myself, once again, the proud owner of an acoustic guitar. A couple weeks ago, "M" came into my office with a mischevious look on his face, unzipped a case and produced another very fine-looking musical instrument. "I got this at a pawn shop and fixed it up for you" he said with a grin, handing me the 'replacement' guitar. I couldn't believe it. When I started to joke, wondering about how long it would be before God got rid of this one for me too, "M" turned serious. "No way man," he said, pointing to the before unnoticed custom artwork adorning the front of the guitar. I had thought it was part of the original design -- it's that good -- but it was his own work. "Wow... 'M'... I'll treasure it forever," I said, and I meant it.
The crowning artistic touch on the replacement guitar is "M's" signature, bold and confident, so unlike the "M" I remember from that first day. Now whenever I strum, briefly reliving my guitar hero fantasies, I see that signature and muse that it might as well be God's, as if to signal "I was here," or "A work of grace, by God." But that's just silly -- because He's not done yet. Instead, I'm left to wait, along with everyone else, knowing that only from the vantage point of heaven will we really be able to look back and see 'the rest of the story.' And He will complete it.
Surrounded By Grace,