Then Jesus came to them and said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
In the summer of 2009, I had completed writing the second book in this series, The Healing of the Cross. Having done so, I placed my first order for a hundred copies. As I excitedly awaited their arrival, I had no concept that God was about to once again deliver much more than I expected.
Less than two weeks after placing the order, my husband and I arrived home one afternoon to find that a delivery had been made in our absence. On our porch were stacked twice the number of boxes from the printing company as what I had been expecting. Upon inspection, I discovered that every box contained identical shipping labels with my order number, so I began opening them.
The first box that I opened presented quite a surprise and a disappointment. In the box were not copies of my book, but copies of a book by another author, a retired USAF Colonel. Continuing to open boxes, I soon found that half of the boxes that had been delivered contained more copies of the Colonel’s book, not mine.
Fortunately for me, the remainder of the boxes did contain the book copies that I had ordered. But the Colonel obviously had a problem, as his books were at my house. Realizing that the initiation of his solution rested with me, I contacted the printing company to correct the error. The printer, however, had no record of the Colonel’s order. Therefore, neither did they have any intention of doing anything to get the Colonel’s books to him. As far as the printing service was concerned, I had received my order plus a bonus free of charge, and the Colonel had never ordered any books, so he wasn’t missing any. They were finished with the matter.
I, however, was not done with the matter. I still had the Colonel’s books that did not belong to me. So I did what I was led to do. I searched online for the Colonel’s contact information and found it rather quickly. Surprisingly, of all of the places that the Colonel could have been living, I discovered that he was living just a few hours away in the same state in which I live. We were practically neighbors, relatively speaking.
Calling him on the phone, I learned that the Colonel had indeed ordered the books that had been delivered to me by mistake. In fact, his shipment was overdue, but he had not yet checked to find out why it was delayed. When he did, the publishing company again denied any knowledge of his order.
Calling me back, the Colonel and I decided to meet the following day to get his books out of my hands and into his. As he was planning to leave town in a few days to attend a conference at which he would be the motivational speaker, he needed the books ASAP for a book signing.
Arriving first at the particular restaurant parking lot where we had agreed to meet, my husband and I waited in our parked car. A few minutes later, the Colonel arrived, deep in a conversation on his cell phone. Parking his vehicle, he got out, continuing with his phone conversation. As he continued talking, he and my husband transferred the boxes of books from our vehicle to his. Then, just as the transfer finished, so, too, did the Colonel’s phone conversation end.
After shaking my husband’s hand, the Colonel reached into the back seat of his vehicle and picked up one of his books. Continuing to thank us for meeting him, he walked over to our vehicle and leaned against it, as he inscribed some words onto a page of the book that was in his hand.
Handing the book to me, the Colonel moved toward me until we stood facing each other eye to eye. From my perspective, there appeared to be barely an inch between his nose and mine. With the build and voice of a stereotypical drill sergeant, the Colonel commanded authoritatively in loud military fashion the same orders that he had just finished writing in the book:
“Don’t ever stop ‘working’ for your dream–for nobody.
Believe it and then go do it.”
Believe it and then go do it. I had heard those words before, multiple times, in slightly different wordings. In fact, the women’s Bible study group in which I was participating had just had a discussion on the summation of Jesus’ teachings: “Believe what I have said, and do as I have done.” Now here was the identical message being clearly restated. The words rang in my ears as I repeatedly read them in the book that I now held in my hand.
When the people asked Jesus, “…What must we do to do the works God requires?” (John 6:28), Jesus did not rattle off a long action list. Instead, He gave them one job to do. “Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.’ ” (John 6:29) If we believe Jesus, and live by that belief, we are changed.
Belief in Jesus births belief in God, which births submission to the Truth of God, hence changing our attitudes and our actions. Only in belief do we begin to see God as He truly is, and only in continued belief do we continue to grow to be more truly like Him.
Without both initial and sustained belief in Jesus, we cannot take the Truth of God to the world because we have little or no Truth to share with anyone. We have only our own misguided logic that doubts the veracity and goodness of God, and doubt is a dangerous enemy. Sometimes its presence is overt, and we are aware of the need to overcome it. But sometimes doubt in Christians is subtle and sneaks into our lives without our awareness of its presence. In either case, however, we are still instructed, if not compelled, to share the Truth of God with everyone.
As the Colonel finished thanking us one last time that day, he then hopped into his car and whirled out of both the parking lot and my life, leaving his words behind. The entire event of our meeting had lasted less than two minutes. I had not even had the opportunity to say anything more to him than “hello” and “goodbye.”
But I didn’t need to say another word. I was not there to talk but to listen. My specific job that day may have been to deliver books to their rightful owner, but my life’s calling is to obey the command that I received. God had hand-delivered His message to me twice, first by Jesus, and then again by the Colonel. I couldn’t ignore it. After all, it had stared me straight in the face. It still does. Undoubtedly, it always will. The Truth is here to stay.
[from The Promise of the Cross © 2011]