Heart to Heart
by Pat Chwialkowski
I was seventeen years old working as a waitress at a Big Boy Restaurant, when a very polite young gentleman who I waited on quite frequently, asked me out for the following Saturday night. I immediately responded with a “yes”, and knew it was a great opportunity to get to know this guy better. At this point, the only thing I knew about him was he liked Big Boy hamburgers and lots of ketchup with his fries.
As he arrived at my house that evening, my anticipation grew as I wondered just how the two of us would get along. I always enjoyed waiting on Mark, but that was a far cry from a real date. As we drove away from my house, I remember our conversation came very easy. He then asked me if I would be interested in meeting a bunch of his friends. I told him that sounded like fun, so we headed up in Michigan somewhere as I got ready to party with Mark and his friends.
As I entered the house of his friend, I was immediately taken back to what I was seeing. Before I could finish my analysis to what kind of party this was, Mark began introducing me to each of his friends. They were all so friendly and I could tell they were very happy that Mark brought me to their gathering that night. Then it happened. The mystery of what kind of party this was became evident to me. This was no party. THIS WAS A BIBLE TUDY! YIKES!!!! Immediately my discomfort took over and within a short amount of time I asked Mark to take me home. I probably made up some kind of excuse for the reason that I did not want to stay, but I don’t remember now what it was. The only thing I recall was thinking I am not wasting a Saturday night sitting at some Bible study. Mark, being the nice guy he was, obliged immediately to my request and before you know it I was back at home feeling safe and secure and far from any religious whackos.
I cringe when I think back on those days and how patient God was with me. My life then had no time for “God things”, and it continued like that for many years. Even though I grew up going to church, my heart was cold toward the true message of the cross. I wanted enough religion so that I would not feel guilty – but not so much that I would have to change the way I lived. But thank God, in due time I was allowed to find forgiveness, acceptance, and God’s grace, as I came to the realization, that I did not have to change, but instead God would do the changing in me, as He saved me and redeemed me.
God has done the same thing for others as He did for me, and I never get tired of hearing salvation stories. Last Saturday night as my husband and I hosted a Bible study in our home, many of these redemption stories were told. We’re still amazed over what God can do to a life when they put their trust in Him. We also had a good chuckle over the fact that we all enjoy getting together on a Saturday night for Bible study and sweet fellowship. It’s truly amazing what can happen when someone finds the cross.
The cross is not hard to find, but you will only find it if you are looking. And the only One who knows if you are truly looking is the only One who can see your heart. God says in 1 Chronicles 28:9, For the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever”. So how do you find the cross? Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”. Matthew 7:7-8.
Sometimes in order to find the cross, it will mean going through a deep valley, while for others it might mean climbing a steep mountain. But for most people, the cross is right in front of them. Finding the cross can be different for everyone, but the outcome is always the same. Once you find the cross, you can’t stay the same. You become a new person with new desires, and a new purpose for living. You look at things differently than you did in the past. And you’ll find what brought you happiness before, does not compare to the joy that you are experiencing now. I’ve encountered this and more, but the weirdest change that happened to me is: YIKES--I like going to Bible studies on Saturday nights!
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
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Founder and Director of Key Ministries located in Lexington South Carolina. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. .
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