At first, I didn’t get it. Something mysterious was shifting inside me. I seemed to be developing personal character traits that I had long admired in others, but lacked innately in myself.
I was actually changing for the better from the inside out and it wasn’t me that was “doing the doing.”
Don Version 1.0
Normally, I’m a runner; when the going gets tough, I tend to bolt. I am ordinarily selfish, self-absorbed and stingy (think Ebenezer Scrooge). I have trouble identifying with other people’s pain. I am critical of people who are sloppy, lazy, or whiners — in other words, those who are not exactly like obsessive-compulsive-me.
This is how I came from the “factory” and who I’ve been for the greater part of my adult life.
But then something happened. I became a caregiver to my ailing wife; a role I did not volunteer for, but which I reluctantly embraced.
The other day, as I was feeding her, I realized that she needed smaller bites to avoid choking, but I was in my usual hurry and grew impatient. In the past, I would have pressed on to get it over with, but this time I immediately and instinctively slowed down to meet HER needs and not my own.
Where did that come from, I wondered?
I thought back over the hundreds of similar humbling moments over the past five or six years and found a similar pattern. In those myriad times feeding her, clothing her, transporting her, showering and toileting her, I found myself slowing down and gladly meeting HER needs first, while pushing my own needs to the back of the line.
I was proactively anticipating her needs rather than reacting impatiently as her needs arose unexpectedly.
This was definitely not “Don 1.0” behavior. Something else was at work, something otherworldly. Some say miracles aren’t for today — I beg to differ.
Don Version 2.0
In previous columns like, “My Heaven Began Right Here on Earth,” I have written of my dramatic conversion to Christianity. At the time, I had no idea what the full extent of God’s work in my life would be, and while there have been many ups and downs, one thing is clear from the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18:
“… anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him … God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.”
When someone truly “does business” with God, God is going to enter into their life and transform them into a reflection of His own Son, Jesus. As written in Romans 8:28-30: “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”
Now don’t get me wrong. As anyone who has been acquainted with me for more than 10 seconds knows all too well, I am a very imperfect work-in-process. The road to transformation of a rogue like me has been long, bumpy and marked by setbacks, but the long-term arc of sanctification always bends toward Christlikeness.
How God Does It
Now for the genius part. God is not into fixing up old houses. He tears down and builds from scratch. A beautiful picture of this comes from the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, who once wrote about how God promised to save the nation of Israel in the last days:
“I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.”
How About You?
Have you been over your head lately? Feeling all alone? If not COVID-19 or rioting in the streets, perhaps a job loss, financial difficulties or family conflicts? How would you like the God of the universe on your side, enabling, comforting, transforming you?
If He can work with a reprobate like me, He can work with anyone.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
— Matthew 11:28
— D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.