Our lives intersect each other’s and we never know where a “chance” meeting may lead or the impact we may have on another. What happens when an atheist from another country, an average college student, a normal mom, and a deaf child’s world all collide? Simple things matter and can change the whole direction of things…
About this time last year I had a brief and “chance” meeting with Lee, a student from China, in the driveway of my good friend’s home one evening. I met Lee shortly after Easter. But, I want to begin a few years before, because all good stories have a prelude. Lee grew up in a typical educated atheistic Chinese home, with no siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles. She believed in “self” and science. Shortly after coming to the U.S. to study at Texas A&M, she met Christians for the first time. Intrigued by them, she often enjoyed arguing about atheism and why she felt it held true.
It was at a church service early in college that a disruption occurred in Lee’s mind and thoughts. She thought church would be a nice American experience when a friend, who was a newer follower of Christ, had invited her. She enjoyed the people, the message and the songs. While she was sitting during the service, she observed a man in the front, facing the people and signing to a boy. This really intrigued her. “Why was this man signing to the boy?” She had to meet this family. As she talked with the mother afterwards, she found out that not only was the deaf boy their son, but they had adopted him. They chose him. This really puzzled her. Why would they do this? She told her how God’s love for them compelled them to share this with others. Then the mother said something else that was beyond Lee’s understanding or comprehension. They were in the process of adopting a deaf boy from China, who was to be released soon from an orphanage. Because of his age, he could no longer live at the orphanage and was weeks away from being turned onto the street, if he was not adopted. This couple first adopted a deaf boy and called him their son. Now they were going to choose another deaf boy far away from there, from Lee’s home country. This was sacrifice. This was love.
Lee continued to study hard, meet new people and defend her atheist beliefs. When she met Christians, she continued to tell them she followed self and science and they would tell her they followed Christ. Even though she still enjoyed her time in college, she had this disruption in her mind. She could not get the picture of this family she met out of her mind. They continued to come into her thoughts. “What kind of people would love those who are helpless or hopeless?” she wondered. “If there is a God, maybe He is like this family. He would be loving, generously giving to others, and full of sacrifice,” she concluded to herself. She began to wonder if there was a God. But there was a problem. She grew up believing in self and science. There didn’t seem to be room for the God she had witnessed. Even though she said there was no God, “self” had really become her god. Self was supreme. “Take care of yourself. Make sure your self does well and looks good.” This did not give allowance for caring for others and putting them above your own needs. It did not give room for children who needed to be adopted, people who needed homes, the needy, oppressed, hopeless, uncertain, or strangers. There was a problem.
One day, during Lee’s senior year, an American college student, whom she had known throughout her time in college, invited her home a few hours away for Easter weekend. Lee had never been in an American home during her four years in college and had never celebrated Easter. She was open for trying two new things before she graduated. At the end of the weekend on the way back to college, she and her friend discussed Easter. During the discussion, she told her friend about the family that had disrupted her thoughts. She still couldn’t get them out of her mind. Her friend said, “That is what God is like.” She went on to tell Lee how God saw the problem of our “self-god” (sin) and sent Jesus Christ to rescue us from our sin through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. As we believe in Him, we become part of His family. Even though we are living in darkness, hopelessness, and in our selfishness, He wants to adopt us into His family. All of a sudden, Lee said that she got it. God’s love is one that chooses us and adopts us, even though we do not deserve it. This was wonderful and beautiful news. She wanted to be part of His family. She needed Him. Her God changed, and she now had a new life. So many lives had overflowed to her, giving her a glimpse of what God is like. This was beautiful and she now had a story to tell that was beginning to overflow to others. April Fool’s day was the day everything changed.
Who knew, in the midst of all those conversations and over time, God would work through a variety of people to communicate His love to Lee? Our life overflows to others whether we realize it or not. The simple things in our life: signing at church, taking time for conversation, or sharing our home or Easter with a friend, matters. As we look beyond ourself, our lives overflow to others.
(Continued from “Overflow” (http://justaglimpse.com/overflow/), — beautiful things are made to be shared.)