Alan was in his early fifties. He sat in the pew of his parish church waiting for the 10:00 Mass to begin. He was there with his wife and two children. Just two years ago you wouldn’t have seen him there. It’s only in the past ten years that Alan had made the decision to start taking his faith seriously. “How did I end up coming back to church?”, he asked himself. And Alan realized that God was working very slowly with him through all the years of his life so far—gradually peeling away the layers of resistance. Now Alan could see the pattern because he had become a more thoughtful and reflective person. He had been through enough of life’s experiences now to be able to actually start to learn from them.
As a teen Alan was pretty irresponsible. He had been through some foolish things and made poor decisions. Some of the things he could laugh about now, others weren’t so funny in hindsight. He was glad that his parents didn’t know all the things that had happened and he hoped that they never found out. He would be very embarrassed if they did.
Alan realized that as a kid he thought he knew everything. That didn’t help at the time. But there was that basketball coach that really became a mentor for him and Alan knew that if he had had a problem he could turn to him and talk things over. When Alan reflected on this part of his younger life, he realized that having a person like that in his life just might have been a sign that God was watching out for him.
In his twenties Alan faced tragedy. There was the swimming accident which ended in the death of his good friend. He knew grief. Saw Ron’s parents distraught, remembered the funeral as if it were yesterday. As a guy in his twenties Alan was rarely in church but he did pray that his friend would be in heaven.
By his thirties, Alan was married. That certainly changed him. Having children changed his perspective. He was thinking of himself less. He remembered the birth of his first child and thought that there must be a God. And when Alan saw what had happened at his work a few years ago, how those he was jealous of because they got promotions and he did not, ended up, because of their large salaries, being let go when the company needed to down size, Alan thought that maybe God had been protecting him all along. He also learned from that experience not to get caught up in careerism. It wasn’t about getting ahead.
And in these recent years there was that nagging quest for something more permanent and lasting. He found that “something permanent and lasting” in his faith and in Jesus’ promises which he began to have more confidence in.
Two men ask Jesus, “Where do you live?” and the response—“come and see”. Jesus was asking those men to join his team—to be a part of him. Alan eventually realized that God was asking the same thing of him. And so the same for us. This isn’t just pious stuff. This is called seeing the hand of God in your life and starting to take things more seriously. Jesus is asking us to walk more closely with him and talk to him as a companion on the journey of life. Take some time to reflect on what has happened to you and how the Lord has helped you. Don’t dismiss this as your own doing or making. Christ is still revealing himself to you. Pay attention to him.