Aug 2, 2022
Need a boost today? God-stories do that for me. Today’s episode will hopefully spark expectancy and awareness of Jesus meeting up with you and encourage you to share your God-story with others.
I’ve admired Zach Williams since he came onto the scene several years back. I like the realness that he shows and, the rawness of his music is this something that I relate to so well. I’ve never met Zach, but he feels like a guy that I’ve known all my life.
He’s got an incredible testimony of how God showed up at just the right time and helped him recover from drugs and alcohol. It’s amazing the transformation that has taken place and so encouraging, especially if you or someone you love has ever faced similar struggles. You can watch his story on GGSSPodcast.com.
Remembering and recognizing are both very important if we want to grow in our relationship with God! Zach sings a song with Dolly Parton called “There Was Jesus”. This song means so much to me personally and that’s why it was the first cover song that I recorded. You can hear it on the streaming platforms and at GGSSPodcast.com, Episode 8.
It’s a powerful song about recognizing Jesus at every twist and turn of our lives; the Jesus who is willing and waiting to help if we will just take His outstretched hand. I think all of us, if we really thought about it, could say this song, There was Jesus, was written specifically about them. That’s what I love about this song. It’s very relatable.
So what’s your “There was Jesus” moment? Maybe you can think of a bunch of them. That’s great! When you and I share them with each other, expectancy and faith build so we can experience more of the fullness of life that God desires for us. I’ve had many of those moments and I want to have many, many more!
If you’re game, I’ll share a couple of them with you today and I’d love to hear your stories as well! The first story is about the crazy way Jesus got through my thick head and totally changed my life.
I traveled all over the world when my dad was in the Air Force for 20 years. The Air Force was our life and traveling was just something that we did. It was a good life for us and my dad loved serving in the military. He truly loved his country, and my dad truly loved his family.
But traveling the world as a young kid also has some challenges that were very difficult to overcome. We moved around quite a bit. Sometimes we didn’t move super far from where we were living but it still meant yet another new school district.
We moved to Japan when I was 6 weeks old and I spent the first four or five years of my life there. It was all I knew and I remember that I loved it. When we came back to the states, it was a very very difficult transition for me, even as a five-year-old. No joke, the first time I saw snow, I thought rice falling from the sky!
And then we started moving around here in the states and I was always the new kid in school. Seven or eight different schools before high school. I’m not really whining; I’m just stating fact. Being the new kid had its drawbacks.
My dad retired when I went into the ninth grade and we moved back to Georgia which is where we are all from. I was able to go to high school all in one school rather than traveling around every two or three years.
I grew up in the church but had become a little indifferent to Christianity. I was not a God-hater, but I just didn’t care anything about God. I suppose deep down I didn’t know the consequences of a life without Jesus if I died.
There was a youth revival that happened in the southeast back in the 70s and it’s swept through the Southeast in a most amazing way. It truly was Jesus showing up and people realizing it. Many of my friends got saved in high school and many of those friends were football players.
One of these guys in particular would always tell me he loved me, which I thought was strange. But I had the upmost respect for this friend of mine. I looked up to him in many ways. But it was apparent something happened that changed him. I couldn’t put my finger on it but he was different for sure.
I played football with him in and in our junior year we had 4 Christian football coaches. One of those coaches was particularly vocal about his faith. His name was Coach Swails. At football camp the coaches had us doing this drill called Oklahoma. That’s a drill where we use tackling dummys laid down about 5 feet apart and this particular Oklahoma drill was man-on-man. There was one ball carrier, me, and one tackler, this friend I’m talking to you about. There was nothing unusual about the drill or us being paired up for it.
Coach Swails told us, “Boys, if you love them, you’ll hit them.” Now what I think he was trying to say is that we didn’t wanna go easy on each other because we needed this to be as real as if it were the Friday night football game. But there was something particularly strange about the way he said it, “If you love them, you’ll hit them”!
I looked across and my friend had this big dumb grin on his face and I shook in my cleats. It’s kind of funny to think about now but at the time it wasn’t. The whistle blew and we ran for each other. I don’t recall ever being hit as hard as I was at that particular moment.
And as I’m laying on my back and he’s right above me, basically face mask to face mask, he still had that big dumb grin on his face and I was in pain. And I just remember saying to him, “OK OK, I believe you!”
Later, as the rest of the team was getting settled in for the night, he led me to the Lord. It wasn’t anything spectacular that I can recall. It was relatively matter of fact. Here’s what you need to do and here’s why you need to do it. When I came to the realization that I was a sinful human being that needed a savior, I asked the Lord into my heart.
It was simple and peaceful and I knew at that moment that my life changed. There weren’t fireworks or tears, but that day changed my life. That day Jesus showed up at football camp and used an Oklahoma football drill to help me realize my need for Him and His love for me. There was Jesus!
Another poignant “There was Jesus” moment was when death came to my family unexpectedly. I hope this story will be an encouragement to you…to find Jesus in that painful place, whether you’ve experienced it already or not yet.
I was living in Minnesota and my mom and my dad lived next door to my sister, Toni, in the woods in Northeast Georgia. They lived about 100 feet apart and my sister was very active in their lives. She was a nurse and saved each of their lives on at least on one occasion. She was an amazing person.
My dad just had pacemaker surgery to keep his heart regulated. My sister had been running him back-and-forth several times a week to the doctor for about a month. I took some time off to go down to Georgia to help out with appointments and to give her a break.
I got there on a Sunday. That night Toni and I played games with my mom and dad at their house. It was a very very special time. I couldn’t remember just the four of us doing anything together since high school or so because of families and everything else. We got done playing and my sister walked over to her house to make some dinner for us.
She called and told me dinner was ready so I went over to pick up the meal. She met me on her patio and we chatted for a few minutes, just the two of us. The last couple of things she said to me were, “Everything‘s gonna be OK now right?” I said, “yes, everything‘s gonna be OK”. We exchanged “I love yous” and I headed back off to my parent’s house with dinner.
The next morning, we were expecting her for breakfast. When she didn’t come over and didn’t answer our phone calls, we went to check on her. We discovered that she had passed away there in her home. What a shock! Everything changed at that moment.
I came home on Sunday and on Tuesday I’m holding my sister’s ashes in an urn. My family flew in the following Monday from Minnesota for the funeral on Wednesday. I remember putting my arm around my mom during the entire service. This was one of the most difficult times in our family’s life and without Jesus, I don’t know what we would’ve done.
Pastor Jason was the pastor of the church that my parents and Toni went to about 2 miles up the road out in the country. He was the perfect Jesus representative that my family and I needed that day.
He told everyone that Toni had started coming to church two months before. When the church was having revival meetings, she came to those as well. He said Toni had given her life to Jesus just one month ago. One month before she passed away!
And then Pastor Jason said something profound. He said, “it’s a sad day but it’s not a bad day”. That’s a phrase I will never forget. Think about it. It was very sad for my mom my dad, her son, her daughter, her grandchildren, her friends; incredibly sad to lose someone in their mid-50s with so much to look forward to here on earth. But it’s not a bad day because she is in her eternal home after making her decision to ask Jesus into her life one month before she passed away.
There was Jesus! Jesus was there when I needed Him and Jesus was there when my sister needed Him and Jesus is there for all of us. Reality is we just need to open our spiritual eyes to see His hands stretched out to all of us wanting to give us help and hope; showing us love and compassion and direction! Let’s keep reminding each other, not just There was Jesus!... but there IS Jesus!
The chorus says:
In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus
So, what’s one of your “There was Jesus” stories? Think about it, and then, please share it. Find a way to tell your story to others so they can be encouraged by what’s happened in your life. And share it with me please. Go to GGSSPodcast.com and click the CONTACT MARK button. I’d love to hear from you.
And don’t forget while you’re there, you can see Zach’s testimony and listen to my cover of “There Was Jesus”.