If God can use a star….
One of the things that amazes and delights me about the Biblical Christmas story is how God used a variety of means to bring diverse people to Jesus. He used an unusual star (or planet) in the sky to bring the Magi to Jerusalem, then the recorded words of a prophet to bring them to Bethlehem. He used angels in the night sky to bring shepherds to the manger. He used the nudging of the Holy Spirit to bring Simeon and Anna to recognize Jesus at His dedication in the temple.
It strikes me that God never seems to tire of finding different ways to draw people to Himself!
In his book, Eternity in Their Hearts, Don Richardson tells the story of a spiritual leader among the Wa people of Burma named Pu Chan. Many years ago Chan saddled a pony and told a couple of his disciples that the pony would lead them to a “white brother bearing the book of Siyeh, the True God.” These disciples followed the pony along 200 miles of mountainous trails, into the city of Kengtung. Then the pony “turned into the gate of a mission compound and headed straight for a well.” When the disciples looked into the well, they saw no water, “only two clear blue eyes looking up at them out of a friendly, bearded white face.” This “white brother” shared with them from his book, the Bible, the good news about the “True God.” In this instance, God used a pony to draw people to Jesus.
Michael Carl shares a more recent story. He writes, “‘I was in the desert alone, lost. As far as the horizon, there was nothing in sight but sand. I felt the sand on my bare feet. Then I saw something extraordinary. In the midst of that barrenness, an immense wooden cross emerged from the earth, rising up with sand spilling from it back to earth.’
“So begins a dream narrative posted by Bosnian Muslim teenager Emina Emlonic. A dream about Jesus. It continues: ‘I felt then a spectator in my own dream, and the sight of the cross gave me neither fear nor joy. But I was curious and began moving, almost floating, towards it, the most magnificent … thing I’d ever seen or imagined, and as I came closer to the cross, I suddenly saw a man walking toward me: a broad-shouldered, long-striding man, with a dark complexion, long hair, and wearing a white robe. And just as suddenly I ceased to be a witness to my dream. I was in it, walking toward the man walking toward me. I knew him immediately. He was Jesus. Without knowing why, I fell to my knees. He stood over me and touched my face with his right hand.’”
In this instance, God used a dream to draw a person to Jesus.
In my own life, it was the love and faith and integrity and courage I saw in Fran Watron amidst her struggles with rheumatoid arthritis that drew me to Jesus. (And I would bet that for most people, it is seeing the character of Christ in someone they know and admire—like I saw it in Fran Watron—that most effectively draws people to Jesus.)
The God who so loved that world that He gave His only Son desires to draw all people to Jesus, and He keeps finding fresh ways to do so.