God will find you-
Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:
Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the
classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith.
Tommy turned out to be the 'atheist in residence' in my Theology of Faith
course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility
of an unconditionally loving Father/God.
When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, 'Do you think I'll ever find God?''
I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. 'No!' I said very emphatically.
'Why not,' he responded, 'I thought that was the product you were pushing.'
I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, 'Tommy! I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!'
He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.
I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line
- He will find you!
Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe.
'Tommy, I've thought about you so often; I hear you are sick,' I blurted out.
'Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks...'
'Can you talk about it, Tom?' I asked.
'Sure, what would you like to know?' he replied.
'What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?
'Well, it could be worse.'
'Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life.'
I began to look through my mental file cabinet under 'S' where I had filed
Tommy as strange.
'But what I really came to see you about,' Tom said, 'is something you said
to me on the last day of class.' (He remembered!)
'But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was
malignant, that's when I got serious about locating God.
'Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals
over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit.
I decided that I didn't really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything
like that. I decided to spend what time I had left
doing something more profitable.
So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him. 'Dad.'
'Yes, what?' he asked without lowering the newspaper.
'Dad, I would like to talk with you.''
'I mean . It's really important.'
The newspaper came down three slow inches. 'What is it?'
'Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that.'
Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him. 'The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved m..'
It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years.
I was only sorry about one thing - that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.
Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I
pleaded with Him.
Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.
'Tommy,' I practically gasped, 'I think you are saying something very
important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are
saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession,
a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by
opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: 'God is love,
and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.'
'Oooh.. I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class.'
'Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.'
In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date.
However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.
Before he died, we talked one last time.
'I'm not going to make it to your class,' he said.
'I know, Tom.'
'Will you tell them for me? Will you tell the whole world for me?'
I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best.'
So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God's love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven - I told them, Tommy, as best I could.
If this story means anything to you, please share it with a friend or two. It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes.
...He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.