Chapter 6 – The Pen
They were welcomed again by a lady from the front. Mel put up her hand immediately when the lady asked if there were any guests here today. Dave was squirming. He wanted to stay under the radar, he had resolved the day before not to put his hand up for anything. But Mel’s eagerness brought the lady over. She simply said ‘Hi’, gave them a pen & another smile – their 1000th of the morning.
Ian leaned over to Dave with a grin & sniggered, ‘This is the moment where we ask you to write down your bank details!’ Dave tensed again until he saw Ian & Graham nudge each other & point at him. Realising that they were winding him up, Dave wondered again, ‘Don’t these guys know that they’re in church?’
Meanwhile, Mel had taken the sheet which Dave had been handed at the doors. As instructed by the lady, she was using the pen to fill in their names & email & ticking a box which asked for more information about the church. Jenny took it from her when she was done & said she would show them where to take it at the end of the meeting.
Chapter 7 – The Sermon
Like the earlier prayer, Dave wouldn’t be able to tell you later on what the sermon had been about. The preacher seemed genuine. He read from a bible, told a story that was kind of funny, then began to ask how the passage would impact his life this week at work & at home with his family.
It wasn’t so much the words the Preacher said even, but Dave just kept on hearing ‘thank you, thank you’ in steady time with his beating heart. The sense of the unknown which had overwhelmed him earlier still hadn’t worn off.
Chapter 8 – Unsaved Dave’s right hand
Here’s what happened. You see, unsaved Dave has come to church, not sure why, intrigued by Ian & Sam. He’s determined not to make a fool of himself, certainly not going to put his hand in his pocket for money, not going to sign up to any belief stuff…....just curious, ok we get it.
These undeniable facts are what made the next few slow motion moments all the more unbelievable.
The preacher is wrapping up with a prayer. Dave is thinking about lunch & wondering how an afternoon round of golf would fit into his new Sunday schedule, when he is awakened by those words again –
‘Thank you. Thank you Jesus that you died for me, gave your life for me so I could be forgiven. Thank you that you bring me into the friendship with my heavenly Father that I was truly made for. Thank you that you want to make my broken heart your home for ever. Thank you!’
‘Thank you’ Dave murmurs again, the tightness instantly back in his chest, the tears welling up again. A flurry of thoughts race through his head - ‘I’m not going to cry in church, this is stupid, I’m a grown up, I’m rational, this emotional stuff is more Mel’s thing.’
‘If you just prayed that prayer with me for the first time today & meant it, I want you to put your hand up now’. The preacher interrupted Dave’s inward thought process.
Dave had watched those documentaries on TV where people dying in hospital spoke of having an out of body experience. This was surely such a moment, as he watched his own right arm float up above his head. Dave looked on as his own hand waved in the air. It was his ring, his bitten nails, his scar where he’d sliced his finger as a 7 year old trying to cut the feet off his sisters doll – this was definitely Dave’s hand up high.
And surely everyone was looking at him. He couldn’t have been more obvious if he was wearing a giant foam hand on his arm which said ‘Look at me everyone’ in big letters!
Just as Dave was thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ The tears came. He later described is as like having a bath from the inside out. But right then, at that moment, he just felt loved by the God he had never known. That was all he could say, the sum total of his knowledge. Unknown to him, Dave had just been saved.