Many years ago I lived in a far away land. No not the one that is in a distant galaxy! I lived in Lotus Land. All the unfortunate souls who did not live there referred to it as Victoria, BC. Living there was wonderful, especially compared to Saskatchewan in January. I lived close enough to Beacon Hill Park to hear the peacocks sounding like cats first thing in the morning. The ocean, the climate, the flowers, and the lack of high paying jobs… I could go on, but you get the picture. I walked a lot more then. You could actually recognize people from a long way off by more than the colour and shape of their parka.
“Must be Andy waddling towards us. I recognize his green parka and those are definitely his huge boots clumping along.”I love being outdoors, but it is a challenge in the winter. In fact, if you do see me outside, all you will see is my eyes and that’s only because I found it unwise to cover them while I am walking. Alas, this story is not about winter in Saskatchewan, as exciting as that is. Nope. It’s about a certain spring day in Victoria. A life changing day that really didn’t take place in Victoria at all. The other lesser part of Lotus Land is Vancouver. You guessed it; the story does not take place there, either. Nope. This story has its roots in both Victoria and Vancouver, but reaches its peak on one of the great iconic ferries that travel many times daily between the two paradises. If you have never been on a BC Ferry, don’t think Riverhurst Ferry. The BC ones are like ships that carry hundreds of cars and other vehicles and passengers. These are ocean-going vessels with stores, restaurants, and lounges. So it was a fine spring day in April 1984. It was Easter Monday, so the ferry I was on was packed beyond belief. Think your favorite mall at Christmas. And then try to find a quiet place in that mall. Can’t be done! So there I was, a fine young man in my mid to late twenties, except that I was not really a fine young man. I was an angry young man full of himself. But I was loved by some people even then. You know how some people challenge you? Change your ways. Change what you think. Change what you believe. These people can be really annoying. But when I was challenged then, it didn’t feel annoying. At other times, it was, and I loved to argue with anybody that would oppose my way of thinking. Nice guy, right? This time it was different. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were dropping seeds. Seeds that started to cause doubt in my own arrogant confidence. This started long before the ferry ride that Easter Monday morning. And it took place in both Victoria and Vancouver. On that very crowded ferry, I managed to find the one empty seat. I sat down and started thinking about the Easter weekend. I had spent the weekend with a friend in Vancouver who believed strongly in Jesus. So I am thinking that, and you know when you think about something, and it just starts circling around and around? Well that happened so I quit thinking. Yeah, I know people are still waiting for me to start again. I tried to read my book, which wasn’t about Jesus or God at all. Or so I thought. Next thing, there is a quote from some political hero of mine about the gospel being crucial to his life. Who knew? I closed the book and closed my eyes. If this guy believed then maybe there was something there after all. Maybe God was real! Many of us heard the sinner’s prayer, right? It’s all humbling and contrite. Wouldn’t it have been nice if that’s what I said? Nope. Not me.
“Dear God, if you exist, this is your big chance. Come and get me!”Truly I was not a humble man! But you know what? God came and got me! I felt three rushes of love and power come from my innermost being up into my chest and out the top of my head. After the third one, I couldn’t speak any intelligent words. The man sitting next to me saw my demeanour change. “Good book?” He asked, pointing at the book in my lap. “Bleh blah blee blee!” Is what I said. I wasn’t speaking in tongues. I was so full of joy that every time I tried to speak I could only laugh and gibberish came out! This went on for about a week. So much for being so proud of my brains and my mouth! You see, I thought I was the big prize. I was so good that God won when I gave in to him. Turns out He was the big prize! Of course, the rest of the story is about as smooth as you would expect given who I was. The thing to remember is that God meets us where we are and answers any sincere prayer no matter how messed it is. And it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing shorts and sandals or sixty-three pounds of winter coat and boots that come up to your waist!