One night when I visited a nursing home, a resident named Tom slipped out quietly from his room, hoping to catch me to chat. After we talked awhile, he asked, “Won’t God be insulted if I become a Christian this late in life?” Tom’s question wasn’t a surprise. As a chaplain, I often hear it in varying forms from the elderly, from those who struggle with addictions, from former prisoners. They think they have a legitimate reason to believe it’s too late for them to know God or to be used by Him.
At age 99, Leo Plass received his college diploma from Eastern Oregon University. He had stopped working on his teaching degree during the 1930s when he left college to earn an income in the logging industry. Seventy-nine years later, he completed the three credits necessary to graduate and resolve this important unfinished business in his life.
The Wall. For people living in East Germany over 50 years ago, those two words were the only ones necessary to describe the barrier erected on August 13, 1961. That date marked the beginning of the construction of a concrete barrier that separated East and West Germany. Eventually, the wall became nearly impenetrable—secured with barbed wire and armed men. But in 1989 the wall was torn down, removing the barrier between the countries.
In 2010, auto manufacturers recalled a staggering 20 million cars in the US for various defects. The thought of such a large number of defective cars on the road is startling enough. But what is more disturbing is the apathy of some owners. In one instance, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety warned owners, “It’s a free repair. Get it done. It may save your life.” Yet, despite the risk to their own lives, 30 percent never responded.
When I was a child, someone close to me thought they could motivate me to do better by frequently asking me, “Why are you so stupid?” I didn’t know how much this had affected me until I was a teenager and heard someone behind me say, “Stupid!” At the word, I quickly turned around, thinking he was talking to me.
Recently, I couldn’t find my credit card. I began frantically looking for it because losing a credit card is no small thing. Automatic payments and daily purchases would all be disrupted until it could be replaced. Not to mention the possibility of someone finding it and charging items to our account. What a relief it was when my wife found it on the floor under the computer table.
While working with third- and fourth-graders at our church’s Vacation Bible School, I decided to give all 25 of the children a gift on the last day. But I told them that in order to receive it, they would each have to tell me how a person can get to heaven.
Before my husband and I travel, we go to the bank and trade in our US dollars for the currency of the country we’ll be visiting. We do this so we can pay for expenses while we’re away from home.