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Empty & baffled as he looked at Bible display

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Vincent stood baffled in front of the numerous Bible translations at the Lifeway Christian Store on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s campus.

Lifeway associate Patricia James was called over to assist him and, in the process, they struck up a conversation.

James learned that Vincent was visiting his girlfriend in Texas. He had grown up in a “spiritual household” but stopped attending church after his family had moved to Holland. Recently, though, his girlfriend and her family had been getting him back in touch with his “spiritual side” and he wanted to get right with God.

James saw that Vincent was confused. “To clear things up, I asked him, ‘If you were to die tonight, where you would you go? Would you go to heaven or would you go to hell?'”

Vincent stated that he would go to heaven.

“Okay,” James replied, “but why?”

“Because I’m a good person and I’m nice,” he answered.

James asked Vincent about his understanding of heaven and how good one has to be in order to go there. His answers revealed a limited understanding of spiritual matters, so James proceeded to share the Gospel. Though people cannot earn their way into heaven, she explained, God made a way through Jesus.

Vincent reiterated that his girlfriend was getting him back in touch with his spiritual side, and he alluded to feelings of emptiness and loneliness, saying he simply needed to try harder and go to church as much as he could.

God created everyone with an emptiness that only He can fill, James told Vincent, and when they try to fill it with other things — even church – that hole still remains. James said that she, at one time, had come to a point where she did not want to be lonely or empty anymore; she wanted to be filled with Jesus, and nothing else would fill her.

“I knew that God was urging me to ask the same of him,” James recounted, “so I looked him in the eyes and asked if he would like to be filled by the same Jesus who filled me. The young man looked right back at me and said, ‘Yes.'”

So, in the middle of the store, as other customers were passing by, Vincent asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins, come into his life and make him whole.

“As he said ‘Amen’ and looked at me,” James said, “he had a smile that reached from his eyes all the way to his soul. I will never get over seeing someone fully experience the awesomeness of Jesus coming into his life.”

They proceeded to pick out a Bible and James counseled him in how to study God’s Word. Before departing, James asked Vincent what was going through his head. All he could say was, “I don’t feel empty anymore.”

They hugged, and James told him, “Welcome to the family, brother.”

    About the Author

  • Alex Sibley