Stories of Transformation…Chad
by Jonathan Haefs
*On Sunday July the 6th, three stories of transformation were shared within our worship gathering at SVCC. These are true stories that come from the lives of people within our faith family. I will be posting all of these beautiful testimonies of the transforming power of Jesus this week. Below is the first of the three. To hear the story read click here.
I’d like to share my spiritual journey with you in the form of a children’s story. It is called, “My Little Sprout.”
It all started when a boy met a girl. Obviously the boy was me…and I knew that this girl was different in many special ways. The greatest way in which she was different was that she was a Christian. I saw that as a good thing. I believed that I had goodness within myself also…. But it wasn’t the same. I was not a Christian. And I was not like her.
But over time… we fell in love.
As our relationship grew, she began to be like a Gardner tending my soul helping faith to grow. She did this for a special reason. She was hopeful that I would be her husband. However, we both knew that it would not be right for us to get married if I did not have the same faith that she did. The only way for me to become a Christian was to have the seed of faith take root and grow in my heart.
So she tried and tried plant seeds of faith within me. But, there was a big problem though….the seeds were not making it to my heart because they were all stuck in my head. I tried to make the seeds sprout and grow, she wanted them to grow…but no matter how hard I tried or how long she waited…
Now I loved this girl so much that, at times, I thought, “Maybe I’ll pretend that faith is growing in my heart.” But, I knew that pretending about such an important matter would not be a good idea at all. I knew that faith was very meaningful and I wanted my faith to be real.
So I kept trying and she kept waiting.
Finally, tired of the long wait, and scared of the consequences of no seed growth, she tried one last thing…she asked me to pray with her…just her. I had prayed before, or so I thought. I had prayed with everyone at the church. I had prayed with the people at the dinner table. I had prayed with the people at Bible study. But, I had never prayed with just one other person.
On that late summer’s day, she took my hand gently into hers and prayed for us both…
BAM! A shock went through my body. I felt it go from my head down to my toes. I didn’t know what to say or think but I knew something had happened to me. She knew something also. I was scared. Could it be- maybe, just maybe one of those seeds in my head was shook by the tool of prayer, and landed in my heart?
I found a Bible. I began reading it diligently. I wanted to reproduce what I had felt during her prayer, but I wasn’t sure if I knew how. I tried to pray by myself, but I did not know what to pray for. My mind raced and wandered. Then I thought about the business I owned at that time. It was having a lot of trouble. In fact, I knew that I was going to have to work twice as hard to do what must be done. Twice as hard.
I was already working as hard as I could and I couldn’t afford to pay anyone else to help me. Where would I find the strength I needed? I decided to pray… “Lord, please give me strength to do what I must do.”
I knew I needed the Lord and that I could not do life on my own. The more I prayed, the stronger I seemed to get. But the demands kept falling on me like rain. I kept praying. The more it rained, the more I prayed. The rain brought on a flood of emotions inside me. Then the rain turned into a muddy pond over my head and heart. But I prayed to stay focused and I prayed for strength.
Then one day, through the silt and the water I saw something…
Could it be?
Was it a sprout from that little seed? Yes! I saw a sprout! I tried to tell my girlfriend all about it, but I couldn’t find the words. I didn’t describe it very well. I said things like, “It’s kind of green and it’s sticking straight up….and…” Then I thought, “If I can’t describe this sprout of Faith…is something wrong?” I began to doubt. “Do I doubt the sprout?”, I thought.
Then an answer came, “No, no. You must not doubt the sprout!” So I kept believing and praying…and the muddy pond over my heart began to clear up.
On a Sunday morning in December, light started shining on me and my little sprout of Faith. My eyes became clear and there was the sprout…without a doub! A SPROUT of Faith had definitely grown in my heart!
My head was filled with the possibilities of this New Faith. I thought, “Wow! I’ll always be given strength, and wisdom, and joy and hey!…….Do you know what this means?!? This means that I could be my girlfriend’s husband too!!!” I couldn’t wait to tell her the news.
So the very next morning I met her for breakfast. I couldn’t help myself…I immediately began to tell her what I was feeling.
As those first words of truth came from my lips, a huge rush of joy went through my body. Tears sprang from my eyes… tears of joy and sadness mixed together. The tears drenched my new Faith and I felt it grow stronger and stronger with each one that fell from my cheek.
My tears and words confused her. She didn’t know what to think! She didn’t see the Sprout of Faith within me because it was covered with tears and didn’t look like much.
I was confused too. I knew that the tears of Joy were for my new Faith…but what were the tears of sadness for? I realized that they were for a different sort of change in me. You see… I realized that I was not a boy anymore. I had become a man. A very special and different kind of man…. a CHRISTIAN man.
My name… is Chad Stogner.
Story: Chad Stogner
Writer: Chad Stogner and Sandi Dittmer
Reader: Ed Kaylor