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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: GET the Power of the Cross!
By Chuck Baker


Once, when I was struggling with my faith, God sent an angel to me--an angel by the name of Anna.

I was shuffling along, having an okay time, not a great time, at a university dance, when I saw her--a young Eurasian girl sitting alone. I made my way over, and nervous as ever, asked her to dance.

The band was blasting out their rendition of "Spirit in the Sky":

Going on up to the Spirit in the Sky

With the music so loud, it was impossible for us to talk.

That's where I'm gonna go, when I die,

I couldn't even tell if she wanted to talk to me anyway. She seemed shy, and glanced everywhere, except at me.

When I die and they lay me to rest,

Unable to catch her attention, my eyes focused on the cross hanging from her neck. It was a sore spot for me Id had more than a few unanswered questions lately about my faith.

I'm gonna go to the place that's the best.

As the song ended, I walked her back to her table. Her roommate returned, so I graciously excused myself and left.

Later, I regretted my decision. If I didn't speak to her now, I might not get another chance. I spotted her outside, and then introduced myself in the worst possible way:

"Hi, I'm Chuck. Is that thing around your neck just a decoration, or do you actually believe something?" Crash and burn. How could I say such a thing? Two things you never do when you first meet someone - one, get sarcastic, and two, talk about religion.

"Hi, I'm Anna, and yes, I'm a Christian. I do believe. It sounds like you have a few issues though. Do you have questions?"

Did I have questions? Questions rolled off my tongue one after another. How can God allow suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do evil people sometimes succeed?

We talked for half the night.

The fruit of the Spirit was strong inside her. She was at peace with herself and demonstrated extreme patience and kindness towards this total stranger. Bit by bit, my eyes began to open.

It was getting late, so I walked her back to her room. All I could think about was what I'd blurted out, and how ignorant of the Bible I was compared to her. Me, me, me. Again, my focus was not where it should have been.

When we reached her dorm, she asked me to wait. She went inside to get something a booklet entitled Your New Life in Prayer. Her parents had just given it to her; now she was passing it on to me.

I thanked her and went home to read it. Inside, she had written a verse that has stayed with me to this very day: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

My eyes opened a little wider.
As I grew closer to Christ, I also grew closer to Anna. We've been married now for fifteen years, and have two wonderful boys, Christopher James, age 5, and Timothy Andrew, 16 months. I have truly been blessed.

Flash back a few years. I'm in a jewelry store and I'm buying something for myself - strange, because the only jewelry I possess is my wedding ring. But I pay for and take my package back home - a bright gold gleaming cross. After all, if it brought me closer to Christ, it might help someone else too, right?

Eyes wide open. The focus was finally on someone else.

Since then, I've had several students ask me about my cross. Are you Christian? Do you believe? I'm now on the receiving end of all the questions I once asked Anna.

That simple cross has opened up discussions that I, as a public school teacher, am forbidden to initiate. I've now seen young people brought close to God in the very same way I was.

Going on up to the Spirit in the Sky,
That's where I wanna go when I die,
When I die and they lay me to rest,
I'm gonna go to the place that's the best.

Finally, it's coming in loud and clear. And to think--it all started with a little gold cross, and an angel named Anna!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 08/24/06
Very, very neat entry. I liked it immensely, and it not only entertained and encouraged me, but enlightened me as well. Nicely done.
Birdie Courtright08/24/06
This is a great story! It's true that wearing one has the power to draw someone who might not otherwise ask their burning questions. Thanks!
Lynda Schultz 08/25/06
A sweet story. I'm glad you didn't get struck by lightning or blinded by a sudden revelation. The process you describe is much more the reality of the vast majority. Good job.
Dolores Stohler08/26/06
Wonderful, honest testimony! I love what you wrote. And I like that you called her: "an angel named Anna."
Edy T Johnson 08/28/06
Just a little piece of jewelry, but the power of the cross is still at work. Great true story, I'm thinking? Praise the Lord! and thanks for writing this.