It was one particular evening that an event right outside his front door would remind him that the blood of Christ may intentionally take people to their deaths; and his own death just might be closer than he thought.
Blood in your veins means life on earth. Blood on the cross means life eternal. The Bible tells us that Satan has been conquered by the blood of a lamb and the testimony of His church (Rev. 12:10-11). My aim is to share a little of both by telling you one of Mike’s stories. On an evening not long ago, Mike watched as a man collapsed right outside his front door; his blood loss so severe Mike thought his white shirt was red. It wasn't.
Understandably, this particular story will be vague on details to protect identities and privacy.
I visualize each of our lives as threads that are weaved into God's "Grand Tapestry of Majesty" that will only be complete on the day of judgment. Each of our threads contain interrelated stories illustrating God's continual work to accomplish His will. This story is a portion of Mike's and his wife's obedience to God as they were looking for a new place to live. Having both engaged in missions under the flag of Campus Crusade (where their threads intertwined and wrapped permanently around each other in the bond of marriage), they believed in missions, had lived missions, and wanted to keep missions central to their family.
As they encountered the need for more space in response to their growing family they realized they needed a new home. Underlying their house-hunting concerns, though, is what Mike calls "moving on mission" combined with their extraordinary love for Dayton. They made this transition to a house in the city in order to fulfill God's call for their lives. As I interviewed him, Mike kept referring to a song by the artist This ’l, titled “I signed up to die”. It reminds him that we as Christians must sacrifice to the point that our thread may meet its end in the tapestry for divine fulfillment of His purpose. It was one particular evening that an event right outside his front door would remind him that the blood of Christ may intentionally take people to their deaths; and his own death just might be closer than he thought.
Understandably, God's purpose is rarely clear beforehand or even in the midst of crisis. Yet it is often a crisis that seizes our hearts and reveals more of our Lord. Thus, on this particular night around 9:30pm Mike was startled into heightened awareness by the sound of a voice screaming and cursing just outside his front door. His peaceful vision for the evening shattered as he looked outside to see a man in a bright red shirt stumbling on the sidewalk where he soon collapsed. As he stepped outside police sirens penetrated his shock as multiple cruisers rushed to the scene. He approached the man only to find that the shirt he thought was red was soaked in blood from multiple stab wounds. The police later said he had bled so much that his shoes were "squishing" and just one more minute delay would have meant his death.
Yet it is another's blood at the center of this story.
Mike and his wife had developed a relationship through ministry to a neighboring family that has collectively accumulated 100 years of prison time. For instance, Mike’s wife delivered Mother's Day flowers to the mother of the household - I'll call her Jane - only to find out that she was the only one to celebrate with her. They had learned some of Jane's painful story at one point and prayed over her on the spot. Mike remembers her saying she could use all the prayers they could get. As they learned of more of Jane's and her family's story their hearts were moved increasingly toward ministry for them. However, one particular night a few weeks after the stabbing, Mike felt a significance fear for his safety.
Once again Mike heard the sirens of multiple police cruisers rushing into the neighborhood and stepped outside to watch them stop in front of Jane's house. During the incident one of Jane's sons, whom I'll call Mark, an imposing man with tattoos from head to toe, looked around the neighborhood and made an announcement: someone had called the cops on them and he was going to find and kill them. Mike recalls that as he was saying this he caught Mike's eye in an intense gaze. Fear immediately settled into Mike's heart; he went back inside feeling very unsettled.
It wasn’t long before Mark knocked on the side door and Mike opened it with fear and prayer in his heart. Mark opened the conversation with an apology for his threat and revealed that Mike and his family were the only ones to receive this apology because of the love they had expressed for his family. It was now clear that their spiritual investment had not gone unnoticed.
The beauty of this story is Mike's and his wife's victory over fear in losing the illusory safety we like to pretend we have. Mike and his wife discussed whether they need to move in pursuit of the worldly security that we all desire. Fear could have won the day. However, the blood of Christ and the fruit of His love expressed through their ministrations reveal God's presence and purpose in their lives as they've decided to keep their home in the city and rely on the blood of Jesus to attain this victory for them; a blood-purchased victory, indeed.
Author: Jonathan Allain