Love defeats contradiction (pt4)

by Craig on April 11, 2011

… Mary and I had battled through questions, conquering doubts, picking up wind to fill sails.

This is the last of a 4 part story. There was a college professor seemingly determined to extinguish flames of faith, a student struggling to keep faith alive, and me, in the right place at the right time.

And love wins.

If you missed any of this, the story reads quickly, and you’ll really heart parts one, two, and three. (beginning here).

It’s in fighting back the doubts that our faith grows. It’s in the fire that we are forged. It’d be nice if we just moved from mountain top to mountain top with no dark valleys between. But that’s not the way of life on this broken planet swirling through space. We fight, but we don’t fight alone.

We had refuted the professor’s argument that Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount contradicted Luke’s Sermon on the Plain.

We’d refuted a whole laundry list of his semester long, and shaky, anti-faith arguments.

We had seen the “why” of four gospels.

But knowing that numbers would help her cause we sought them out.

The next room over in the library was a big one. It’s empty in this picture but held hundreds of students that night – all studying for finals.

I remembered from Psychology Statistics 101 that a minimum sample size was 35,

so we found 50 participants.

Here’s how our experiment was run.

At the bottom of the hour each would take one minute, look up from their studies, and list up to 10 things about their surroundings.

The minute hand hit the 6 and 50 UCLA students looked to Mary before beginning.

We expected that we’d have to pick up their completed task at the end of the minute. But the big clock on the wall told them all to stop after 60 seconds, and one by one they dutifully brought the assignment to us.

I knew where this was headed, Mary hadn’t caught on yet. But with each paper dropped off – she was gaining confidence.

We brought the papers back to our study carrels to read them.

There were similarities on all the lists, the clock, books, people etc… But some had details the others didn’t. Some were wordy. Some were brief. Mary noticed that that writing styles were so different from each other. I didn’t need to say a thing, only agree with here as she triumphantly concluded:

“They were all in the same place, describing the same situation. But they all had their different perspective. If they all wrote down the same thing it’d be like if we rigged the experiment. But look! They all pretty much said the same thing, but a little different. This is cool. This is great! This is like the Gospels!”

As the library began closing around us, we each gathered our stuff – and she turned to me and asked me for my Bible. “Here,” she said, reaching into one of her folders. She peeled off a sticker and placed it on the inside cover of my Bible, “These are for jobs well done.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, extending my hand.

She leaped past my hand, hugged my neck quickly, and then bounced away with springs in her feet, to friends across the room.

And just so I don’t keep you here all day…

The End.

In God’s love.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

A. April 11, 2011 at 9:04 am

Craig, what an awesome, awesome idea! What a great way for her to demonstrate the truth of what she had just learned!!!! I think you being there at that time and place-for her-is as great a miracle as fishes and loaves. Now, I would have simply loved to have been a fly on the wall when she shared her newfound things with her professor (and class?). But really, this is enough, just knowing that one ‘woman at the well’ came away having had such an encounter with Abba’s provision.


Craig April 11, 2011 at 10:04 am

I’ve been the person at the well many times over – MANY – we all have pieces others lack. If only I would have known this sooner. But I know it now. Now I learn everyday – just by keeping my eyes open. I think it was good timing by God. Me a decade ago would have been humble outside in my response – but inside glommed up the praise. I’ll take it as a sign of growth that I appreciate your kind words now – but don’t say on the inside – Yeah – I deserved that! – My inside matches my outside – I guess that’s good. Thank you A. God Bless.


Melissa April 11, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hello, friend. I came looking for poems, and was caught up in your wonderful story. I, too, would love to have been in the room when Mary shared her statistics. That was brilliant! Is there a book in your future? If so, I want a signed copy, and a little sticker to remind me of your Jesus-heart. You are blessing. I am praying for you and the sleep thing. Jesus-peace to you, friend! And I’m continuing the search the riches here and at your twin site. I can’t wait to read your poems. Love and blessings!

PS Thanks for your kind comments at Sweetwater! I have been struggling to get my thoughts on “paper” lately. I am blessed by and thankful for your prayers and encouragement. Joy and peace!


Craig April 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

Melissa – an absolute JOY to see you here. Hope you found those poems – I hate to write one and not have you read it. A book would be nice – should you start a publishing company sign me to a deal OK? I’m patient – and I’ll be there when you get those ideas on paper. Heart your words. God Bless – and thank you.


Brooke April 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

This was a wonderful series of posts…. thanks for your wisdom and excellant teaching.


Craig April 11, 2011 at 10:23 am

Thank you Brooke – no teaching – I just learn stuff and share – I used to “teach” but never learned anything – now I read in this community, and I learn – which leads to more sharing – and so forth. Thank you for reading – God bless you.


Renegades April 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Wonderful as always.


Debbie April 12, 2011 at 1:17 am

What a perfect ending to the Mary story. :) I will remember this and smile lots, at how God inspires and brings us just what we need. How He had Mary meet you at her point of need. How He meets us in our need too. God bless you! Love the sticker!


Michelle April 12, 2011 at 6:21 am

‘Twas worth the wait. And I love the lion in the midst. Such a great reminder of Mary, – sweet and pretty and the heart of a lion. Thank you for helping her find it.


Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home April 13, 2011 at 4:12 am

What a great way to prove your point. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Craig April 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

It was just the way that presented itself. It was right time – right place thats all/. BUt thank you Sharon. God Bless you.


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