TITLE: Changed by Love
DATE: July 10, 2019
TEXT:. Lamentations 3:22-23 – ESV -The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
A number of years ago a long-term study was conducted by Johns Hopkins University.
A professor had his graduate students interview and investigate the background of 200 boys who were growing up in poverty. Then, on the basis of the information, the students were asked to predict the future of those boys. The College students predicted 90% of those 12-to-16-year old lads were going to spend serous time in jail. As I said this was a long-term study.
It was ‘long term’ because, twenty-five years later, the University sent researchers into the area to re-interview those boys who had now grown into men. The study wanted to see if the predictions had been accurate.
Of the 180 who could be found, only four had spent any time in jail. The researchers were amazed.
When they tried to determine how their predictions could have been so wrong, a pattern emerged. One after another of the now grown-up boys said, “Well, there was this teacher…..” One after another of the boys talked about how they had been touched by the same teacher. The researchers had to know, “Is this teacher still alive?” Well, yes, she was. She was alive and living by herself in a retirement home.
Eagerly they went to her and asked, “What did you do that left such an impact on so many boys who seemed destined for a bad life?” The teacher thought, and finally said, ”All I tried to do was truly love my students.”
That’s the story. Now, here’s the question: do you think that story is real; Can love change things?”
Over the years I’ve noticed that people who have a strong negative answer to that question have never experienced a lasting love. Many times they come from homes which had been broken up after weeks, months, years of continuous parental anger and argument. Others had been the object of their classmates’ cruel comments, the center of unrelenting disrespect, derision and disdain. More than a few had gone through their teen-age years feeling unaccepted, unappreciated, and unacknowledged. Shunned by many, they found solace in the close companionship of a single, special friend; a single, special friend, who ended up betraying their secrets, making fun of them behind their backs, and deserting them at the earliest possible opportunity.
Can love change people and their destinies? Some people are sure it can’t. If you believe love can’t change people, and destinies, it is probably not because you don’t want to believe it. On the contrary, you, want to believe. You just can’t. You’ve been hurt too often; wounded too frequently; let down too far to risk yourself again.
Which is why I point you to the Gospels... four short books which tell of God’s Son, our Savior. Listen to Him; think about what He had to say and look at what He has done. Look and believe: God’s love can change anything in this world and the next.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord for making changes, wonderful changes in my present and future I give thanks. Now let me share that wonderful news with others who don’t believe Your love can change things. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html