Have you ever carried a burden, or feeling, or sense of anxiousness so strong that you had to do something that was out of your comfort zone? Perhaps that something involved making a decision to go to college, earn an advanced degree, or a qualify for a certification? Maybe it involved picking up and moving to another city or state? It’s possible that emotion in question ended up in a proposal for marriage, or the adoption of a young child?
I’ve experienced that same vexing sensation. Once it caused me to hitchhike across the country to prove my love to a young woman who eventually became my wife. Another time it led me to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to New York City and–unannounced–knock on the door of a senior news producer at CBS television to say, “I was in the neighborhood and just thought I’d say, ‘Hello.’” That informal meeting ended with a job proposal. On three occasions similar convictions caused my wife and I to make life changing decisions to adopt children. And, despite all of the naysayers, in 2001 I followed my gut and went into talk radio, and 17-years later I was voted into the San Francisco Radio Hall of Fame.
So, here I am again. There’s a feeling I can’t shake. I’ll try explain.
Many years ago, one of history’s greatest evangelists, Billy Graham, encouraged me by saying, “It is a privilege to co-labor with you in the gospel.” Billy and I had spent 45-minutes one-on-one in an interview for a TV program I had in Reno. He was genuinely interested in how I, a young Jewish guy, had placed my trust in Jesus the Messiah. Billy Graham saw something in me that, quite frankly, I never acted upon. Only recently, while looking through a pile of memorabilia, did I find the letter in which he so encouraged me. That unearthed letter planted a seed that’s been growing for many months. The seed has since taken root in a Bible verse found in the New Testament writings:
Therefore, we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, “Be reconciled to God!”
–2 Corinthians 5:20 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Billy Graham was an ambassador of Jesus. As such, his life’s mission was to earnestly appeal to people all over the world to become reconciled to God. His desire was to see people in harmonious relationship with their Creator. Graham didn’t preach flowery messages that tickled the ears and could be applied like a self-help paperback. He didn’t beat around the bush: “You have a problem,” he would say, “it’s called sin, and it’s separated you from a right relationship with God, and only Jesus can forgive your sin and reconcile you to Him.”
That Bible verse is hounding me as much as anything ever has.
That’s why very soon I will be unveiling a totally remodeled briansussman.com website, subtitled, Another Chance. The content will reflect the fact that the God of Heaven is always offering all of us another chance to be in right standing with Him.
Stay tuned for podcasts, videos, and blog posts illustrating some incredible examples of those who have experienced another chance…