This story shows how demonsâ€™ lies blind people to the lavish flow of Godâ€™s love and kindness, until Christ frees them and opens their eyes.
Epilogue: Loriâ€™s Joyful Elegy to Grace
Victor and Lori Discoverthe River of Grace
Victor moved from a small town to the city and learned to weld. He found work in a cluttered car repair shop, and while seeking new friends met Lori who had also recently come to the city.Their friendship grew and they married. Lori surprised Victor by how cheerful she made their small apartment with flowers and other things that only women would imagine, especially those who read a lot, as Lori did. Victor told her, â€œYou arenâ€™t only beautiful, Lori; youâ€™re also creative. Every day you give me something wonderfully new to discover about you and about life!â€ He stroked her long, sleek, straight black hair. â€œIâ€™m a lucky man!â€
Looking at his strong, determined face, she saw a man who would accept tough duties without complaint. â€œAnd you are very thoughtful, Victor,â€ she replied softly. â€œYou are a deep thinker. Life will never be boring for us! You alwaysâ€¦ How can I say it? You explore!â€
Creating and exploring in their simple way in a simple world, life together was a paradise, until one evening when Victor arrived home with a cloudy face. Lori read his emotions at a glance, and saw whatno one else would have detected. â€œWhatâ€™s wrong?â€
â€œThe repair shop no longer needs a welder. Iâ€™m out ofwork.â€
She sat down suddenly, breathed deeply and clasped her hands in her lap. â€œI hope you do so soon, because our family is going to grow. Today I found that out.â€
Three weeks later when Victor arrived home,Lori noticed that the clouds in Victorâ€™s face had grown darker. â€œNow what happened?â€
â€œNo one needs a welder. We cannot pay another monthâ€™s rent.â€ Victor dropped onto a chair, clenched his fists, and hit the table. â€œIâ€™m stymied, Lori! Really worried!â€
â€œIâ€™m worried, too, Victor. I fear maybe God is punishing me for the bad things Iâ€™ve done.â€
â€œI feel concern about that, too. Iâ€™m so uptight! My cousin told me today that some friends are meeting with a Hindu swami tonight to meditate and learn to relax. Letâ€™s go try it. We havenâ€™t practiced any religion very well.â€
â€œThat sounds nice, Victor. I want to find deeper meaning in my life. In our lives, I mean. Iâ€™m willing to experiment.â€
â€œWell then, I shall meet you there,â€ Victor suggested. â€œI am going to see our landlord first. He lives near there. Iâ€™ll beg him to wait for us to pay our rent. Hereâ€™s the address where they will meet with the Swami. I might arrive a little late.â€
The address that Victor gave Lori had a number wrong, and she went to a house across the street from it. â€œIs this the meeting for meditation?â€ she asked at the door.
â€œMeditation? Oh! I guess so. You are early.â€ A lady about Loriâ€™s age welcomed her. â€œCome in. Iâ€™m Julie. My husband, Tino, helps lead the group.Itâ€™s his turn to lead discussion tonight. Please, have some tea.â€
Others arrived; some carried Bibles. Julie moved quietly from person to person, greeting them, asking about their health and families, and offering tea and cookies. She was quick to laugh, a confident person who made visitors feel at ease.The meeting began, and Lori was surprised to hear them pray for each other in the name of Jesus Christ. She was afraid they would call on her. She had never prayed aloud and would have been mortified. A middle-aged lady told how she came to know Jesusâ€™ love: â€œI had so much sin to be forgiven! I didnâ€™t know that Godâ€™s grace could cover the horrid things Iâ€™d done, butâ€¦â€ She couldnâ€™t finish. She was sobbing.
An older man began shyly, â€œI been about to die, but you all begged God to heal my emphysema. He done it. The doc, he asked what new medicine I took. I told him it was prayer, and he said it musta been, cause nothing he knew accounted for it.â€
â€œPraise the Lord!â€ Julie exclaimed so spontaneously that it surprised Lori, sitting beside her.
A younger man with spiked hair told his testimonial, â€œYou know how miserable I was, addicted to illegal drugs. But our Lord Jesus Christ has freed me.â€
They praised the Lord again, and Tino promised the young man, â€œWe shall help you to grow in the grace of God.â€
Lori whispered to Julie, â€œI hope no one asks me to speak. This is all new to me.â€
â€œTalk only if you want, Lori.â€
Julieâ€™s husband Tino seemed scholarly: thick glasses, professorâ€™s demeanor, neatly trimmed moustache and confident, firm speech.Studied his smiling face, Lori thought, â€œI think I can trust him.â€
Tino urged the group, â€œTonight wellfind what God says about grace in Romans 5.â€ Julie handed Lori a Bible, but she could not find Romans.
â€œLet me help you,â€ Julie said softly, and turned the pages.
The young man whom Christ had freed from drug addiction read with intense feeling, â€œWhere sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, grace reigns through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.â€
Tino asked the group, â€œWhat does this reveal to us about God?â€
They discussed Godâ€™s grace, and then took turns reading Bible verses about how grace flows like a river. An elderly lady wearing a worn, faded dress said, â€œHear what Isaiah 55:1 promises, â€˜Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!â€™ I love that promise!â€…read more.