This reflection comes to us from Juliette Alvey.

We are welcomed into God’s family kicking and screaming. How many baptisms have you witnessed where the baby or small child (not usually the adults, although you never know what’s going on on the inside) are doing just that—kicking and screaming. Why are all of these people looking at me? Why won’t my mom let me run around? Why didn’t Pastor make the water just a little bit warmer? We are not always cheerful about submitting our lives to anyone. Any parent can tell you that. If it’s my idea for my child to feed the dog, forget it! If the child’s sibling wants to feed him, suddenly it’s, “I wanted to do that!” We want things to be our ideas, and we don’t want to be forced into anything.

But sometimes life is forceful. Sometimes God is forceful. It often takes falling down to a very low place to make us give up the resistance. I’m talking so low that you have no hope of saving yourself. Down a well, for example. And that’s literally what happened to a man I met in Guatemala.

The man we met had kind and shiny eyes. His smile made you feel like everything was alright with the world. But by our standards, not much was alright in his world. He lived in a wheelchair, on dirt floors, surrounded by thin walls, in a field, in a remote village. He suffered from bed sores, which the missionary nurse  there treated regularly. We prayed with him and his family, for his sores and for a family member who was missing. There was an air of sad contentment in that little house. Not in a depressing way, but more in a Paul-in-prison-on-fire-for-the-Lord sort of way. We left feeling as if we had witnessed the light of Christ in that dirty and humble home.

The people who knew that same man in the past knew a much different person: they knew a mean drunk. We could hardly believe that they were describing the same sweet meek man we had just met. We asked, “How could that be?” Our group leader simply stated, “Jesus changes people.”

The way Jesus “changed” this man’s heart is the most profound part of the story. He came home one night to the dirt field, ranting, yelling obscenities, and stumbling around. This was not unusual to the family or people of the village. But something truly unusual happened that night that would change his life forever: in all his stumbling around, he fell down a well. From the bottom of that well his body was broken, his pride and anger and selfishness were drowned, and he was in desperate need of rescue. What a forceful and relentless love God had for that man to go to such lengths to reclaim him as his child.

From the bottom of the well, he met Jesus. And from that moment on, his life would be so much worse and yet so much better than before.