Can't See Him
Off the Wall, March 19,

Recently while traveling in a taxi, I began talking to the driver about having a relationship with God. He paused and told me he had to methodically think it over as there are a lot of questions he has pertaining to the Christian faith.

That’s all I needed. I asked him if Abraham Lincoln existed. He stated, “Yeah, sure.” Well, then I threw a zinger at him. “Well, I don’t believe that he lived because I never saw him.” That brought initial smiles to his face with an eventual outburst of laughter. “Hey, I never heard that one before,” he said.

I told him that there were lots of people written down in history I never saw. “Am I to believe they are all part of made stories to draw interests of those who like history? Think of all the other names I could add,” I stated. He continued smiling, but said nothing. I think his methodical thinking process was being put into action. From there I was silent, waiting for a return.

I surmised I planted a seed, if nothing more. Aren’t we as Christians supposed to do that?

Recently, Roman Catholic Church parishioners have been to prompted to go forth and evangelize. I’ve always considered the word to mean “speak more of Jesus to others,” talk more about our Christian religion.”

While listening to a compact disc featuring Terry Barber and Jesse Romero on the subject of angels, Romero stated something that caught my attention. He said, “Evangelization is the management of encouragement.”

The act to encourage using this philosophy is approaching a subject using baby steps all the while picturing the arm of Jesus around someone’s shoulder. It’s like saying, “C’mon, you can do it, I know you can…”

That reminds me of a story I did back in the earlier part of March concerning a young man who literally blessed the socks off of me upon listening to his presentation at the Monroeville Convention Center, Feb. 20.

Nineteen year-old Joey Maxim gave a most excellent talk about the art of fly fishing and learning to tie flies all the while comparing this art to his struggles through life.

As an outdoor writer for the Latrobe Bulletin, I have heard many speakers share their knowledge about this young man’s passion. What he brought to the table was something far greater than one telling anglers different ways to catch fish.

You see, several years ago he was in a life-threatening vehicle accident which resulted in head injuries, a broken neck and two collapsed lungs. He was pronounced dead in the helicopter that life-flighted him to a hospital. Yet, if you were to look at him and talk to him today, you would have never known he had a second chance in life and is now sharing his talents with everyone who listens to him.

“In recovering from my accident,” he said, “there is so much in my life’s struggles that parallels with fly fishing. When you first learn the art, it’s rough, but such it was when I started to get well. Nothing came easy in learning to tie flies or learn fly fishing; I had to work at it. Such it is with life. Learn to do one thing at a time and do it well,” the Orvis representative stated.

He then took it one step further. “Miracles don’t have to be big,” he said. “Little ones count just as much.” He then related a recent story that happened to him.

“I was driving along a major highway and noticed a tractor trailer in front of me. All of a sudden the rear tire came off and rolled up a hill and then turned and rolled back down and started coming in my direction. If I had been ahead two and one-half seconds sooner, the large tire would have slammed right into my car,” Maxim stated.

It’s often said, God works in mysterious ways. In my opinion, when one thinks about that statement there is no methodical thinking when it comes to the meaning of that phrase. The way it begins says it all – “God works…” What’s the deal with having to see Him? If I knew my life was spared as Joey’s was, I’d be elated, too.

Faith in a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ, is dire. Unloading one’s issues with Him and then maintaining belief that He will follow through with one’s best interest in mind speaks volumes.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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