DEFINING MOMENTS: TAKING A STAND
TAKING A STAND
We must remember we are spiritual soldiers in a spiritual battle, and there are times God will call on us to take a stand and make it stick. When we do, He sets something into our spirit which becomes pivotal in forming our soul for the adventurous future he has planned for us.
“I’M SORRY, I CAN’T DO THAT BUT…”
For me, one such moment came when I was 20 years old and a sophomore on the University of Hawaii campus. I was a year old in my faith, working towards a major in Education and needing to do well in an important English course. My Professor was head of the department and required us all to attend a three-day pornographic film festival upon which we were to write an extensive paper counting for 1/3 of our grade. I was stunned at the audacity of the assignment, knew that I would have to take a stand, and was, quite honestly, afraid of the outcome.
I recalled to mind the example of how Daniel found favor from the chief official of upon requesting an alternate diet so as not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8-16). I approached her at the end of class, respectfully explained that my beliefs as a Christian would prohibit me from doing the assignment, and offered to complete an alternate project instead. I will never forget what happened next. As the approximately 100 students were being dismissed, she shouted out: “Norman here says he’s a Christian. How many of you are Christians?” About 17 people raised their hands (Yes, I quickly counted). She then continued: “Norman says he cannot do this assignment because of his beliefs. Do any others of you feel the same?” Believe it or not, no one raised their hands. I was stunned. Long story short: I would have to accept “failure” for the assignment, docking me 33% of a class I needed to grade well in.
A DEFINING MOMENT
Two weeks later, the professor queried me again, asking if I had reconsidered my position with the film festival about to begin. Feeling somewhat depressed, I eked out the most convincing “No” I could. She asked again, “Are you sure?” I replied with a a firm but disappointed “Yes.” And then it happened. I call it a defining moment. Exhibiting a complete about face in demeanor, she told me she had resolved privately from the start to allow me to do an alternative assignment and that she had determined to honor my beliefs as a Christian. She explained that she knew of Christians who “talked it”, but didn’t “walk it”. She just wanted to know if I was for real. No kidding.
Here’s the kicker: she then asked if I had time later to explain to her who Jesus was, the story of my faith, and what it was to know Christ personally. I honestly recall that my mind went blank. With knees knocking (well it felt like it anyway) and hands sweating, I recovered in time to set an appointment where I shared the gospel the best I could.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
How did I do in the class? She gave me an “A” – better than I deserved and based more I think on my Christian stand than for my academic performance. Call it GRACE. A few other believers in the class who found out about what happened congratulated me for taking a stand. I wonder to this day, “Why didn’t they?”
The year was 1974, and what happened that fall semester connected me intimately to Jesus and fortified my faith. What could have defeated me instead defined me. It felt like I was in a foxhole of spiritual battle alone. I came to realize I was never alone. Regardless of how you may feel, he stands with you now. You are never alone. So go ahead. Take that stand. By doing so, you’ll make a special place for his overcoming grace to empower your journey of faith!