When I was 11 my parents took me to New York City. I remember little about that trip in 1971, except two things, and they made an indelible impression.
We went to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building Observation Deck. Though I was familiar with elevators in smaller buildings, the ride up 86 floors was exciting. Once up there, I looked down and was both exhilarated and a queasy to see the people on the ground looked like ants. Since then, I've never gotten tired of looking at the earth from heights, even maps. Now here is a weird fact I just learned about the suicides who've jumped from the building: In 1979, Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor, only to be blown back onto the 85th floor and left with only a broken hip. God's hand at work, for sure!
I remember that my mother and I were going to see two shows on Broadway, she got to pick one and I picked one. She wanted to see "Follies," a musical. I don't like musicals at all. I chose "Jesus Christ Superstar."
But that's a musical, you protest! I know. Now, I know. I focused on the 'rock' part and not the 'opera' part. I remember being irritated throughout the show because of all the singing. I wondered when they were going to start talking. It wasn't until Herod's song that I realized the whole show was singing (opera, duh). If you know the account of Jesus, by the time he gets to Herod the story is pretty much over. Amazingly, though, I ended up liking the musical and I bought the double album, listening to it for many years. I've recently bought it on CD. I still listen to it a lot.
That was almost the only time I heard the gospel, the story of Jesus's ministry on earth and his death on the cross and resurrection and the players in the story like Pilate and Mary. But a seed was planted that afternoon in New York City in a young girl's heart. A seed planted by the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit, on receptive ground, never fails.
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 "And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 "Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 "But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 "But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
My heart was good ground, and not hardened to Him. The seed stayed alive, nurtured by a questioning soul and eyes that could see His word in the world. I'd look around and See God. In the sunsets, in the Andes, in the ocean, in a tiny shell, in people. Romans 1:19-20 -- "because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."
The preaching of the gospel is God's power, his drawing power, to save (I Corinthians 1:18-21). Therefore, all people, when they hear the gospel, at any moment, have the ability to respond to God's gospel call. I did not respond, but neither did I refuse. It wasn't until 35 years later that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. Last March I was baptized.
John 6:44--No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
I'm looking forward to it!