I have a friend named Shane. I’ve known him since junior high school. He was never a lady’s man, a great athlete, or a superstar. In fact, Shane was rather awkward. But in his defense, I will say that he was smart, soft-hearted, and sincere. He loved God and developed a deep relationship with him. He loved others and never failed to show it. Shane never pretended to be someone he was not. He was real and I always respected him for that.
After high school, we entered Ball State University and while there, this awkward boy became a confident man. Thankfully, in the midst of this transition, he never lost his soft heart or his love for God. He never lost his sincerity or his love for others and this truth has changed the world.
If you ever spent any time in a college dorm, you know the diversity of life that exists within those walls. Behind every door, in every room, there is a different person with a different story. Some stories are sweet and redeeming and the students who tell them are like flowers blooming in warm morning sunlight. Others have stories that are mysterious and painful. The scholars carrying these in their hearts live in cold, isolated closets of shame, wilting in the darkness.
Pam was one of those students loosing the battle with her past. She had been through some tough times. She had been deeply hurt and was cautious with relationships, both temporal and eternal. She lived one floor above Shane and met him in the commons areas and at breakfast. It was not long before this person who couldn’t trust anyone, learned to trust Shane.
Shane never asked anything from Pam but she was always welcome in his world. It was that way on the first day she met him. It was that way when they said good-bye at graduation. They went separate ways: Pam became a teacher. Shane joined an organization whose goal was to show love to a world who had never known love. And Pam never forgot Shane’s support, example, and prayers.
And it was this example of unselfish love that caused Pam to turn to God several years later. Because of Shane’s example, Pam gave her life to God. Because of his sincerity and love for God, Pam turned her heart toward heaven and her entire world was changed.
Fast forward several years: Pam married a man born and raised in India. She and her husband travel from village to village telling them about God’s sacrifice and love. At one village, Pam held a newborn baby, the proud parents stood close, anxious to show him off. As Pam cradled the precious gift and sing sweet lullabies, she asked the parents the baby’s name. With tears in their eyes, they told of a man who came from the other side of the world, to their small village. He loved them and told of a love they had never known. He led them into a relationship with God, through Jesus, and their lives would never be the same again. And so, because he had pointed them to God, they named their first born in his honor: they named him Shane.
Pam, shocked at first, shared her story of this same man and his witness that changed her life. Together, they held each other and wept. They released prayers of thanksgiving, praise for a servant, a witness, a friend, and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.