Several of you have asked me what inspired this unique story. Well, that’s a very good question! Finally, on day 14—and spread 14—of this book I’m going to let you in on most of the little secrets that are behind this story.
To be truthful, you and I—plain old people—inspired this story! In the book, I started by telling Walt’s story and then proceeded to tell the Hollings’ story. To explain the book’s inspiration, I’m going to do the opposite… I’m going to start by explaining who the Hollings represent.
So, as already stated, Hollings represent you and I! People! Like the Hollings, most of us would say that we try our best to be good people and we are usually well intentioned… even when we mess up. We all have different jobs and roles we take on each day, just like the Hollings. But most importantly, again, like the Hollings, we’re all in search of something to make us whole! There are no exceptions. In all countries on all continents on the globe, however differently this search may look, we’re all seeking wholeness. Some of us try to feel wholeness through our work. We think if we find the perfect job, or the job we love to do, we’ll feel complete. Some of us seek fulfillment in people. Whether its in our parents, siblings, best friend, spouse, children, etc… some of us reason they are the ones who will bring us the most joy and completeness in life. Some of us seek fulfillment in more destructive ways. Some of us are like the Hollings and seek fulfillment in how much does or doesn’t go in our bellies. Some of us seek the pleasure of the moment through drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions and so on to fill us. Some seek contentment in our hobbies… whether its preoccupation with a sports team, golfing, painting, dancing, photography, cooking, swimming, shopping, jogging, playing tennis, bird watching or taking vacations, many of us hope these activities will complete us. Some of us seek wholeness in spiritual things, reasoning that material things don’t cut it and people usually disappoint. Whether we spend considerable time in introspection, meditating on “happy thoughts”, seeking one of multiple religions of the world, or mixing and matching our own fickle religious concoctions until we come up with one that meets all of our criteria and makes us most comfortable with ourselves and the world, wouldn’t you say fulfillment is at the heart of our search?
Would you be willing to say that many of us are still looking for that “thing” that will create in us a sense of complete peace and joy? All of the things that we truly thought would fulfill us, in the end didn’t fully accomplish this, and often times left us more confused than ever! Some of us couldn’t wait to get married. That was going to be IT. With a husband by my side, I can face anything come what may! Then you get to the other side of the honeymoon and realize that he’s still just a person like you are a person. As much as I love him, he’s not perfect. Or maybe many of us thought that once we had that baby, THEN life would be complete. After all, isn’t it all about family? This was so me for much of my life. Not necessarily the baby part, but always looking forward to the next big thing. It started small, but grew. First I couldn’t wait to get to shave my legs (haha!), then I couldn’t wait to wear makeup, then I couldn’t wait to drive a car, then I couldn’t wait to go on my first date, then I couldn’t wait to graduate from High School, then I couldn’t wait to go to college, then I couldn’t wait to be married, then I couldn’t wait to have a successful career, then I couldn’t wait to buy a house, then I couldn’t wait to get a dog, then I couldn’t wait to have a baby… Just thinking about it makes me nauseated! Maybe you’re different and you can’t wait until you experience your next “high” from something… anything. A movie, an activity, a person. Or maybe that promotion and pay raise will finally set things right. Whatever it is, it ends up coming up short, and we’re left still yearning for more!
Is this making sense to anyone? Does this sound familiar at all? In the end, all this searching for complete peace, joy, and fulfillment doesn’t come up with what we’ve been looking for. Yet we’re innately driven in search of it. Some of us call it “searching for myself”, but I believe even this is not it. After all, when I finally find myself, I have a feeling that I wasn’t hiding in the corner with peace and fulfillment all along. At least I’m pretty sure that’s not who or what I’d turn up in my search of self!
Can I tell you the good news now? Just like Jennings was able to find wholeness (and any other Holling who might dare), true fulfillment and complete peace and joy is not unattainable! Oh I wish I could express this to you with as much thrill as I’m feeling writing this. True fulfillment is not unattainable at all. It is the exact opposite! Just like the Hollings’ fulfillment ended up being so simple, the secret to our incomprehensible peace and wholeness is just as simple and OH. SO. ATTAINABLE! The Hollings were surrounded by evidence of a gift waiting for them. Darkness and coldness alone suggest there must be an opposite. When we’re in the dark, we instinctively yearn for light. When in coldness, warmth. Their roofs sagged from the weight of their precious gift just over head. And they even could hear Walt’s singing late at night. Evidence and invitation for true peace is all around us too! Perhaps its someone you know. Perhaps this stunning earth and universe, even if you don’t want to admit it, echo of a Creator. Perhaps its the whisper in your soul when all the noise of the world is stilled.
Here it is. This is the secret to complete and utter wholeness (About TIME already, right?!). Here’s the answer you’ve been waiting and searching for, perhaps for your whole life! It’s really just this simple:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16, The Bible (NASB)
If you’ve heard one verse ever from the Bible, it was probably this verse. Why? Because it really sums it all up in one short sentence.
God, the greatest Lover
So loved, the greatest amount
the world, the greatest number of people
That He gave, the greatest gift
His only begotten Son, the only perfect One (Jesus) who ever lived
that whoever, everyone, anyone
believes in Him, yup—its that simple
shall not perish, be eternally separated from God
but have everlasting life, be eternally present with glorious and all-powerful God
And might I add “shall not perish but have abundant life”, here and now, joy and peace, adventure and thrill, awe and wonder.
Christianity is like not one other religion in this world. It is the only religion in which salvation is completely and utterly FREE!! Despite what some of us have been taught (and I was too along the way), our works—the things we do, good or bad, the rituals we practice, the amount of times we go to church—are not what secure our salvation! Nothing in our own power can save us for eternity and abundant life. If you’ve lived your life thinking this way, doesn’t it make you feel insecure? Aren’t you always wondering if you’ll be good enough to “get in”?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” —Ephesians 2:8-9 (Emphasis mine.)
I’m not talking religion here. I’m not talking about being a church-goer. Not in the least! (Though, certainly go! Its an important part of it… but it’s not going to get you into heaven or in itself give you abundant life now!) I’m talking about being saved by the grace of God through putting your faith in Jesus.
Listen, if you would choose to simply accept God’s gift offered to every person that ever walked the planet, as simply as Jenning’s accepted Walt’s gift, you too, will have found what You’ve been looking for! And you will have a guaranteed, not a “what if” place in Heaven!
Listen to the Bible tell this same story for us:
THE PROBLEM: OUR SEPARATION
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”—Isaiah 59:2
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”—Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 6:23 (NIV)
Do you know that God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life – abundant and eternal. Because of our nature, we are separated from God; we disobey God and go our own way.
GOD’S BRIDGE: THE CROSS
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”—John 14:6
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, … he was buried, … he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”—1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Jesus Christ is the only answer to this problem. He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave. He paid the penalty for our sin, so we don’t have to. In this way, Jesus bridges the gap between God and people. THIS is what sets the God of Christianity apart from the god of any other religion!
OUR RESPONSE: RECEIVE CHRIST
“That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” —Romans 10:9
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”—John 1:12
We must trust Jesus Christ (believe or put our faith in Him and what He did for us) and receive Him into our hearts by our personal invitation.
How to Receive Jesus Christ
1. Admit your need for forgiveness and peace.
2. Be willing to turn from your sins, believing that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
3. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to forgive your sins & be your Savior.
Let today be the day that you reach out your hearts and accept the free gift that has been offered to you your whole life long. Listen, we can be just like the skeptical Hollings who decided Walt and the golden eggs didn’t exist. Just because they said they didn’t exist, didn’t mean it wasn’t so! They still did exist. Just because you or I might decide that Jesus isn’t alive nor did He die for us nor will believing in Him save us, doesn’t mean that it isn’t all so. Oh I pray today is the day, this Easter Sunday, that you would accept Jesus as your Savior.
It is simply by the grace of God that putting our faith in Jesus is “all it takes” to receive abundant and eternal life.
“Jesus said, ‘… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’” John 10:10
Ladies, gentlemen, children: don’t wait another day! Place your faith in Jesus today! It is truly a matter of life or death! I promise you, knowing even from my own experience, this is THE. SECRET. to the fulfilled life. He doesn’t just save us for eternity (which would have been enough), but He saves us for abundant life now. Not boring, restricted life, but abundant life! Isn’t that something you would like?
This is the very heart of why I wrote the book ya’all. I wanted to share the real message of Easter with each and everyone of you. I so desire for each of you to know this fulfillment and peace and joy and freedom! Today Jesus is alive!! and wants to begin a relationship with you!! The Creator of the heavens and the earth knows the number of hairs on your head and wants to begin a relationship with you! Hallelujah! God is not just out there and unreachable. But He’s relational! All of what He did for us by sending Jesus to die for us was about RELATIONSHIP. He put together a plan so that imperfect, impure humans could really and truly know perfect, holy God personally! Jesus was and is the plan. Jesus is the bridge that crosses that “great divide” between us and God and introduces us to a real relationship with Him!
If you have decided to put your faith in Jesus today, please let me know! I’d be thrilled to know! Oh I so hope you will! This is the heartbeat of my life, and I so desire it would be each of yours as well! As fast as you can, please plug yourself into a Bible teaching church for encouragement, growth, and accountability!
All my love, prayers, and blessings to each of you today! Happy Happy Happy Easter!
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” —John 8:12