Sean and I are in the midst of attending a 3 day conference at our church put on by a man named Michael Cumbie. Last night we heard his history and conversion story. He is a former Protestant minister, was one for about 15 years, before he converted to Catholicism in 2001. What struck me as amazing last night as I listened and laughed (he’s quite witty and humorous) to this man’s story is his faith and trust in God. Here is a man who spent his formal education years in seminary, preparing to be a minister, and then ministered in various protestant churches before hearing the call to Rome. He couldn’t become a priest because he was a married man with 3 kids, but the man is gifted in the preaching department, and on top of that, he had no other degree in anything nor had he ever had any other type of job not affiliated with a church, and he was about 40 years old when his journey from the pulpit to parishioner really took off.
Why am I so amazed about this? Because this man followed Christ’s Will before his own. You know he had to have doubts. He was jobless for a LONG time. His family was on government aide, living in government housing for some time. What a strong, godly wife he must have to follow him during this time! And this man desired to preach the Word. He could not imagine going from being a minister for so long to being the anonymous guy sitting in the third pew with his family. Still, he wanted to do God’s Will. To make a long story short, he has been traveling around the country for the past 5 years preaching Christ’s story and his own to various Catholic Churches and organizations. He doesn’t charge anything for his talks, only takes donations, and he and his family are doing well, not Joel Osteen well, but BETTER!
A great story about trusting our Father that he told when laying it out for us last night:
There was once this little girl who was such a daddy’s girl! She just loved her daddy more than anyone in the world. On her 5th birthday, her daddy presented her with a strand of plastic, colorful beads. The little girl loved the necklace so! It was her favorite gift. She wore the necklace every day and slept with it tucked under her pillow each night. A few weeks after getting the gift, her dad came into her room to tuck her in for bed, as he had done every night since she could remember. On this night, before turning the lights out and leaving, the daddy asked his daughter if she would give the necklace back to him. “Give it back? But I love the necklace so much, Daddy,” she pleaded. Still, he persisted that she give it back to him. She just couldn’t imagine. It would be too hard, so she refused. Her daddy kissed her goodnight, turned the lights off and shut the door without getting the necklace back. Each day the daughter continued to wear and treasure the necklace, and each night she would place it under her pillow for safe keeping. Still, each night her daddy would come in to tuck her into bed and would ask for the necklace back, but she would always refuse to hand it over.
Months went by like this. Finally one night when the father asked for the little girl to give him the plastic necklace back, she reached her small hand under her pillow, pulled the necklace out, and reluctantly handed it over to her father. Her father put the plastic necklace in his pocket, then went into his other pocket and pulled out a genuine strand of pearls to replace the plastic beaded one he had taken from his daughter. The little girl’s heart was filled with joy. What a treasure she had received for being an obedient daughter!
This little story and just hearing about this man’s conversion last night has really got me thinking: What plastic beaded necklaces am I holding onto in my life when if I would just TRUST HIM, I could exchange them for strands of pearls?
TRUSTING CHRIST is such a hard thing when I treasure what I already hold and am convinced that it can’t get any better. Doubts and fears have clouded my head before when I have struggled with doing HIS WILL. Still, every time I listen, the clouds dissipate, and my God has never failed to reward me with something better than what I could have ever hoped for myself.
So I’m looking forward to these next two nights listening to this man, Michael Cumbie.