Wednesday, February 27, 2013

chapter 7 lisa

Enrique tried to be careful with the friends with whom he now spent time. Along with his Christian friends, Enrique still hung out with Jorge. He was a good friend. He was like a brother to Enrique. They had attended Jesuit School together. Enrique was close to Jorge's father and had spent many days at a time in Jorge's home when they were younger. Jorge had been a good student and he was now in business with his father.

His cousin was visiting from Spain and had a girlfriend who was staying at a cabana (beach house). Jorge suggested that they go with his cousin to visit her. They arrived to lots of activity. His cousin’s girlfriend was there chaperoning several of her younger sister's friends who were celebrating their graduation from high school. One of those friends immediately caught Enrique’s eye, and not only because she was the only Gringo (an American). She was tall and gorgeous. Enrique liked the sound of her voice. He really liked her laugh. He went over to talk with her. Her eyes lit up. He kept returning to talk to her. He was pretty sure if he asked her out she would agree. He wondered if this was a good thing to do, but he asked anyway.   

Shortly after first date he got right to the point. “I’m a Christian,” he told her. “I don’t think it’s really right for a Christian to go out with someone who is not a Christian.”

Lisa was bewildered. She was a Christian. Her family went to an Episcopal Church. They believed in God. They were solid people and their morals were high. He told her about his church. He asked her to come with him next Sunday. No guy had ever asked her to do that before. She agreed.

When he picked her up, Lisa was looking good, really good. She had on a new dress. She was wearing high heels. She had a look of youth and of vibrancy. When they walked into the meeting, the ladies had their hair up in buns, and mantillas or modest hats covered their heads. People spoke quietly and reverently between meetings. The church had little cups of Kool-aid for during their break time. What was going on here? Lisa wanted to know. Was he into some kind of a Jim Jones type of cult?

But she kept coming to church with him. Many times when the Beers family had Enrique over for lunch, Lisa came too. She liked the people and they liked her. She was impressed with the reality of their worship and their love for the Lord Jesus.

Enrique felt something for Lisa that he had never felt towards a woman before. They dated for three years. They would break up, but neither could stand being apart, so they kept getting back together. One day Lisa was in a serious car accident. She was knocked unconscious. Her mother was with her when she started coming to. Lisa kept calling out, “Where’s Henry? Where’s Henry?" (Henry is the English name for Enrique).

Lisa’s mom wondered. She called up Henry. “Are you secretly married to her?” she asked.

During these three years, Enrique—or Henry—moved slowly, steadily towards living in two distinct worlds. Just as when he was a boy, Henry lived within the Cuban world at home and the American world at school; now he lived both in the church world and the world of a fun loving young American Cuban man. He learned as a boy how to keep his two worlds separate. He did the same now.

Henry was tall and muscular. Henry was hired as a bouncer by a big promotional company for rock concerts. He loved music. He was paid to be at the concerts for security for these rock stars. He was in demand as a bouncer so he could be selective. There was not a big name band that came to Miami that Henry was not at their concert, or on their stage, or in their rooms. If any trouble arose, Henry would take care of it. He loved doing that too. Nobody messed with Henry.

Henry understood the taboos his new church had on smoking, drinking, dancing, and going to shows. Not a hint was given to his church friends of what his world was like outside of their assembly lives.

Not long after Henry starting going out with Lisa, Bob Beers’ son died in a tragic accident. He was only 16. Henry had been to many funerals. He had never been to one like this before. Henry came to the funeral expecting to see the agonizing displays of grief that were common with Cubans. He was ready to see the indescribable pain displayed by women holding onto the casket, wailing and refusing to let go. He expected to see his good friend Bob Beers folded up into a cocoon of quiet grief.

Instead, Bob was the one who prayed at his son’s funeral. He thanked the Lord for giving him and his wife Betty 16 years with their son. He praised God for His kindness for each of the 16 years. He said he understood that each of those years on earth was only a temporary gift. Then he worshiped the Lord. "I thank Thee Father, for the wonder that You gave up Your only Son, so that I might have mine in Glory for all of eternity."

Bob continued in his prayer, “if only one person comes to know the Lord Jesus as their own personal Savior, then my son’s death will be more than worth it, as much it hurts now.”

A preacher got up and explained the Passover lamb. God’s wrath had sent the avenging angel through Egypt to kill every first born son. “But God provided a lamb to be sacrificed so the shed blood could be applied to the lintel and the two door posts. When the avenging angel came, when God saw the blood, he would pass over those who were in the houses under the blood. On the basis of the blood they were saved from the awful wrath of God.”

The preacher quoted John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.” He quoted I John 1:7, “For the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

He then asked those who were at thefuneral, “Are you under the blood? Have you ever gotten under the blood?" He implored, "If you've never gotten under the blood, do so right now! Receive Jesus Christ, God's Son, to save you from the wrath of God. Come today. Come under the blood that you might be saved.”

For the first time Lisa saw herself as outside the protection of the blood. She realized she needed Christ to be saved. And on that day, at that very moment, she put herself under the blood.

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