David Yutzy is an Amish man about 70 years old or around that, I would say. About 3 years ago, Debi Pearl assisted me on a trip to Mexico for stem cell treatments. She was my wheelchair pusher, my third arm, and my faithful confidant. One fine misty Mexico morning, Debi took my arm and assisted me to the second floor of the doctor's office. We came into a room filled with Amish men taking treatments by IV. David Yutzy was sitting right across from me. We introduced ourselves and David knew of the Pearls ministry. He knew that Debi was a writer alongside Michael, her husband. After the informal introduction, David started quizzing Deb about her community and lifestyle. Every opportunity Deb had, she would share the truth of Jesus with him. It was something so exciting to me. She had an answer, a quick one, for each and every sneering question after another. The questions seemed to hold a snare, but Deb was quick and sharp. She could not be snared.
One thing he said rings in my mind. The echo of it resonates deep in my heart. He sat there and said, "I think of salvation this way...a 50/50 chance."
Deb, without hesitation said to this man who seemed very confident, "You are 50% sure you are good enough, Erin and I are 100% sure we are not. That is where we differ, sir."
He continued, "Jesus is the saving captain of the ship, but I have to row it to shore."
She followed, "You row while we cling to our savior." Then she needed to go into an office room to get her teeth worked on. I was left there with David. I found out that he used to be neighbors with a family from Bonduel where we live. So happens that we are very familiar with that family, they are the family that we often butcher with. This got his complete attention. He wondered how I knew the Bontrager clan and I shared my stories about that. I could not share that until I shared my entire life story because we were just sitting there and time was of no effect to us. We could be sitting there all day, I thought, so why not start from the beginning. Needless to say, my story got this poor fellow crying. How someone could have had so many things happen in one lifetime, one short lifetime. How all those things could bring salvation, an understanding of grace that I did not learn from years of sitting in a church Sunday after Sunday. How I could truly love Jesus and continue to pursue His path of righteousness even though I was not born with it. I knew that Deb and I met this man for a special purpose. I got to share how my faith was in Jesus alone, how it was not by my blood, church, or by my actions. Jesus took a woman who was completely broken and made her into something that she was not-a joy filled child of God. My works are not effectual in my salvation, they are only evidence of that faith. See, the Amish confuse that line. They truly believe that, yes, it is by grace that we are saved not of our works, but the works are also necessary in our salvation. I trust in the finished work on the cross. Faith without works is dead, I do agree with that. The works are there to confirm that transformation of heart. They are not there to add to the work of Christ. No one could add to it, because it is finished. Sadly, this is a muddy subject. On one hand, you have people who say: Faith, faith! and they forget works altogether. They seem to talk the talk but can't walk the walk. It is dead as well without the fruit that meets repentance. Then the other side of the spectrum would say: Work, Works! not denying the presence of faith, but the works are the predominant force. Anytime we think we can somehow add to what Jesus did, we are also saying "He owes me! I have done this for His kingdom, I have sacrificed that for Christ, I have given X amount of tithe each month, I have helped this one or that one, I have read my bible every morning, I have been faithful, I have served at this ministry or that church, I have attended church, I have said this prayer or that prayer, where is my blessing???" In effect when we say these things, we are also saying that God owes us for our works. No He does not. He owes us nothing. Every good thing we see, or have, or know, is from the hand of God. It is icing on the cake. If all we obtain is mercy in life, that is everything. We owe our entire life to Him. God owes us nothing at all! We live to serve Him because we are thankful, overflowing with mercy that we have obtained. We choose to show that same love and mercy to our fellow man. When we accept God's plan of salvation and trust in that alone, we are obtaining a precious piece of himself in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We no longer have just our mind, body, and spirit, we have another spirit. The spirit of the Living God that takes a hold of our heart. We no longer are alone, we have that comforter. We have the strength to go on when life seems to be at a standstill, we have courage to fight for what is right, the boldness, the joy we could not understand even when all seems to be failed, the temperance, the ability to overcome evil and temptation, and the willingness to love our enemies. Only true faith can produce those kind of works. The fruits of the spirit. I explained this to David in the best way I knew how. Later Deb saw David again. Again he had a question for Deb about their ministry. She said they minister to the abusers like people in prisons, and to the abused, people just like Erin. Again, David wept. This time it must have brought everything to light for him in his understanding of what we stood for.
On this past Saturday, David Yutzy came from Iowa, and his desire was to also talk with me again. I was not sure what to expect, was he still at 50%? How could I convince him, or rather, why would he call on me? So many things I had prepared to say, but nothing could prepare me for what I was to encounter. I drove my van over to Ezra's where David was staying, as I just sang a song of praise, and prayed the Lord would guide my words. I sat next to a changed, faith filled man! He told me how our meeting in Mexico really made an impression. He told many others about my stories. I felt like we were on the same page. Like kindred spirits. His wife had died more recently but the hope that man had in his eyes, was a hope that only true faith could understand. He was very intrigued and captivated about our plain lifestyle that we chose. How we do many of the homesteading things that we have learned from the Amish. He smiled as I told him how I made the dress I was wearing on a treadle sewing machine, how we teach our children to work with horses, how to milk the family cow, and how much they love to be a part of this community life. I told him about our situation in Amishland, how we have a hard time fitting in, and he was saddened by it. He could see how changed the gospel has made me, and how stagnant some of the Amish have become. They have their dress, their culture, their church, but he could plainly see, without being born again, it is all vain. Please continue to pray for our neighbors. For the families that have also found this faith and for their hard journey ahead. They endeavor to be a light in the darkness. It is a fight for the truth of the Gospel. Also pray that more of the Amish could find that same faith in Christ's blood alone. All things are possible. I truly can see that. If God could do a work with me, He can do it with anyone.
Walking in faith is sometimes walking in total darkness, blindness. For faith is the evidence of things not seen. It is hard to walk when we can not see what lies ahead. We must keep walking even when we are unsure of where that path leads. It is all possible when we stay focussed on our loving savior, holding His hand all along the way. As Debi said, "Clinging to our savior!" He will keep us from falling, and from failing. He will draw us out of the valleys and into his glory! "Come all ye who labor, and I will give you rest"