Today, I meet Philip Yancey.
This is why this meant so much to me. He is one of the big reasons why I write.
I spent a period of 4 years mostly trapped between the four walls of my bedroom. No career, strained relationships, and fragmented links with church. Very few people cared or understood and I didn’t have a chance against my disease.
In those four years, a few people spoke the most to me. Of those years, one of them was Philip Yancey. I read 90% of his books. I took in every word, savored those ideas, and let those ideas bring a new dimension to Jesus and Grace. So he was one of those that spoke into my life when others would not. These words shaped me during my time of restoration. Meeting him is like meeting a spiritual mentor, almost like a father-figure. It reminds me of what it could be like when I meet Jesus face to face… just multiply by x 1000 or more.
Today, I stand so much stronger, with eyes that have stared into the Abyss, and saw Grace conquer it, transformed it.
In serendipity, I ended up spending a good 25 minutes with him. It happened like this. I was at Princeton’s Writer’s conference and I was sitting next to the main door of the building where we were to eat. A great contingent of people were coming in from another building. Automatically, I opened the door for them, and held it open for the whole 100 of them. Hence, I was the very last person. I also had all my luggage with me as I came late and straight from the airport. I had to find a place to store my luggage while everyone went to eat. So, by the time I went to the buffet line, I am the very very last person to come in.
I came with a certain fear and excitement. Will I get a chance to meet with Philip? What would I say? There are hundreds of people here, many should want to meet him…
Nevertheless, I went to the back of the buffet line, just texting my friends to tell them I was safely there. Texting, texting, texting.
I look up, and saw Philip Yancey at the back of the line with me!
We talked, laughed, discussed ideas. He heard my story, he encouraged me. What a great day. Another day in the life in my new adventure of faith.
2 years ago, there was so many difficulties. Today, I’m so thankful to be getting closer to the New Country. Having these meaningful experiences is part of that. Thank you Jesus.
Here’s one of my all time favorite lines from him:
Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more—no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries and divinity schools, no amount of crusading on behalf of righteous causes. And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less—no amount of racism or pride or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love.
– Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace
In the conference, I mention one takeaway. He said that writing is like quantum physics, your words allows us to be two places at once. We can impact other people who we would never have a chance to meet. This is one of the reasons why I write as well.