Sam entered high school eager to find acceptance. He had never been popular in school, but his friends were, and they all had girlfriends. Even the thought of a girlfriend seemed light years away. He had little hope of fitting in.
In a quest to belong he spent Friday nights with friends drinking contraband liquor obtained from a bootlegger. Every Friday night, he returned home and sought to silence the conviction of his sins with excuses. “I know you don’t like it,” he prayed, “but this is the only way for me to attract a girlfriend.”
One Friday night, Sam lay on his bed offering up his usual excuses when God answered. “You need to choose. Are you going to follow me or follow your friends?”
“I am going to follow you.”
Then he heard God say, “Don’t drink anymore.”
The following Friday Sam learned that friendships are built on shared values. He went out with his friends as usual.
“What do you want to drink tonight,” they asked.
“I don’t want anything.”
They stared at the alien among them in silence.
“I don’t want anything, and I don’t want to talk about it,” said Sam.
“You have to talk about it,” his friends insisted. “You started this and now you don’t want anything!”
“If you have to know, last Friday night God told me to choose him or this. I chose him, but I can still hang out with you. I just can’t put a drop of liquor in my mouth.”
Sam’s explanation failed to satisfy his friends. They threw him out of their clique.
During the winter, Sam’s family sold firewood. After school he worked for the family business splitting wood. One of their clients owned a wood burning stove business. His father usually made deliveries to the client, but had other matters to attend to and sent Sam in his place.
Angie, the client’s daughter, was working outside when Sam arrived and began stacking wood. She ran inside to find her mother. “Who is that good looking guy?”
“I don’t know,” her mother smiled. “Go see if you can help him.”
Sam looked into the face of the beautiful blond who interrupted his labor. From their first conversation he knew his life would never be the same.
“I don’t know if I could have kept my commitment to follow God without her. She filled the void in my life. We spent a lot of time together, encouraging and strengthening each other in our shared faith. She became the love of my life. We dated for two years, and married when I was nineteen.”