On September 16, 1991, the space shuttle Discovery dodged a chunk of a Soviet Cosmos rocket. It came within 10 miles of the van-sized debris. If Discovery had not changed its orbit, it would have been so close a call that it would have been yet another tragedy for our then active space program. Mission commander John Creighton said it was “very simple” to maneuver, but absolutely vital to ensure the crew’s survival.
When I mention “conversion” in a spiritual context, what do you think about? Following his mention of Elijah’s exemplary prayer life, James ends with a big dose of encouragement. James uses the word translated “convert” or “bring back.” It is an active word, meaning we cause one to change his or her belief or course of conduct, with a focus on that one then turning in the right direction. The end result, conversion, is the state of their having done that.
To me, it is a blessing to see somebody back in attendance and being involved after they have been away from the Lord and His church. It would be better for a brother or sister to never fall away, but it is definitely a joy to see one have the determination and courage to come back home.
Doesn’t heaven view it the same way? Jesus says in one of the “lost parables,” “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7). In conversion, one is changing what their life is orbiting. It is no longer sin and self, but God. What a blessing to see someone go from a path of destruction to the way of life! May this perspective drive our actions in reaching out to our “erring brethren.”