You can find this story in the new book, Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story, by Charles and Janet Morris—released by Moody Publishers in March 2014. And make sure to hear Peter tell his own story on Haven Today.
I will never forget that morning.
I’d gotten up early to pray and Jesus had shown himself to me in that breathtaking way he has. I wasn’t seeing him with my physical eyes, but I was still seeing him with a special sort of clarity when our 17-year-old son Peter stumbled into the living room and sat down in a heap of dejection.
Just that week, he’d told me he was no longer a Christian. I now knew for a fact what I’d been suspecting and worrying about for a long time—Peter wasn’t seeing what I was seeing.
It was like there were some rods and cones missing from his eyes. As he sat there bleary eyed with sleep, I knew we were occupying two entirely different worlds and it broke my heart.
Years passed and we continued on our different journeys, mine upward, Peter’s downward until he hit his nadir. After graduating from high school and studying for a year at a local university, Peter left home to hang out with some friends in Portland, Oregon. Eventually he ended up living with a girlfriend in her uncle’s home.
One night we got a call from the uncle. He’d just discovered that both his niece and our son were using drugs and wanted to know what he should do about it. Charles told him to give them a choice—they either went into a detox that very day or they were out on the street.
Thankfully, they chose detox. We packed our bags and started driving up the West Coast while our daughter Kate headed over the Cascades from where she and her family lived in eastern Washington. Kate got there first. She’d made up her mind that Peter was going to accept Jesus as his Savior whether he liked it or not. After they talked awhile, she made her fighting pitch: “Jesus is he only answer. You have to accept him as your Savior right now.” Peter looked at her and said, “I did, Katie last night. I asked him to give me a new life.”
Charles and I got there the next day and I will never forget that morning either.
Even though he was shaky and weak from detoxing, Peter clearly had the rods and the cones in his eyes. He was alive and he was seeing Jesus.
This story of the blind man receiving sight ends well. Peter and his wife Katrina are now heading off next year to serve as missionaries in Peru.
Jesus has to be alive because there’s no other explanation for Peter’s abrupt aboutface and the radically transformed lives of so many other former pagans.
In subsequent years, while Peter was studying in seminary, he read the works of a church father by the name of Athanasius and suggested we read him too. Among other things, Athanasius wrote a defense of the reality of the resurrection where he argued that Jesus changes lives. What he said in the fourth century is just as true now, all these centuries later:
“Look at the facts of the case. The Savior is working mightily among men, every day. He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world to accept his faith and be obedient to his teaching. Can anyone in the face of this still doubt that he has risen and lives … ? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men so they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ? If he is no longer active in the world … how is it that he makes the adulterer [cease] from his adultery, the murderer from murdering …? This is the work of one who lives, not of the dead; and more than that, it is the work of God.”
Janet Morris is a mother of three, a grandmother of three, and wife to Charles Morris, the speaker and president of Haven Ministries. She helps write the programs for Haven Today, has co-authored two books—Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life—and is also a women’s Bible study teacher and leader. Her third book, Missing Jesus, Find Your Life in His Great Story, comes out March 1. Janet confesses that she also drinks one pot of Chai tea a day, talks to her dog, and is close friends with C.S. Lewis. But most of all, she needs Jesus every day.