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Who Would Have Thought…?

Photo by: Martin Kimeldorf

National Public Radio’s StoryCorp has just released a wonderful story told by a grandfather to his two granddaughters. (NPR Link)

According to attorney Martin Levin, while in college back in he 1930s, he met a fellow student who in his words was, “the most obnoxious, most difficult, and most awful person I’ve ever met in my life…”

As Levin tells his story, this young woman went out of her way to cause trouble for him. When he ran for president of the student body, she helped defeat him.

Levin, goes on to say, undoubtedly with a twinkle in his eye… “I hated her. So, I married her. That was the only way to get back at her.”

The marriage lasted for 67 years.

At this point one of Martin’s granddaughters asks him, “What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?”

Mr. Levin responds, “Deal with grief…That’s hard for me. I had a relationship with my wife that was so complete, that we did everything together. And so, when she died, I found a big vacuum of time open.”

The StoryCorp feature goes on to end with the kind of humor and upbeat optimism that will bring a smile to many faces.

As I’ve thought about this story, it occurs to me that I’ve just heard a wonderful illustration of the ability of love to overcome conflict and contempt.

At this point my mind jumps to a much older story. I recall what a Rabbi from Nazareth said about a Roman military officer who came to him asking help for a friend (Luke 7:1-9). Jesus indicated that he saw more faith in this Roman soldier than he had seen in the religious community of Israel.

Sometimes those of us who know we should be the first to show the kind of faith that overcomes doubt…and the kind of love that overcomes hatred… are brought up short by the kind of faith and love we see in those outside of ourselves…

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43 Responses to “Who Would Have Thought…?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Paul said it well when he said we are at war; at war against what he termed the flesh. It is as reported a war against both the flesh and the spirit world.

    It is a war that will not end until Christ returns and God takes away the adversary. We can never truly rest from the battles until then, or our departure from this world to the presence of God.

    As it is with any war, sometimes we win battles sometime we don’t. We need not beat ourselves up too much when we fail, but rather learn and grow so as not to be defeated in that arena again.

    For me so goes life, back and forth the battle rages with in me and around me. I can be armed with God’s armor, I can use all of the weapons at my disposal and still every once in a while I fail. God doesn’t fail, it is I that fail.

    Thanks be to God that He doesn’t condemn me for being human, but rather love me as a child. Because I have surrendered to His Son He has taken me into His family and will nurture me throughout my lifetime and in the fullness of my life…He will give me rest. As the war itself was already won at the cross.

    40 degrees this morning, it feels good.


  2. oneg2dblu says:

    steve… well said…Yes, the war was won at the cross, and we all thank God! But for us today, the battles rage on daily for those who show their support, their alligience, for the King and His Kingdom. Against us, are the rulers of the world of evil, who target every Warrior for God, we had better be ready daily to defend against this daily onslaught of the enemie’s very cunning attempts, at separting us, and weakening us, causing even the King’s most valued men to doubt, by using Satan’s persuavsive and corrupting words and ways, to undermine the Kings Army of Believers. We all know that we are vuneralbe to the living in this world, and ever challeged to still be not of it!
    82 decrees this morning already, as I’m leaving late for a row on the river. Gary

  3. BruceC says:


    Tis truly amazing how our God works. Just read today’s Daily Strength on RBC and I fully agree with it. No such thing as coincidence or luck or fate. It isn’t a coincidence that you brought warfare as I was thinking about it a lot this week. Have been watching Turning Point with David Jeremiah tha last few weeks and his series is on spiritual warfare.
    You are right we all fail at times. Either we fail to put on the entire suit of armor in our hurried lives or forget to put on a certain piece of it. Or we don’t put it on rightly or use it properly and the enemy finds a way to wound us.
    Satan is like the propaganda specialist from the movie “Enemy at the Gates”; about the battle for Stalingrad. The Nazis using the loudspeakers to demoralize the Red Army and convince them to surrender and quit fighting. Satan uses those same tactics against the children of God all the time and we must watchful all the time.

    You are correct. Sometimes the unsaved can seem more upbeat than the children of God and it shouldn’t be so.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  4. InHisHands says:

    Good morning BTA friends. I have been reading the comments, but not able to compose any concise thoughts, so I just keep reading.

    Have been praying for you all and am grateful to know you keep me and my family in prayer.

    In agreement with what I have read, so far. The worldly saying, “the best defense is a good offense,” can be true for militant battles, but the LORD seems to have given us a better weapon, “the best defense is love, care, giving of self,” a great defuser. As in Matthew, …if our enemy asks us to walk a mile with him, walk twain… all the while sharing the blessings that God has bestowed on us. Give them food for thought.

    It is 62 F here – and breezy. Much cooler than we are used to on our spring mornings.

    We are having a ‘rat’ problem and are saddened that one of our ‘morning doves’ suffered from the poison we had to put out. Anyone have a good suggestion on how to get rid of them without harming the other little creatures?

  5. poohpity says:

    Mart, that NPR story was wonderful and brought a big smile to my face. Thanks for sharing it.

    A roman soldier with such faith who would of thought but with the Lord a lot of things are different than we would of thought. He asks us to treat even our enemies with compassion, love and care. “Who would have thought?”

  6. poohpity says:

    I have a cat I will send you, InHisHands. :-)

  7. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… don’t forget to put holes in the package, so it can breath! :)

  8. nezzar says:

    off the topic, but thanks for the prayers. I know at least one of you prayed for me about a post on another topic, because I’ve become good acquaintances with the annoying person that I was having a hard time loving as God would want. Now there is an even more annoying person talking to me. Where do they all come from? Does God have a warehouse somewhere filled with annoying people that He’s prepared to shuvel at us when we pray for move love in our lives? Obviously I need more prayer.

    BTW I think we are all annoying and unloved. The people that need to be loved have been there the whole time. It’s just that when we pray for more love in our lives Jesus opens our eyes to see them. Someone has to start loving the people around us. So why don’t we?

  9. SFDBWV says:

    InHisHands, not knowing what your topography is I don’t know if you can see the rat holes or you are able to see the rats. Southern States or any farm equipment dealers’ sells rat poison that comes in small cubes you can either put them into the rat holes or place them strategically as to allow them to feed. I can’t imagine doves eating these blocks of poison.

    I live in a semi country setting so my 22 rifle does the trick when ever I see any rats trying to move in. A good pellet gun can also kill rats.

    One of the ways to get rid of rats is to not have habitat they are likely to nest in. However getting rid of them completely is an elusive task.

    Cats would kill more of the doves then the rats. Unless you only were to let the cat out at night, then the cat is in danger of mixing it up with raccoons or opossums or skunks, all of which carry rabies.

    You can also buy rat traps, but they need to be anchored off so the rat once caught can’t drag them off, use bacon tied to the trip mechanism.

    In a hurry but I hope you can use some of my suggestions.


  10. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Mart, I enjoyed hearing Martin Levin’s story on Story Corps. You’re right in asking, “Who would’ve thought?” Can’t believe that Mr. Levin wanted to marry the lady who was SO mean to him! It’s even more unbelieveable that she accepted his marriage proposal. Wondering if they at least had a civil conversation before he popped the question? I’ve heard of “love at first sight” but never “hate at first sight!” lol! Mr. Levin had to have a lot of “hudspa” to want to marry someone who treated him so unkindly. This is an excellent story on the ability of love to overcome conflict and contempt.

    I know this is how Jesus would want us to respond when we encounter people who dislike us for no apparent reason. It’s definitely how I would want to respond to someone who acted hateful and malicious towards me. Was
    also wondering why Mr. Levin did the story for Story Corps with his granddaughters instead of doing it with his children (or child)? To answer my own question, maybe they had already heard the story.

    Sunny and warm in Texas today (99 degrees right now).


  11. SFDBWV says:

    There are several subjects in Mart’s story; a story of marital love, a story of personality conflicts, a story of grief, and a story of how we react to all of them as people and especially as Christians.

    It is strange how we are able to live on and not go insane when we deal with grief. Though for some that is the result of their not being able to face and live with a broken heart.

    I have actually known people who have died from just that, a broken heart, having lost all will to live they just wither and die.

    Our friends who are not Christian somehow expect we Christians to handle grief better, but the pain is the same.

    What is worse is we think somehow we should handle the grief better and feel guilty because we don’t.

    What is a fact is that Christ gives us supernatural strength and supernatural ability to weather the storms of grieving and still allows us from time to time to smile and even laugh, I would suppose because our broken hearts are stitched together with His eternal hope.

    I hope whoever you are and where ever you are today, you are not grieving but are filled with that joy that surpasses understanding, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    39 degrees this morning….I love it.


  12. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, you wrote:”Our friends who are not Christian somehow expect we Christians to handle grief better, but the pain is the same.”
    What I am learning is to see my grief, and share it with Christ, He says:gibe all your worries to me. How difficult that is, I keep it to myzelf, want to share my grief with others, many times they do not understand, while all the while Jesus is right next to me, He walks beside me, He wants me to open my heart to Him. lay all these burdens in His arms. He does not mend the problems, He carries the burden. That is the lesson I have to learn.
    Last night I went inot our town, there is a musical festival here, in all area’s music bands, people walk around. I got very sad at all the worldly and fleshly atmosphere. Joy without God. I couldn’t share it with anyone, they would think me from another planet. As probalby I am. It took me a while until I started to tell it to Jesus. And it ended me praying: Have mercy on this city, have mercy with these people, they do not know what they are searching for. Open their hearts for You.

    Today we are going during the afternoon, the bad atmosphere comes late at night.

  13. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Steve – thanks so much for your words this morning. I have been having a tough time lately and God used your message to speak to my heart. “…for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

    Foreverblessed – you are right, “He does not mend the problems, He carries the burden.”

  14. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh….In the past, my questions directed to you have gone unanswered. Which really means, maybe it is you, who are seeking the control. So I’ll pass on your loving request. Even though, I’m sure your response would be a most loving one, and forgiving as well.
    Like a Job if you will! :)
    Remember, my dear Sister in Christ, I chose to take,
    40 Days of Fasting, an some others unfortunately have left permanently. I choose a fast to aviod this type of continual worldly driven exchange. I wept like a child to My Lord for the position I found myself engaging in. Worldly Defense! For now, I choose to “not further” that type of exchange, which I know you would agree, really should not go on, on this type of site! Gary

  15. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… sounds like you suffer from the renewing of the mind. It proves one thing, if nothing changes, nothing changes. If we stayed exactly the same after our conversion and growth in Our Lord, something would be very wrong.
    “This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Gary

  16. oneg2dblu says:

    nezzar… your question about loving the people around us, “Why Don’t We?”
    We do… but in our own strength, and that is where we will always come up short!
    Keeping it real, as you say, and using our own words instead of constantly quoting the scriptures, is what opens you up to having the scriptures show through. We just can’t constantly hide behind chapter and verse, and expect others to see who we really are. We are to be, Salt and Light, not a bunch of verses. Unless, we only to speak with a biblical voice! Gary

  17. poohpity says:

    Right again Gary. I do have control issues. God has not finished His work in me yet. I was just wondering if you have a mirror in your home?

  18. poohpity says:

    I know being a school bus driver one is trained to look in the mirrors at what is going on outside the bus and keeping the children out of harm by keeping an eye on them at all times but could it be possible that it has ruined the ability to look into your spiritual mirrors at your reflection.

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I do have mirrors at home. Yes,I do use the mirrors on my bus as well. But, I do not drive my children to school focused on that rear view mirror. Although, as you say, I am trained to constantly scan all my mirrors. Actually, the bus I’m driving this summer is a type that has its mirror placement as a deficit to my abilty to see as well as I would like, because they get in the way, and this bus has huge blindspots caused by those very mirrors. So, focussing on one mirror would be as disasterous, as looking in the mirror at home all the time. It would put the focus on me, and that probably would not serve me well,or Christ either!
    Now, those spiritual mirrors sound quite interesting.
    Are they used to look back, or to help one move on?
    When I think of a spiritual mirror, I think it would help us both to move on! But, that is only what I see, in “my” spiritual mirror. :)

  20. oneg2dblu says:

    P.S. All humans have control issues, were human, except for those times when we are blessed to allow Christ to control us instead. There is no issue, or law, against allowing Him to control us. Surrender through repentance, is our only option to bring about this blessed change. If we deny Him, He denies us!

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… your final statement about, being brought up short, by the love and faith we see in others around us, is so very reflective.
    It rings of you are what you eat, or you become who you hang with! For sure, others showing thier love, or their hatred, does rub off on us. If we hang with Christ… instead of Christian’s, while not forsaking the meeting of the saints of course, wouldn’t we be better at showing the rest of world, the Truth, the Light,and the WAY? Our do these modern social clubs, or denominations if you will, instead, become our stubbling block, and in our way?
    Just a thought…. Gary

  22. Marjorie says:

    Martin Levin and his wife Marcia sound like a great example of iron sharpening iron. We have seen some of that in the comments on the last topic. Hopefully, we can learn to appreciate each other in the same way that Martin and Marcia did. I am 65 years old, and when I was a child, my mother listened to the radio program and received Our Daily Bread by mail each month. At 27 years, I finally trusted in Christ. At long last, I am learning to speak up after always having hung back and swallowed my tongue so I have very little practice at expressing myself in a sensitive way. Please be patient with me. Thank you, foreverblessed and poohpity, for encouraging me to stay. Recently, I have had more time on my hands and there will be even more after June 6th because of major surgery so I will be able to read and post sometimes. God bless you all.

  23. poohpity says:

    Marjorie, I am so glad you are staying. I have been so blessed by your comments which show how beautiful your heart is.

  24. poohpity says:

    I will also be praying for your surgery to go well. Keep us posted.

  25. Marjorie says:

    Thank you for your prayers, poohpity. Admittedly, I am nervous about it since I have never had major surgery before.

  26. poohpity says:

    I can understand the nerves. What kind of surgery are you having?

  27. Marjorie says:

    oneg2dblu, I am a school bus driver too so I know what you mean about scanning the various mirrors. One will tell you what another will not. Maybe like becoming grounded and well-rounded in the word as a whole with the goal of reaching spiritual maturity. By the way, nezzar need not be afraid of using Bible verses in his conversation and witness. Without a faith based on God’s provision for our salvation and His promises to us, we are not going to be salt and light to a world dying in their sins. We simply need to use the right verse at the right time. Reasoning with a person will never give them faith in Christ. God’s word will.

  28. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I read Marts Post a couple of days ago and could not think of anything to say.
    As always it is 6:30am on Sunday and I am just off to work after my two days off, then church etc.
    I always get a thought when I have little time to write it down. Anyway:

    The story above talked about two people loving each other even when their first instinct was one of irritation with each other.
    I have found in life, in both my sexual preferences and in Jesus, that it is those who are insecure about themselves that complain the most and make the most noise.
    Homophobic men usally have doubts about their sexualality and make a fuss if there behaviour is questioned. Those who know who they are can take any comment on the chin and laugh it off.
    The same applies when we love someone that we may not agree with, it can annoy and frustrate us to a point where we hit out at them, when in reality we want to hug them.
    People who know deep inside they need something or someone, Jesus, tend to hit out at the very thing they are searching for.
    That is why we should love all those who “pretend” to hate us because, in reality, they need a big hug from Jesus who lives in us.
    Many People fear what they do not understand, it is up to us to show them the love and character of Jesus through our lives and behavour so that they can see there is nothing to fear in Him.
    Jesus said he came to bring Peace and Love and Joy to the world.


  29. royalpalm says:

    Mart, your illustration of love, of the Levins and especially the Roman centurion for his servant has made me thinking…

    During that time servants did not have rights and were considered disposable property.Yet, the centurion, a man of authority and a Gentile, was willing to humble himself and cross cultural barriers to ask for help in behalf of his servant- from a Jew.

    His great faith in the power and authority of Jesus brought healing to his servant and the commendation of our Lord, ““I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Luke 7:9

    During Jesus’ ministry he praised only two people for their great faith – this centurion and the Canaanite woman whose daughter was healed of demon possession (Matt. 15:21-28). Both were Gentiles. And as you said,

    Sometimes those of us who know we should be the first to show the kind of faith that overcomes doubt…and the kind of love that overcomes hatred… are brought up short by the kind of faith and love we see in those outside of

    Perhaps, like the Jews during those times,who rejected Jesus despite what Paul said in Romans 9:4,5 “to whom
    pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God”…

    we, who profess to know the Lord, also take things for granted. We have not taken advantage of our direct access to the throne of grace of God for help for ourselves and in behalf on those who do not have that privilege. We take for granted the power of the Holy Spirit “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” Eph. 3:20 to accomplish His work of loving and saving others through us. We forget that it is our unbelief that prevents God from accomplishing His work in us.

    As Matthew 13:58 wrote of Jesus regarding Nazareth, “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

  30. SFDBWV says:

    In reading on this morning on our conversation, it does please me, Tracey, that you were blessed by my comments. Thank you for your reply.

    When I think of grief or anyone’s broken heart it always takes me to Isaiah 61: 1 and Jesus’ announcement of the fulfillment of this statement in Luke 4: 18-21.

    “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” “ This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

    This statement from Jesus so angered the people of His home town that they wanted to kill Him right then and there.

    Jesus upset people every where He spoke. Yet there were also people every where He spoke that were forever changed into children of God and better human beings.

    His words transcended cultures and language, racial barriers and prejudices and placed His followers into a melting pot of peoples. The people whom He had the most difficulty with where those who actually thought they were doing God a service by attempting to counter His teaching.

    Anger so intense that they killed the author of life in an attempt to satisfy their hate.

    As expressed in Mart’s little story, love has a power over anger and hate, sometimes it takes effort and work and patience and even suffering for it to finally win, but I am certain love wins after all.

    Rain this morning and a cool 60 degrees.


  31. Marjorie says:

    Bob in Cornwall England, we are to love the sinner while hating sin. It’s not always easy but by God’s grace it is possible or we would hate ourselves as well.

  32. oneg2dblu says:

    Marjorie… thanks for your wise words. I do agree sharing a specific scripture, and at the right time, is a most powerful way the witness. Yes, the goal of all disciples, all who are called, is to continue growing in the Lord, and maturing in the faith. For sure, with-out the provision and promises of God, our witness would be more about us, and rather useless. But, God can use even the most immature believer, with the smallest of faith, to bring about His Plan.
    “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Gary

  33. Marjorie says:

    poohpity, it is female stuff. Shshsh!

  34. poohpity says:


  35. poohpity says:

    Jesus seemed to be confronting the religious community often about the views they held that differed greatly from what He was teaching and the show of the faith of the Roman officer was not different. (Matt 8:11-12) The religious leaders fit into what Solomon taught in Proverbs about wisdom. (Proverbs 9:7-9)

  36. nezzar says:


    I’m also glad that you have decided to stay. I love your wisdom and humor. I could not agree with you more about a word in season. My point was that just quote after quote of bible verses is just words out of season. I think that just being a friend to people wins more People to Christ than quote after quote. I guess its like salt a little makes food taste good to much makes you want to yak. I also believe that showing a little love through kindness and generosity will win more to Christ than quoting the whole bible.

  37. oneg2dblu says:

    Marjorie… take my prayer/verse, for fear to be lessened, your operation successful, and your healing complete.
    Psalm 56:10-11 “In God whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise- in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
    It is a amazing thing to know that others hold you up in Prayer! Gary

  38. nezzar says:

    ps: 118 today thankfully I didn’t have to work outside this time. I’m nearing the end of my deployment and looking forward to seeing my family again. And going back to my home station in Hawaii, where I will go to the north shore and swim with the sea turtles. :)

  39. poohpity says:

    :-) Sounds beautiful!!

  40. foreverblessed says:

    Today heard in church Luke 15:1, that sinners and taxcollectors really wanted to come close to Jesus and hear Him.
    And guess what, when sinners want to listen to Him, then sure enough the “religious” people criticize Him for that.
    If sinners want to listen to you, then something must be wrong with you… is the main line of thought
    Think about it, do sinners want to come to me, and listen to what I say? What am I saying most of the time: compassionate things, or how we should behave, telling people what the law is?

    Jesus sees sinners as those who have lost the way,(verse 4) people who must be found. “religious” people see sinners as those who break the law. I was like one of them. Thank God that Jesus came to tell me what the Gospel is: Grace and peace through Jesus.

    Psalm 118 is telling about the Festival offer, the offer Jesus was going to give, for the salvation of all, v27, v25
    When He was going to the garden, after the last dinner, He is thought to have sung the song of verse 24
    “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” and He knew v27 was coming after that..

  41. poohpity says:

    I am one of those sinners that wants to listen to Jesus but not to religious fanatics who think they have not sin. Who would have thought that Jesus would have wanted to die for us but He did and for that I am eternally grateful.

  42. dja says:

    Marjorie, please know that I am praying for you. I have had numerous surgeries and always meditate on this verse: “I will lie down and sleep in peace because You alone, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety.” -Psalm 4:8


  43. Marjorie says:

    Thank you so much, Della. That is a good memory verse. It is on my list now. And thanks to all of you for your prayers.

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