I have spent my whole life on a path to Jesus, I just didn’t recognize it for nearly 45 years. Maybe “recognize” isn’t the right word there; perhaps it should be “accept.” I didn’t accept it for nearly 45 years.
Even after I recognized/accepted it, I still fought it with everything I had. I always tell people, “I finally came to Christ, but I did so kicking and screaming.”
Let me explain.
The first chapter
From early childhood I was dragged to church – yes dragged; I wanted to stay home and play with my friends. I believe I slept through most of the sermons. Didn’t mind the singing, though.
Even as a teenager I went to church with my mother, but only so she wouldn’t have to go alone. I loved my mother much more than I didn’t want to go to church.
After leaving the nest, church immediately went by the wayside. I was sent into the world with a Bible, inscribed with my name and a cool picture on the cover. I never read it, though. I’m not even sure I thought about God that much.
I always considered myself to be agnostic, however. I would never deny there could be a God but didn’t necessarily believe there needed to be God.
I was married in a church. As a matter of fact, though my family had moved away, I was married in the very church that I was dragged to as a child. But getting married in a church was more of a social acceptance thing than anything else. It’s just what you did; got married in churches.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back now I think each of these were links in the chain that brought me to Jesus — my parents’ faith, wanting to support my mother’s faith, and getting married before God.
This chain was going to be long, however. And it would be years before the next links appeared.
The second chapter
I grew up around Dayton, Ohio, and around age 30 moved to the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. That’s where I met three young women and one young man who were quite strong in faith. It was being around them and listening to them talk about Jesus that made me want to start reading the Bible; to try to figure out what was in there that made their faith so strong.
Two of the four went to the same church and challenged me to go with them. I agreed. It was there that numerous links were added to my chain.
First, they sicced the pastor on me, who talked me into attending a luncheon Bible study looking at the Book of John. Tempting me with food is always a smart move. Second, the associate pastor talked me into attending another Bible study looking at the Book of Revelation. As it just so happened, I had read both, so for some reason unbeknownst to me, I agreed to attend both.
About the same time, my wife met a woman in a Moms-to-Moms class who, along with her family, became a strong link in the chain. She displayed kindness and caring to an extreme level. Seeing her family, and I mean truly seeing them, was seeing Christ.
Soon after – again for a reason unbeknownst to me — I felt compelled to study the complex topic of love. I have always enjoyed the challenge of in-depth studies on difficult subjects – I know more about quantum physics than any scientifically uneducated person should – and I chose love for my next subject.
I studied every aspect of love: spouses, family, pets, friends, strangers and even TVs (I knew a lot of people who loved their TVs). And, of course, agape love. I read numerous books, magazine articles and various studies. I watched documentaries and – I’m ashamed to say it – Hallmark romantic comedies. A side note: I liked the romcoms so much I still watch them today.
After about 5 years of studying love, I could come to only one conclusion:
“For us to possess the capacity to truly love, there must be a God.”
The final chapter
By now you’re probably thinking what’s wrong with this guy? After all this he still doesn’t accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior?
Like I said, I came to Jesus kicking and screaming.
But God wasn’t done God with me yet. He had already pursued me through my parents (in Ohio), my friends (in South Carolina) and even myself (my love study) and still I was trying to run away. So now it was time to play His ace-in-the-hole.
Yep, my parents again.
I moved from South Carolina to the Daytona Beach to join my brother and parents. All of them attended church, so naturally I tagged along. I loved the pastor, worship leader and many others, but still wasn’t quite ready to commit to Christ.
About two years later my wife and son went to Ohio for a vacation to see family we had left behind, and I had a week’s vacation but couldn’t travel with them.
It was then I began my final journey to our Lord and Savior.
The pastor had been talking extensively on hosting God’s presence, so I committed myself to a week of Bible study, worship and prayer with just a three-hour break each day.
I began on Monday and for the first four days little was revealed to me, but on Friday night everything just clicked. I’m not sure exactly what was the turning point or the exact time when it happened, but I felt the Holy Spirit moving inside of me and after a few more hours of prayer I finally felt God’s presence.
It was the probably the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had … and that’s saying a lot. I’ve had a life filled with numerous blessings – great family, great childhood, my dream career, lived where people vacationed and many, many more – but this feeling was beyond measure.
More chapters being written
God moved instantly in my life. Soon after coming to Christ, my church went through a revival where I began an even deeper relationship with God; I began writing, directing and eventually acting in Christian plays; I was elected to lead our men’s group; and later I was invited to teach a Bible class.
Now I’ve added writing this blog to the fold.
And this is just the beginning. I’m confident God’s has a lot more in store for me here on Earth. Of course, the biggest blessing of all still awaits me – spending eternity with God.
When I think back about the number of people that were links in my chain, I can hardly count. I cannot thank them enough for not giving up on me and helping me find my way to Jesus. I just hope I get to repay the debt by helping others find their way.
That’s the story of how I accepted Christ in my life.
Feature image by Luis Quintero via Pexels