A Personal Journey
One of the characteristics that Roman writers observed about the early Christians was that they often gathered to tell each other accounts of how they had come to know Jesus Christ. These ‘testimonies’ were a common part of meetings among Christians. Of course the main Testimonies are the Gospels. But even before the Gospels were written, people were telling each other how they had come to know Christ, either in the flesh or in the Holy Spirit. It is a custom that has endured over the centuries in the church.
In this Blog I am going to tell you a part of my Testimony, in hopes that it will encourage others to share their own journey to Christ.
My first experience of the love of God in a personal way didn’t come until I was thirty years old. For most of my adult life, I had been an indifferent agnostic. I was not particularly hostile to the Christian faith, but it just didn’t have any relevance to MY life. So, I didn’t think about it much.
But then the Lord began very gently to draw me in and to prepare me for understanding - - putting into my life people who could explain things in terms that were meaningful to me. Mike and I had begun to attend a local church, mainly so that our children could experience religion and make an informed decision for themselves later on.
During that time my father died, and several days after his death, I purposely sat myself down to decide what I believed about life and death, and whether I thought there was any way in which my father was still living.
I was, at that time, a thoroughly post-modern rationalist. I fully expected that I would decide that my answer to the question would be - - ‘no, we are biological machines, and when we die we just return to the earth as matter. But the mistake I made was to open up seriously the question of God. Having posed the question of life and death and existence of God with a truly open mind, I had unwittingly opened a window for the Holy Spirit to work on me. Since I had provided that opening, the Lord took it!
I received a sudden, unexpected, unexplainable vision at the moment. I mentally asked that question - - though ‘vision’ isn’t quite the right word, because it wasn’t really visual. It was as if my mind opened up, and I had a sudden absolutely firm understanding, a certainty, that there is a loving power in control of the universe, and that somehow my father’s life continued as part of that loving power, and that my life too is connected to that loving power.
No voice. No burning bush. Just a transformed mind, a totally new way of seeing reality. It wasn’t really a theologically informed understanding, but there was a sense, in my heart, of having passed through a doorway which quietly closed behind me. Before that moment, I couldn’t see how any rational, intelligent person could believe in a personal God; and after that moment, I couldn’t see how anyone did not.
Grace and truth were all around me in the trees and the meadows and the people, and the life that had been given to me. Suddenly everywhere I looked were signs of God’s love and God’s presence in the world. I didn’t understand how I could have missed them!
I know now that the gentle work of God’s Holy Spirit drew me ever closer until I was ready to look with open eyes - - until I was willing to look at the question without my cynical defenses up and alert. It was then that I received an assurance of God’s goodness and God’s love. Through the working of God’s Holy Spirit, I received the gift of Faith.
Of course, I was a long way from a mature faith anchored in the person of Jesus. But that moment was the beginning of my journey.
Everyone’s journey of faith is different, and God works with the experiences and personality of each person in drawing one to faith and understanding. I pray that each of you will take time to think about your own journey and maybe share it with someone else.