Anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ later in life — instead of in childhood or mid-teens — probably can relate to my story. I am blessed to be His, but I wish I had accepted Him decades earlier. This is Part One of my story …
Supporting Biblical Text …
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (NET)
- “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
- “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB20)
COURTING A STUBBORN MAN
WHAT AN AMAZING JOURNEY! Jesus has taken a broken, dispirited, sinful man and turned him into a joyful being with eternity in his heart!
Yes, He had to overcome my disobedience and stubbornness, but He assures us that He is stronger than the world’s evil and that when we obey His will for our lives, we are building our houses on solid rock.
The evening I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior was on a Wednesday in November 2010. I had vacillated for at least a year, afraid my two daughters, who had been raised in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, would reject me over my newfound faith.
I likened my decision to leaving them on a sinking ship (the UU life) while I snuck away to safety on one of the lifeboats (a Christ follower).
But the Lord, calling me to Him, gave me a verse to savor. It’s from Matthew 10:37b (NKJV): “And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
That moment was magical because I knew I wanted Jesus, even more than my two precious daughters; and, of course, I wanted them to follow me in worshipping the Lord.
“I WANT JESUS!” I cried out in my soul. “I want Him even if I lose my family and my friends and if total strangers hate me. I want Jesus.”
I knew He could save my life in this world. At that moment, I wasn’t even aware that He could — and would — save me for all of eternity.
Choosing Jesus … A Rough Road
FOLLOWING JESUS PROVED to be even a rougher road to follow that I had thought it would be … and I certainly thought it would be rough.
Until then, I had no idea my heart was so dark.
For one thing, the Holy Spirit took over my conscience, repeatedly rebuking me for errant thoughts and salty language, even before trying to straighten out my actions.
Fellow Christians added their comments, all in love, but they sounded alike: “That’s not a nice thing for a Christian to say.”
Even one non-Christian friend told me I was too hard on myself, beating myself up for my non-Christlike feelings, thoughts, comments, and actions.
I was a mess — a mess for Jesus!
I was trying so hard to learn a new way of living. I saw myself as the last one to the banquet table, walking into the room with mud on my boots and a stained shirt, while everyone else was properly seated, with folded napkins, correct forks, and clean hands.
At one point, I announced to a church home group that I was quittng “the Christian thing” because I felt I was a fraud and didn’t really belong.
Why Did I Choose Him?
WHY DID I FINALLY TURN to Jesus Christ for the answers to my life’s questions? Two reasons: (1) I was desperate for answers, and (2) No one else had meaningful answers.
Yes, I had looked for other answers because I knew that Jesus is perfect and, as such, would demand more from me than I was willing to give. I wanted answers *on the cheap,* that were within my ability to understand and control.
Jesus, I knew, lives outside that orbit, and He would want to control me … for my own good, but nevertheless He would be in control.
I had begun a serious search once I came to realize I was plummeting and harming myself, but with one stipulation — that I would find an answer that did not include Jesus Christ!
That search took nearly a decade, until I finally came to accept that no answer outside of Jesus Christ would satisfy the hunger in my soul.
Even then, it took another four years to accept the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God, as my Lord and Savior.
FATHER GOD, I AM so grateful to You for your patience with me and Your perseverance, foreknowing that I eventually would raise my arms in praise and call on Your holy name for my salvation. Now, help me, strengthen, direct me to share the Good News of salvation with those You place in my life. In Jesus’ precious and magnificent name. AMEN
NOTE: Photos are from several locations important to me.