My journey toward God began as a child. At an elementary age, I was aware of my Creator and cussed Him out whenever something went wrong in my life. When I broached adolescence, this evil habit of mine began to make me uneasy. I decided to put it away out of sheer fear for what God might do to me.
During high school, I spent my summers backpacking in the Olympic Mountains. When I stood aloft the rocky ridges, I was overcome by the artistry of a giant Creator. Sometimes I called out to Him to thank Him for the grandeur I adored. Sadly, my steps toward God went no further than this.
A few years into college, I was approached by two men from Campus Crusade for Christ. They asked a man studying nearby if they could sit and speak with him about spiritual things. He declined, so I motioned for them to come over to my table and speak with me. For this first time, I heard clearly the message of my sin and the need for Christ’s forgiveness. Afterward, I agreed to stay in contact with these guys. On occasion, I brought my questions to them about the Bible I then read from an uncommitted standpoint.
At the close of my junior year, I went off to Yosemite National Park where I worked in a sports shop. I developed a friendship with my manager, a 47 year old woman who captured my affections with her aged beauty. At the end of the summer, our friendship crossed a line when I went to bed with her. I woke up incredulous over my actions. Never had I felt so dirty in my life, or so undone down deep. I discovered how hard it is to shake sexual sins loose from one’s soul.
When I returned to college, I hooked up again with those guys from Campus Crusade and told them I was coming close to receiving Christ. To make a long story short, we stayed up late one night talking about the true nature of faith. I shared with them my lingering hesitancy over taking that final faith step toward Jesus. Even so, God won me over that night. The words that did it for me are found in Ephesians chapter 2. It’s a passage about being dead in one’s trespasses and sins. It hit me hard to think I was a dead soul to God without Jesus. I wanted to fix the problem. I prayed to receive Christ. It was a confused and meandering prayer (it was the best I could do back then) but essentially I told God that Christ was now in charge of my life.
I went to bed that night doubting my decision. I woke up the next morning sensing something had changed. I felt different. Life felt different. Everything had a different tint to it. God had been born into my life, or I had been born into His Kingdom, or both.
I wish I could say I lived ‘holy ever after.’ I can’t. My growth process has been messy, even ugly. I regret so many things I’ve said and done as a follower of Christ. Spiteful things. Blasphemous things. Lustful things. One verse puts my mind at peace, though. The Bible says that the Lord is the God who justifies the wicked. What a fabulous truth to rest a guilty conscience under! God knew what He was getting into with all of us. He has been so patient with the worst parts of me. I just want to press on in my feeble love for Him, forgetting what lies behind until faith becomes sight.