I KNEW: My “belief-journey” began as an adolescent. Despite the fact that I was raised un-churched, I instinctively KNEW that there was a God, and I instinctively KNEW that, one day, I would meet Him. What I did not know was that I would meet Him much sooner than I expected.
I was 5 years old when I received my first Bible. This particular Bible had a section added by its publishers called “1000 Questions and Answers About God”. At 10 or 11 years old, I began reading those questions and answers.
I WAS A THIEF: I’d barely turned 13 when I began to realize that what it meant to be a “sinner”. I’d become one, stealing cash from the family-business cash register. I knew that, in the eyes of God, this was not good and began to wonder what effect that my being a thief had concerning what would happen when I finally met God face-to-face.
My parents found out, one day, that I was stealing from them…and the “wrath” that I experienced was terrible. My mother, in particular, was so angry that she barely spoke to me except in anger for many weeks! I began to wonder how much angrier might God be.
HOLIDAY MYSTERY: As I continued reading the “Q & A” section of my Bible, I “felt” a growing “hunger” towards Him. As a family, we celebrated Christmas every year- something about a “Santa Claus” mixed in with something about “the birth of Jesus Christ”. Sometimes my parents took me to a church Christmas service to sing Christmas songs. I’d long given up believing in Santa Claus…but something inside me refused to let go of my belief in a living God. This belief was a two-edged sword.
On the one hand the sense of wanting to know this “invisible” God. On the other hand was a growing sense of dread at meeting God…as a thief! I hoped that I was good enough in other ways that perhaps my stealing from my parents might be overlooked by God.
Easter was another holiday we celebrated. This holiday was about an Easter bunny…and about a man named Jesus who’d been “resurrected”. Like Christmas, Easter was a day that my parents sometimes went to church.
BELIEF: I’d turned 16 years old before the mysteries of the relationship of Christmas and Easter with God finally came to be uncovered. By the time I turned 16, I heard radio preaching by Oral Roberts by which I came to understand that my sins of lying and stealing stood in the way my really knowing God. Urged by a friend, I became involved with “Boys Christian Service Brigade”, a youth ministry connected with the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in my town. It was during a 4-day hike into the Adirondack Mountains along the Johns Brook Trail that I was introduced to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and learned that God so loved me that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Somewhere inside me was a deep awareness that God, who I instinctively knew, wanted me to believe His Son Jesus, that day. Since that August day in the Adirondack Mountains of New York more than five decades ago, I have trusted and followed Jesus.
Are you a thief…or some other kind of sinner? The Bible teaches that ALL OF US are sinners, even at birth. God loves you! And He has made the way by which even YOU and I can be saved.
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