Written May 8, 2014
Saved from my sin on a spring afternoon in the most common of houses in a forgotten Bethlehem. I came from nothing – from much less, actually – just to reach this point. A few months ago, I was as far away from the Lord as a human soul could be. I had renounced Him in conversation, claiming pride for being independent, a non-believer. I was boastful in my blaspheming. And a week later, He filled my body with his spirit and love. I changed overnight in the immediate sort of transformation that’s been promised to us all who truly believe. My outlook changed and the life I had before didn’t belong to me anymore. The ungodly acts that brought me pleasure suddenly didn’t. I looked at my life with more appreciation than I ever had before. My beautiful kids and even the life that led me to divorce – all those mistakes, I loved and cherished. I would have never found the path I was walking without them.
When God brings you to Him, it can happen with a series of seemingly random events. If you trace it back to its roots, my story begins at a mobile snow cone shop in Gardner, Kansas. How unlikely (and humbling) is that. One summer night, I took my daughter for a snow cone and waiting in line with his family was a man who would change my life: Derek Anderson, who I’d coached youth flag football games against on the fields at a nearby park. We sparked a conversation that night and decided to merge our baseball teams that summer. From there, Derek began working on me. He would bring up the bible or Jesus or what I thought was some random fact. “How many books are there in the bible?” He might ask one night. And had you had to know the answer (66) because he’d quiz you on it next time he saw you.
Other people who stepped into my world. I never really knew what their role was in my conversion until the moment was past and I was on my way to being a Christian. “God was working on me,” as Christians like to say. Phrases like that used to make me uncomfortable, but now I understand them. So much about Christianity you don’t get until you experience it. I realize that’s not an argument that suffices for a non-believer. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
The afternoon I was saved, it happened in the most basic way it could. We sat at my kitchen table. I made coffee. The windows were open and I could see the branches bending in the breeze and hear the birds singing in the high branches. Derek led a short bible study. He gave me a list of bible verses relevant to the step I was going to take. Then we said a prayer together and continued thumbing through our bibles as he read to me the passages he found the most fascinating. For example, Isaiah 40:22 mentions the “circle of the Earth,” noting that the world was round 100s of years before that was fact.
I was astounded, although I didn’t need this confirmation. I already felt the truth in my heart. For a few moments that afternoon, I felt as though I was in the middle of my own Eden. With a deeper faith, God will let me take it everywhere.