Psalm 116:1 I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.
My story Part 1: Although I was raised going to church, albeit a liberal one, I never developed faith to speak of. The idea of being born again or meeting Jesus in a personal way was totally foreign to me. I came from a good home. I was close to my mom but my father and I argued when we were together and loved each other while apart.
When I went to college, what little faith I might have had was lost due to atheistic instructors and discussions with unbelieving students who seemed intent on obliterating any ideas of faith. I remember one professor, a former pastor, believed that a nursing baby at its mother’s breasts was in the “Garden of Eden”. Original sin was when the baby bit its mother’s breast and caused her to stop nursing the baby. So the baby was expelled from the Garden! And it went downhill from there.
In the fall of ’68, while a junior in college, I agreed to go to a Christian retreat with my parents. It still amazes me that I went, but nothing was going on that weekend at college and it was important to them – so I went. The retreat center was at an old time camp back in the woods overlooking a small lake in Michigan.
In the first large meeting, the speaker for the retreat spoke about the love of Jesus in a way that I had never heard before. In fact he talked as though he knew Him – personally! I was saddened by it because I thought, “If Jesus were real, that’s what He would be like – but what good did it do me?” I couldn’t believe – or so I thought. After the meeting, all of the high school and college age went to a separate meeting room. A room full of “teeny-boppers” (a term popular way back then). My impression wasn’t positive.
There were about fifteen of us sitting in a circle and I was easily the oldest. Then the speaker came in and asked if there was anyone there who didn’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. I was too embarrassed to raise my hand. He then asked if there was anyone with any doubt about it. Something raged within me as I sat there and I struggled with whether or not to raise my hand. In spite of thinking there was no hope for me, I lifted my hand.
I was then startled by one of the young men (age 15) who jumped up from his seat, pushed a chair into the center of the circle of students and enthusiastically said to me, “This is where you meet Jesus!” To say the best was yet to come is an understatement for the ages!!!
To be continued tomorrow….