Summary: We all have stories. This is my story about where God has taken me.
"I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
I grew up in a Catholic church and when I was just a kid, church was the thing to do. We went every Sunday and my siblings and I were involved with the children’s programs we had. It was always a fun time as they taught the Bible in a meaningful and interesting way.
As we began to get older, my family withdrew from the church and began to have more family days on Sunday and well you know, life took over and church took a backseat to our family events. In all honesty, I think church was there to help us get an understanding of good morals at a young age and not much else.
While we would return to the church for special events such as Christmas and Easter services, church never became a regular thing again. Eventually my dad became sick and we left the church altogether. My dad would pass away from cancer when I was eleven years old.
When I was thirteen years old, I was introduced to a new church. I had taken the liberty to fight against going to church for any reason for as long as I can remember but I finally went back. About a month after attending the church, I went to a Youth Convention and it was there I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.
While I’ve had many ups and downs throughout my Christian experience, I’ve learned something over time which I can now say with great confidence…I don’t believe in God anymore.
You heard me, I don’t believe in him anymore. I am not saying that to suggest he isn’t real but rather, that the God I pictured in my head is totally different than the one in the Word and through circumstances; I’ve grown to understand him a bit more.
(1) God encountered me at a cross
I remember one particular Sunday morning when I was heading off to church. I was serving as the Worship coordinator. I enjoyed getting to church early enough so I could pray for a little bit and then set up the sound system and run through the worship set list for the day. I always felt there was this needing for ensure everything runs perfect.
When I arrived, I had everything set in my mind and the order I needed to accomplish everything in. I walked into the sanctuary and sat down in the front row and I was about ready to bow my head and begin to say a short prayer when I looked at the rear of the platform where the pastor preaches and I saw the cross hanging there, with a white linen cloth draped over the cross-beams.
It was not a new sight at all; the cross had been there for years but for some reason, I saw that empty cross and knew that God had used that cross to bring me into a relationship with him. In that moment, I never wanted to sin again because I knew how much God hated sin. It was in that moment, I wanted to know God more than anything else. I wanted to pursue Christ and I found myself falling in love with everything about Jesus again.
For so many years I have felt my relationship with God is a start-stop relationship. That is to say, my relationship with God begins when I live holy and stops when I sin. The relationship is over until I confess my sin and God can then restore my relationship. The radical truth of grace is that our relationship with God is ongoing, not based on performance but upon the finished work of Christ. He alone holds me in his embrace.
The sacrifice Christ made is greater and stronger than any of my failures.
(2) God encountered with (an) Angel
I was at ministry training event with my best friend and we learning about an evangelistic outreach called ‘Treasure Hunting.’ A short analysis would be that you gather in groups of three and individually pray and as God speaks and highlights specific places, people and things, and then you write down what is spoken. Afterwards, you and your group go into the city/neighborhood looking for who God has highlighted and pray for them.
Before we went out though, we were asked to pray for one another and pray a vision that we see. While I have always believed in the supernatural realm, I was bit nervous about this because I never felt like I could “tap into” the Spirit like others could.