By the time I was fifteen years old, I had already experienced many of the things that parents warn their children against. First there was alcohol, then marijuana, and eventually the most dangerous drugs. As the consequences of this kind of life style became more evident, one of my friends began to search for an alternative. Eventually he introduced me to his new friends–The Jesus People. One of the young men shared about the unique life of Jesus. The new things I learned had quite an impact because I already knew I was doing wrong. When offered the opportunity to accept Jesus as my Savior I quickly agreed. I went home that night feeling that my life had been changed. I even remember looking in the mirror to see if my appearance had changed. However the very next day a friend asked me to smoke some marijuana, and though I knew it was wrong, I did it anyway. I clearly felt that sense of relief experienced the night before replaced by the numbing feeling of a drug high.
That sense of God’s presence did not return to me again until I was twenty-six. Much had passed in my life by that time; the despair of divorce, moral chaos, and the rise and decline of my dreams. The emptiness of these experiences had at times shaken me deeply, but instead of recognizing my need for God, I simply plunged in deeper. My past plans for education had long been discarded for short term pleasures. I was now unable to remain faithful, even in those relationships I cared about. I had become very cynical, and when asked by a friend what I thought of God I simply responded, “I don’t even believe there is a God.”
Then in May of 1980, the explosion of Mt. St. Helens awakened my sleeping world. When I first heard the news of this event I wondered what it could mean. Someone told me that I could see the volcano’s plume from Bothell so I walked outside to look at what I expected to be a distant sight, but it seemed to me that the volcano was at the end of the highway and the black cloud was towering up and over everything. Immediately a question came to my mind, “I wonder if there is a God?” Then it was as though God spoke directly to my heart, “Be still! And Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Soon after I began attending a church where the Pastor taught about David, “A man after God’s own heart.” I knew this was not what I had been living and that I needed a change of heart. As I began to learn more about the holy and loving life of Jesus, a strong desire rose in my heart to find out more about who he really was. I read many books about him, but I was frustrated by my lack of power to follow his example, which I now felt was the way, the truth and the life. Then one day, as I was reading the Bible, I came to Hebrews 10:26,27 which says,
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
In a moment I saw that it was my sinful rebellion that had kept me from knowing who Jesus was–He is the Lord. I asked God to forgive me and submitted myself to him as my Savior and Lord. Immediately after that, I experienced the power to overcome those particular temptations that had previously mastered me. I finally had a sense of assurance that I knew Jesus personally.
I didn’t realize how important this would be for my future, but I decided to tell Dorothy what God had done for me and ask her forgiveness for not treating her as she deserved in our long past relationship. When we finally met I remember seeing her as though for the first time. I saw her personal beauty, but especially her inner beauty, which I had really never seen before. Now we were able to establish a relationship based on a mutual faith in Christ with him as the Lord of our lives. We learned in the Bible where we had gone wrong in the past and committed ourselves to following Jesus for the future. God’s forgiveness allowed us to have a truly new beginning and it was then that I learned that Dorothy’s name means “a gift from God.” We were encouraged to seek counseling, and in time God blessed us with marriage in our church.
God has given us two beautiful children, a wonderful granddaughter, and a very happy marriage. I am thankful to say we are continuing to the grow together in our faith in Christ. There have been times over the years that we have doubted our personal strengths and abilities, even in those areas in which we are highly motivated, but now we are able to encourage and challenge each other to seek the limits of God’s gift’s and purpose.
The only regret I have ever felt about my decision to follow Christ is that I didn’t choose to obey him earlier in life. There are many ways in which such regrets can weigh down the heart, particularly when considering the lost opportunities. However, God has used these feelings for a good purpose by motivating me to first work with youth and then children about the benefits of following Jesus Christ as Lord at the beginning of one’s life.
Christians believe that the lordship of Jesus was ultimately vindicated by his resurrection from the dead. I have found the historical evidence for this claim is consistent and convincing for anyone who is faithful with the facts. For me, the evidence for the resurrection is decisive and is the single most trustworthy fact of ancient history. Though I have found great assurance in studying such evidences, there is a far more practical reason I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe in Jesus’ resurrection because he raised my life from the dead.
1. Scripture quotations from the New International Version of the Bible, 1984.