This was actually written 5/26/2007
I had never really been into church throughout my childhood. I use to go to church with my grandpa, not because I believed or felt led, but because it seemed more like a requirement of my grandpa. That and I knew I was going to get something for it because we would always go eat lunch somewhere afterwards. Sometimes, he would buy me stuff I needed for school or whatever, and he’d let me keep the change. Looking back now, that’s pretty sorry, but that was me. I had heard of Jesus and of God, but never ready studied religion or doctrine and I never really believed. Interesting to note that this was a Mormon church I went to and at the time I have no idea there were any other kinds of churches.
When I moved to Alabama, I inherited a family of Christians. More specifically, I inherited a family of predominately southern Baptist Christians. That made me uncomfortable. I would go to church with my dad and step-mom and my step-brothers, I even sang in the choir, not because I had this big desire to, but because I didn’t want them talking to me about God. So I figured I’d play the role and maybe they would leave me alone.
This went on for a couple of years. One day, I was working with a friend of mine installing cabinets. He invited me to go to a Wednesday night youth service with him. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I agreed.
This youth service was not like anything I’d been to before. That could have been because it was an Assembly of God church. I was 18 and he was about 20 or 21, so, besides the youth pastor, we were the oldest ones in attendance. There were about 300 kids at that service. No chairs, everyone just sat on the ground of this huge youth room. I didn’t really understand why, this wasn’t a poor church by any means. In fact it could have been the riches church in Alabaster. They started their service. They had a band of nothing but kids. They were all younger than us. There was a boy on bass, and girl on guitar, which I thought was intriguing, and another boy on drummers, and about five singers. They were all praising God together.
I realized right then, as I looked around the entire room, that everyone was in one accord. It was as if there was this big bubble and I was the only one on the outside. I longed so much to be apart of whatever it was. I didn’t even understand what it was, but I knew I wanted in. Nothing else at that point in time mattered except being a part of that “bubble.”
I had always thought that you had to be older to play music. I don’t know why, but I did. Here these kids were younger than me, but they could all play. I saw the boy playing bass. It was at that moment I understood I would one day play bass.
After the worship part, the youth pastor got on stage. I realized he wasn’t that much older than me and I was again amazed that all these positions I thought were only for older people, these younger people held. That amazed me. I felt at that moment that I was letting life pass me by, using the excuse that I wasn’t old enough to hold me back.
I don’t remember his message, but after the service I went up to him to talk, and I remember what he said. “What’s up my brother of another mother?” I thought that was funny; I remembered it, but at that point, I was not his brother in Christ.
That night, on the ride home with my friend, he asked me the question most of us Christians have a hard time with; “Are you a Christian?” I somehow knew it was coming, yet when he asked I wasn’t sure what to say. I felt really uncomfortable. I told him no and that I felt I wasn’t ready. Which is ironic, because that is what everyone I witness to says.
Then he asked me the question we as Christians need to ask more often; “Why not?” I had a list of reasons for this question if ever I were asked. However, when the question was before me, I was rendered speechless. Every reason I could think of seemed void before I could speak them, as if I was reaching into the barrel of my mind, grabbing something I felt was substantial, but it becoming nothing more than vapor once I pulled it out.
One reason did manage to leave my lips, and as soon as it did, I promise you I have never felt so ashamed in all my life. I said; “If I were a Christian, I wouldn’t be able to sleep with whoever I wanted to.” I immediately felt cheap and filthy. His response: “Do you know how many women I’ve slept with?”
He went on with an explanation after that statement that was lost on me because I retreated in my mind where a spiritual battle for the destination of my soul ensued. It lasted the whole ride home, the whole time I was getting ready for bed, and many hours after I laid down to sleep.
It was near impossible to sleep with so many things running through my mind, but I actually did fall asleep for a brief period of time. The only dream I had was an seeming endless fall down a pit, with fire and demons dancing around the walls of the pit I was falling down. I did actually hit the bottom, and when I got up, I stood face to face with who I could only imagine to have been Satan, with thousands of demons surrounding me. He said to me; “Welcome to eternity!” and laughed this deep, low, sadistic laugh. I had never been so scared in all my life.
I woke up with tears running down my face. It was almost time for my alarm to go off. I walked downstairs and sat on the couch adjacent to my dad. He was reading his Bible like he always did before everyone else woke up for breakfast. He looked at me and realized something had disturbed me greatly. I looked at him and said “I think I’m ready.” Tears streaming down my cheeks and visually shaking, he knew what I meant without me explaining.
He got up, went to his bedroom and whispered something to his wife. She immediately got up and came into the room with me. She asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus as my savior. With a broken voice, I said yes. She led me in the sinner’s prayer, and immediately, I stopped shaking and a great calm come over my life. I felt a peace I had never experienced before.
That day at work, I was happier than ever before. I sang every Christian song I knew all day long. I was so joyful, people at work thought I was on drugs and stayed away from me.
My life since then has never been the same. I thank God for that friend that was obedient to God’s will in inviting me to that service and asking those difficult questions which made me think and consider things I never thought of before. I thank God for saving me that morning. I thank God for all the times I was obedient in witnessing to others. And I just thank God for being my God. Amen.