If Jesus is, what Then?
I read an article about a Jewish man confronted with receiving Jesus as Messiah. He had a three part question the last of which he asked, “If it is Jesus, what then?”
This caught my eye as I reflected back to 1955 when at age 15 I attended a ‘Youth for Christ evangelical country music concert’. At the end of the concert an invitation was given. I, along with a host of other young adults went forward to receive Jesus as my personal Savior.
But as time passed I too asked the same question the Jewish man did in the article I read. “I’ve got Jesus now, but what do I do with Him?” A rather caviler and immature thought, because I hadn’t began reading the bible much at that point in my life. I was a shallow root planted on rocky soil. The excitement and fun activities of an active teen in high school surpassed my desire to want deep roots to grow in God’s word.
My senior year brought some health issues that challenged my faith. Born with spastic paralysis I experienced some seizures that required hospitalization and didn’t graduate with my class in our senior year, but had to wait till the following semester. God was teaching me the meaning of surrender, and He wouldn’t let go of me.
I began a career, married, but after ten years of marriage, God knew something I didn’t see coming. December 27, 1972 I became a single parent with three little ones to care for and love, their ages then, 7, 4, and 17 months.
The rug was pulled out from under me, and I could turn inward with self pity, anger, resentment, or, by faith take hold the hem of Jesus.
I had that question answered I asked seventeen years earlier, “I’ve got Jesus now, but what do I do with Him?” God was teaching me, He had hold of me all along, to provide me with a new vision and hope that went beyond my human intellect and strength.
My status as a single parent I would not wish upon anyone, but through it all God led the way. My spiritual and physical strength increased through experiences that brought His power as on wings of eagles. With my paralysis learning to do things after my own fashion, has always been a growing and learning experience. God enabled me to accomplish tasks beyond my strength and with resources of higher authority for daily needs and child care.
Evenings helping my daughter with homework, playing with the boys while picking up the house, doing dishes, diapers in the washing machine for my youngest, lunches to make for the following day, all this would bring us to learn about being interdependent upon one another. Reading them bible stories with pause for prayer before bed time was a growing process for all of us. I was learning all mankind falls short of the mark of being good enough.
I made a vow to read the bible at least five minutes a day. The Apostle Peter defines being born again this way, ‘You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.’ [1 Peter 1:23 RSV]
It has brought such desire that my daily increase has given me the blessing of reading the entire bible through each year for over 30 years now.
Until one is truly born from above, through the power of His presence from His word and regeneration through God’s Holy Spirit, he or she cannot recognize the victory through surrender. To live life through divine authority, God’s desire is total surrender to live life.
The church I began attending reached out to me with love in many ways, as when they would come to my home each Sunday through their bus ministry and pick up my three children. This allowed me to attend a single adult bible study prayer breakfast where I met Yvonne, who, after our marriage gave up her career to be mother to my children and eventually God blessed us with two children of our own.
In 1997 both Yvonne and I were privileged to be counselors during the Billy Graham Bay Area crusade held in San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, Ca., a growing and learning experience for both of us to serve others. Now in my retirement years I’ve been blessed to do pastoring at a local Re-Hab Center each week.
God stands at the door of each one of our hearts knocking, asking us to let Him in, to have all of us, not just a portion, something I learned through my experiences.
Release came in daily forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Letting go the past became easier the more I sought the promises from above. That could only happen by digesting biblical truth and leaning on those promises of life for the things above, more than the world around me.
No one should ask that same question I did so many years ago, but by faith take hold the robe of Jesus, and begin a journey with hope and purpose that will last through eternity.
God has given us eternal life through His Son, and through abiding in His word, to follow Him.