As with many, a time of fierce trial opened my ears to hear Christ knocking. I grew up in a non-Christian home, in a rural Midwest farm town. My dad was an agnostic, my mom a professed believer who rarely spoke of her faith. I knew she prayed for me, though. Distantly I was aware of my grandmother's faith and prayer for me as well. Now, it wasn't that I opposed Christ or the Bible--Mom gave me a King James when I was twelve, which I'd perused twice--I just didn't see the big deal. Until I hit nineteen.
Starting college is tough for most. Valedictorian in high school, I had worked hard, but my definition of "hard" got shredded that first year. Attending an engineering university renowned for "weeding out" half-hearted kids, a 2.14 average first term shocked my self-image with ice water. As I tried to pull the pieces together, the future teetered. GPA-based scholarships--the financial pillars holding me up--required a 3.0 annual average. I was failing. A bitter pill, washed down with still more painful events: via phone calls
400 miles away, I sensed my parents' relationship barely holding, like a foundation riddled with cracks from too many earthquakes.
Then God's grace entered, a breath of hope. Through one of my personality-challenged roommates, I met another freshman from Detroit. We quickly became good friends. To my amazement, he was acing the same classes I was barely eaking out a "C" in and offered to help. Hallelujah! After many weeks learning his study methods, I applied them vigorously, and, voila, the "Cs" were replaced (mostly)with "As!"
My friend plainly shared that his confidence came from God. I let it go for a while, but when he attempted to suggest God was the answer I was looking for, too--well, enough was enough. I rejected the idea outright; didn't want to hear anymore of it. Yet despite my determination to find answers elsewhere, seeds were planted in my heart that day.
Confidence and excitement slowly gathered strength as my school performance improved. With a great shout of triumph, I announced to my friend that I'd finished my first year with a GPA just a gnat's eyelash over 3.0! He predictably gave the credit to God. This time, while I didn't wholly concur, neither did I reject the idea that, perhaps, maybe, possibly I should listen a little more. After all, I wasn't stupid--his life was working, and mine still perched on the edge of collapse.
It's still intriguing to me how sneaky Jesus can be. At the beginning of that year, my plan focused on 359 degrees of possible paths, never considering His. Driving home nine months later for summer break, I could think of little else than my new friend and the difference between our lives. And he was on that 360th degree path with God.
Weeks later, laying on my bed, my old King James Bible caught my eye from it's lofty but dusty perch on the shelf. I pulled it down in the quiet privacy of my room and sensed a weighty, pivotal moment. Just holding the Bible gave me a nervous, giddy rush, quickening my breathing as I returned to the bed. Merely curious what's in here, I told myself.
I opened to Genesis 1:1, and there it was: the inescapable truth. "In the beginning, God created...." God had made all I could see and much I could not, I was ignoring His touch, and the reason escaped me. Oh, how I longed just to be moulded, to be led. In that moment, mother's and grandmother's prayers and my searching intersected God's word at the pinnacle of my vulnerability. My room faded into the background with chills, as if a shroud covered me. He wanted me. Somehow, this was the moment my life was destined for from the beginning, the fulfillment of an ancient, invisible choice.
I turned toward instead of away. And, as part of my heart had always understood, there He was: Jesus! I could hear Him in my soul, "knocking" as John conveyed in Revelation, inviting me to never be alone again. Choice and destiny merged in mysterious union. Nodding, I opened the door.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20
Scripture Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
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