My name is Michael, and I want to tell you briefly about how Christ came
to me in the instant I first cried out to Him for help, for forgiveness,
and for hope.
I grew up in a home where material things were always available. My
parents were and are honest loving people whose self-sacrifice provided
well for their children. But in my youth I placed God into a role of a
religious token that got me social acceptance. It felt neat to be an
altar boy. Ceremonial participation was God to me. But deep inside, from
a very young age, I always felt empty inside. My parents always tried to
help in the way they knew how. They enrolled me in private Christian
schools and attempted to integrate me into various church youth groups.
But God never forced me into accepting a relationship with Him, and He
waited Oh so very patiently for me.
The proverbial hole in my soul always fed my selfish manipulative ways,
and as a result, by the time I had entered college, I turned to drugs,
alcohol, and wild living in an effort to satisfy the insatiable demand for
pleasure. This was only to hide from myself the pain I had always felt.
My defects of character, my sin nature, was only visible to those around
me. I was an arrogant doormat with an egocentric low self-esteem. You
name the psycho-jargon... I had it. I tried new-age spiritualism taught
by a friend's mother. Of course, it taught me I could be my own God.
Make my own rules. Meditate into blissful one-ness with the universe.
Ha. That lasted a few months and I was off to the races.
Somehow, my parents continued to support my attempt at college, which
usually included the heavy misappropriation of money. They gave me money
for class, and I spent the money on drugs. I spiraled into cyclical
depression and my drug use turned into addiction. I burned bridges of
loved ones and friends. I could see the chasm between some faithful
friends and myself. What was it that they had that gave them such
consistent and genuine peace? What was wrong with me? I had reached a
low point and bottomed out mentally, emotionally, and physically. One
night, after completing criminal mischief against who at the time was
a "friend", I could not bear living in my own skin. I could not understand
why I hated myself so much. How could I become the person I was? Who was
I ? Why was I this way? HELP ME GOD! For the first time in my life I
cried out for help to God and to Jesus.
Instantly, in that moment, the very hand of the Holy Spirit descended on
me. I was on some very powerful illegal drugs at the moment, and
instantly, a warm wave of peace moved through my body. I instantly became
sober and dropped to my knees, confessing my sins aloud to the Lord for
what seemed like hours. I confessed things to God I had never told
another person...things that happened 15 to 20 years ago... and with each
confession, more and more peace came over me.
I then got up and did something never done before by my hand...I reached
into the bookshelf, picked up a bible, and fell to my knees, praising God,
His Word, and His Son. I read intently from "random" places in the Bible,
but I think I spent lots of time in Corinthians and Hebrews. I still
relate to Paul rather well.
Since that remarkable point where God released me from the bondage of
self, there has been, by my own perception and when held up to the light
of the Word, ups and downs in the Walk. I have been shown that I am
already perfect in His sight, despite my sin, and He has shown me He loves
me as I am, right now, forever. I have learned that God can be praised
and worshiped in Episcopal churches, in Baptist universities, in
Volkswagens, in city jails, and in the den.
He is there in AA meetings and one time He blessed me with a remarkable
experience with the full glory and grace and pain of Christ on the cross
before work on a cold winter's morning while listening to a DC Talk CD
before work. Some days I selfishly forget to invite God's will into my
life for that day. Some days I am too busy to take time and praise Him
for his love, His eternal mercy, and for His infinite grace. Other days I
may not say thank you for the health, family, and friends, for the
cellular structure of His Universe that holds together the butterflies and
the lilies of the field.
But He has given me a most amazing journey and He has shown me the most
excellent way: That life most abundantly comes from conscious contact with
Him. And that comes to me through His Grace. And He let me know one day
in Waco, Texas, when I was alone and too afraid to commit suicide that He
loves me so perfectly that He would let the only perfect Man, His Son
Jesus Christ, be hung from a tree so that I may know peace, joy, and
I pray you spend some time with Christ and show Him you love Him today.