Since I was old enough to remember, I had a seeking in my heart to know God—Who He was and how and why He made the universe. I also wanted to know why there was such beauty in nature, but such ugliness in humanity. What I saw in newspapers and on TV overwhelmed me; often at night I would fret over the suffering and cruelty in the world. Praying to God helped me to pour out my feelings, but I never had the assurance that He heard me.
As I matured, I began to form a personal philosophy that did not include God—at least, not the God of the Bible. To me, Jesus Christ was only a historical figure, irrelevant to my problems or the chaotic situation that characterized our country in the 1960’s. I began to believe strongly in the counterculture politics of the day: that only by concerted, organized civil action could the injustices of the world be righted.
But under God’s sovereignty, my personal life fell apart, and I knew that inwardly I needed a lifeline to God, the One in whom I used to find comfort. Amazingly, one day a classmate whom I admired spoke as though she were electrified by a power of conviction in something so real that it made her radiate with joy. I desperately wanted something to believe in that was real—not just an invention of the human mind. Immediately, I opened to Jesus with a believing heart, and in a moment, I was flooded with the conviction that He was more real than anything in the universe. I rejoiced that I had discovered that Christ is Truth (John 14:6)!
I applied to and was accepted into a very liberal university. My old ideas were intact as I sought out the various political groups on campus. We met and marched and protested, but as we did, I made the painful discovery that these people, far from being pure, had the same “diseases” that infected the people we were protesting: hypocrisy, selfishness, ambition, corruption, and lust. I made up my mind to quit school, join a Christian commune, and wait for the Lord’s return…but God, in His mercy, intervened! Sitting on a bench downtown one day, I was invited by a girl my age to a free dinner hosted by some Christians. My concept was that they were probably too religious and “straight”, but right away the Lord rebuked me within for my bias. So I went, not knowing what I’d find.
Inside this old storefront was an eclectic assortment of people: young, older, straight, hippie, talkative, quiet. As my mind groped to categorize them, I felt a strange sense of calm within, as if I were home. After dinner, we began to sing songs–love songs to the Lord Jesus. My heart melted as I sang with these people whom I could tell were not faking their love for a very real, personal God. When they rose up to speak about Him, without shame or pretense, it was with the same radiancy and joy I had remembered in my high school classmate. I felt that this was what I had been seeking all my life: a people who were inwardly motivated by something pure and genuine, a people who were investing their lives not for some earthly power struggle, but for the only One who could change the condition of humanity permanently.
I have been enjoying participating in the local church for 27 years. It has been the joy and purpose of my living because after all these years, only one person, Christ, is exalted among us. I have witnessed His power to change people. And I am filled with hope that He will transform His church into a bride “without spot or wrinkle”, blameless before Him in love, ready to receive Him at His coming (Ephesians 5:27).