"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened,
and I will give you rest."
I came to know God when I was fourteen. I would like to say that I found God through a chain of logic, after a careful consideration of the facts. But that's not how it happened. I was carried along by a chain of events which unfolded over a period of many years. I couldn't stop those events. I couldn't even get out of their way. The events in my childhood family shaped me, especially the ones I don't talk about. They came one after another, like the waves of the sea.
I was the youngest of four children. As I said, I came to know God when I was fourteen. My conversion was very unusual. To understand it, you must understand the eight years prior to my conversion. It was eight years of tragedy and tribulation that eventually led me to Christ. My sister was permanently disabled by a sudden illness. Then my middle brother was permanently disabled in an accident. My other brother went to war. Dad had a heart attack and mother had cancer. Few marriages survive having a disabled child. My family had two. They went into divorce court twice during that period. There were rapes, abortion, drug dealers, assault, child custody litigation, nervous breakdown, depression and screams of rage. Haunting images are burned into my memory, possibly to remind me of what God saved me from. There was fire.
Our home burned. In my mind's eye, I can still see the terror in the eyes of the one who led me out of the fire... terror that she was about to be burned alive. Seconds after we escaped down the staircase, the staircase was engulfed in flames.
My parents lived by a moral code. But their rules for living couldn't withstand the weight of life. And the burdens of life broke my family. My parents did the best they could with the codes they lived by. Mother was loving and kind. My father taught me science and evolution. He also took me to church twice on Sundays.
After watching a family argument at the age of twelve, I realized that no one in my family could teach me how to live life. My family was a sinking ship. From that moment on, I prayed for wisdom every day for two years.
I did see some people who had real peace in their lives. I saw them at a small Sunday night church service. Those who went to the large Sunday morning service included many nice people. It was good. But worshipers didn't particularly display the powerful peace that I saw in worshipers in the evening service. The evening service was different. At the small evening service, I could see the peace in their eyes and in their smiles. I could hear it in their voices as they spoke and sang praises to God. In them, I saw that peace was possible.
In this period I trusted in myself. I believed that I would overcome every obstacle by the sheer force of my will. "I will overcome" was my daily mantra. I repeated that mantra through each day. My father had taught me self-reliance, honesty and to "never give up".
Shortly before my conversion, my parents were going through a divorce for the second time. It would not be the last. But, unlike the first divorce, the judge allowed me to choose which parent to live with during divorce proceedings. I chose one. The other disowned me.
I was lying in bed one night and it felt like two thousand pounds were pressing down on every part of my body. I looked up into the darkness and said, "Lord, I can't take this anymore." A scripture came into my mind: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest". Again I looked up into the darkness. I said. "You have to carry the burden. I can't carry it."
At that moment His peace flooded into me. It was euphoric! I felt like I was floating. A light appeared in my room... a visible light. It didn't light up the room. It was a light in the total darkness of the room. My eyes were fixed on that light, for minutes or maybe hours... I don't know how long. Then came the morning. To the first person that I saw I said, "I became a Christian last night".
I was in the Spirit for three days. I did nothing for three days except commune with the Holy Spirit within me. I spoke His name, offered words of adoration and felt His comfort and peace.
I told no one about the light that I had seen or the ecstasy I felt. I didn't know anyone who would believe me. If my parents knew, I was afraid that they would send me to a psychiatrist who would make me take drugs.
That night was the first time that I trusted God. In the forty-eight years since my conversion, everything my Lord has brought to me has been good, whether prosperity or hardship. Powerful blessings have come through His word, His people, prayer and many troubles.
To this day, I still see the light in my mind's eye regularly, as a memory. But except for telling a few people, I kept silent about the light for decades. That silence began to change ten years ago when I started sharing about the light in a very limited and very safe way.
Then, seven years ago something strange began to happen. I began to see the fire and the light in my mind's eye every morning when I woke up. This continued for two years. I concluded that God wanted my silence regarding the light to end, and it did.
One isn't a Christian because of being born into a Christian family or because that is the predominant religion in the nation of one's birth. One doesn't become a Christian by adopting a particular moral code or by going to church. To become a Christian, one must be born again.
Jesus said, '" Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see God's Kingdom." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into God's Kingdom. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.' The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit"' John 3:3-8).
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Christian, see "How to Become a Christian" in the appendix (subchapter A1). With the exception of subchapter A1, every chapter and subchapter in this book assumes that the reader is a Christian.
If you are a child of God and want to have intimate fellowship with Him... to walk by the Spirit... click the arrow at the top right of this screen to read the introduction to this book, Fellowship with God in the Sixth Path. What God has prepared for you is beyond your wildest imagination.