Recently I was scrolling through Facebook when I spotted this Bible Verse in a meme: “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19, NLT).
You may say, “Well Victoria, so what? I see lots of Bible verses in memes on Facebook.” It’s not unusual for me to see quite a few Bible based memes because I am a Christian, and I like many Facebook pages that are Christian based. But, it’s when I come across someone on my Facebook friends list that has, as far as I know, never posted any Bible verses or Christian related memes before, nor have they talked about having faith before, well that’s when I stop and ponder. My husband also knows this particular Facebook friend, so we discussed this posting. He too did not recall any conversations with this person before regarding faith.
That then lead us to talk about how people come to faith in Christ. In coming to faith in Christ, there are some ordinary, maybe mundane stories, and there are some rather extraordinary stories.
I’ve stated before that faith has always been part of my life, as I knew from a young age that Jesus was my Savior. I can’t quite put my finger on just how I knew, it’s just that I knew it. God was pursuing me as long back as I can remember. My faith in Jesus really could not be attributed to either of my parents. My Mom & Dad, in round about ways, indicated that they believed in God, but I really didn’t see them practice faith. Sure when we were kids and one of the three of us did something wrong, and no one would own up to the wrong doing, then out would come the Bible (pretty much the only times we saw the Bible at our house). One by one, we would have to swear on the Bible that we had not committed whatever offense happened. When I think back on those incidents it seemed to me that it was more of a punishment when the Bible came out. They gave us kids images that if we swore on the Bible and we lied about what we did wrong then perhaps God was going to strike us dead right then and there. In my opinion, that’s not a good image to give children about God. Occasionally my parents would get on the kick of taking us to Church, and I think it was either because things were not going well, or they felt somewhat guilty. I loved going to Church, however those times were short-lived and soon enough we were no longer attending Church. And, the Church we attended was too far away for me to be able to get there myself. So, I guess that I would say that my story is not one of those “Saul/Paul” type experiences – nothing big and earth shattering, no big crisis, brought me to the faith.
My husband’s faith journey was different from mine. As a child he attended Church pretty much every Sunday, when he was under the care of his Grandparents. Then he moved across Canada to live with his mother and her second husband, and they didn’t go to church. He wouldn’t attend church again until he was back living with a cousin. They attended church every Sunday, so Jim was back in church again. Then one time when Jim was at a vacation cottage with another cousin, they got talking about God, and his cousin Gary led Jim into a relationship with Jesus. Jim tells me, and I just learned this for the first time a few minutes ago, that he was laying on the floor with his eyes closed and was praying. At the time he asked Jesus to be his savior, he had the sensation that his body was rising up off of the floor. Jim says that he felt that if he opened his eyes that he would find that he was several feet off of the floor. He knows that he really wasn’t off of the floor, but that was the sensation that he felt at the time.
Then there’s stories from other people that I heard. We were in acquaintance with a man who was brought up as an atheist. This particular man (for the purposes of this discussion we will call him Mike) loves the outdoors, loves to be in nature. Mike liked nature so much that when he grew up he became a scientist. Somewhere in his life Mike found out that he had an incurable disease. When faced with the disease, along with evidence that he saw in nature, Mike got thinking about how nature got the way it is. And, in my opinion, I think it got Mike to ponder about God from the perspective of intelligent design. Even the simplest things in nature are really complex when you examine them under a microscope, and the possibility of simple things becoming complex through the theory of evolution proved to have too many holes in it for Mike. Eventually Mike talked to God and told God that if he would be cured of this incurable illness then Mike would follow God all the rest of the days of his life. Mike says that God cured him from the incurable disease, and there’s no other possible explanation than God’s curing. No misdiagnosis from doctors, he truly had the incurable disease, and now he doesn’t. Good to his word, Mike is an avid follower of Christ to this day.
Then there’s the story I read just this morning about two women who went to the grocery store together. When they got in line with their cart, God told one of the women to buy the groceries of the older woman, who was shopping with her adult daughter, who was in front of them in the checkout line. They heeded the prompting and purchased the groceries. The older woman and her daughter were surprised when they said “God told us to purchase your groceries.” The older woman and her daughter left the store with the groceries. A few minutes later the older woman came back in the store and explained to them that her daughter had been in an abusive relationship and doubted that God cared about her. The daughter had prayed that God show her in some way that He cared about her. The purchase of those groceries, along with the message of “God told us to purchase your groceries,” had broken through to her daughter. It’s a rather amazing story of how God meets us where we are and demonstrates his love towards us, his beloved children.
Some of us become believers because, like me, we’ve always known that God wants us to be with Him. Others are pulled into faith when facing devastating circumstances, when the life that they know unravels, and it appears that faith in Christ is the one thing, the only thing, that makes sense. For our Facebook friend, we don’t exactly know the what’s and why’s of their faith journey. Maybe someday we’ll find out.
How about you, what’s your story about how you came to faith in God, what turned you into a believer of Jesus?