Monday, July 28, 2008

Atheism, part three: Cartwheels

******For those of you who have not read my previous posts on this topic, please click here for part one, and here for part two. The previous posts include important parts of my story, and it will give you all the background info if you read them first.*****

Taken from part two:

"But God had bigger plans for me.
And God loves me.
Learning about God’s love continues to be a journey, and the more I get to know my God, the more passionate I am about his love. You see, God picked me. I was working against God, not for him, and yet he picked me. God even wooed me. I like to describe it as 'God did cartwheels for me.'”................

When I was 18, one of my best friends informed me that she was now a “born-again-Christian.” Please take note within your heart to see if you cringed at that expression: “born-again-Christian.” If you did, your heart may be in a similar place to mine at that time. I was hurt and betrayed by my friend who had “gone crazy and lost it!!” She was the first person to share with me the fact that God was more like a loving father than a distant, separated dictator. She bluntly informed me that, according to the bible, I was going to go to hell when I died. As much as we would like to soften the blow of this truth, my friend was speaking the truth of the Word. It is true that maybe she could have delivered the truth to me in a different way, but God used this seed of truth nonetheless. If I had continued on my path, I would be facing eternity in hell. As you can imagine, however, I was not overjoyed at the information my friend gave to me. I was definitely offended. More accurately, I was furious. Furious, as in: the way you feel when you are forced to face an ugly truth about yourself.
But God was just doing cartwheels.

When I was in college, I experienced many overwhelming trials and heartache. At one point, I was completely broken down and in a deep depression for about 6 months. In retrospect, I believe God was softening my heart, and making me aware of that void we all have in our hearts that can only be filled by a Holy Lord. Another cartwheel. It was at this time that I met two individuals who would greatly influence my acceptance of Christ.

Carol was in several of my music classes at Indiana University, and we got along really well. She was always cheery and friendly, with a contagious laugh that was used often. We became study partners and friends, and I loved her company. I just did not understand how she was so happy all of the time. This world is not an easy place, and I felt no compelling reason to be happy every day. But I noticed, and I watched, as Carol lived each day joyfully and thankfully. I will never forget the moment that I asked her, “Carol, why are you so happy all of the time?” and she gave me her heartfelt answer:
“Because of Jesus.”

And God did another cartwheel.

That was when I started my search for answers. I asked Carol so many questions, and she gave me answers based on biblical truth. I definitely did not have all of the answers, of course. Who does? God alone! Still, I could not help but notice that my other “born-again” friend had been teaching me many of the same things. God seemed to be consistent. Both of my friends held to the truths of Christ’s love for me, and my heart was open this time. Carol encouraged me to head to the Bible and read the Gospels.

God’s greatest cartwheel came at the moment I opened and read His word for the first time. It was when I read these words:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John, chapter 13, verses 34 through 35)

It was at that moment that I saw God for the first time. His Holy Spirit filled me as I confessed this thought; “No man could have written these words. No man could have taught such love. No man could have loved us this way, No mere human could have given his life for even those who hate him… Only God could do these things.” And in that instant, I believed.
He saved me.
"it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and it is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." -Ephesians 2:8

At the same time, there was another person who had entered my life. He was a quieter, steadier voice for God’s cartwheels. And he led by example.
to be continued.....

1 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Angel said...

Great stuff! Angel