I have struggled with my relationship and belief in Jesus Christ all my life. As a matter of fact, to me “Jesus Christ” was simply a term of frustration that I used often. I was born baptist, so it has always been up to me to accept Christ as my savior and be baptized. Funny, I never had any problem with the Big Fellow, but was Jesus really any more the son of God than I was?
I had often seen people, men and women, who welled-up when they talked about their Savior, tears streamed down their faces freely. What was that all about? Did I even want that? As a matter of fact, I did. I was jealous, why did God love them so much more than me? Were they better than me, had I sinned too many times and I was not enough anymore, did I not pray enough or correctly?
Feeling remorseful, when I sobered up a bit, in my late twenties, I visited a family friend who was also an Episcopal Preist and begged him to convince me that I had a Savior who died for me and that I would be forgiven for all my sins, as there were many! After several months of weekly conversations with my friend, Father Phill through his hands up and said; “Just do it, take the leap and be baptized. What have you got to lose?” To this, I replied; “But, Father, you said I had to believe it with my heart and I am not yet convinced.”
Eventually, I was baptized by Father Phill, but only when I decided to have my children baptized so that they would not have to go through the same conflict of deciding like the baptist had forced me to do. However, it did not change the way I felt. I still did not believe that Christ was anymore my Savior then the Beatles were.
Later, after decades of drug and alcohol abuse and eventually years of working the twelve steps to build a personal relationship with God, my belief was not only much more untrusting than before.
One more time, God disappointed me, and I relapsed yet again, this time landing in prison. The prison was hot, very hot, like 130 degrees hot. The only air conditioning building that I was allowed to visit was the chapel, so I went to church.
As I sat there enjoying the cool air, I heard Jesus say; “I died for you.” To which I replied; “Yeah, yeah I know.” Then He said; “No, I don’t think you understand. I died just for you.” Then I felt the Holy Spirit come into my soul from the top of my head and plant Himself in my body and to this day He has never left. What a trip! I have never been the same.
This I can only explain as an act of Grace from my God to me, because I certainly didn’t deserve it and I did nothing to receive or even expect it. He gave it to me when I most needed it when I most needed Him.
Today, I walk with confidence because I know I am not alone and I know that I have a God that Loves ME so very, very much that He died just for ME!