I’ve been fortunate to have many people of different faiths and yes some atheists who frequent this site. Yesterday my friend Ask an Atheist commented after this comment from me.
I know the God of the Bible personally.
AAA said this:
I’d like to hear more about that. That might be a good idea for a new topic: asking Christians (and other theists who might be here) to describe their personal relationship with God.
I told him that he didn’t have to twist my arm so here it is:
I became a follower of Jesus when I was 5 years old. My parents shared with me after church one day how I could know God personally, so I asked Jesus to become the leader of my life. I know for certain that my decision to follow Jesus was real because I was never a rebellious child. I 1st saw God move in a mighty way through me while I was in Jr. High School. I prayed that God would lead my best friend to Christ and using a comic book called “The Late Great Planet Earth” my friend asked Jesus to live in his life.
However I did experience some spiritual snobbery. I began to look down on people who didn’t live a life that I thought honored Christ. I was a Pharisee. You can read about that whole experience here.
God revealed himself to me personally on many occasions. I should have been killed on several times. I was kidnapped by a Brokeback Cowboy. I’ve been in my share of car accidents and have been in the middle of a shootout between one of America’s 10 most wanted and the FBI. For some reason God protected me.
In college God began to speak to me through His word. I have never heard an audible voice from God but I know for certain that He spoke to me. One occasion was the summer before my Senior year at Samford University. I was on a summer beach project with Campus Outreach. We spent the summer training for ministry and working full time jobs. I don’t know how to explain it but God was rocking my world. One night I was praying and I was giving things to God like my girlfriend, my education, my health, my family and my car. My car was a 1966 Ford Mustang, white with red interior. My dad and I were restoring this beauty and I had just put brand new Firestone 721 raised white letter tires on my car and charged it to my first credit card. I prayed this prayer at 11:00 PM. I went to bed by 11:30 PM and my discipleship leader woke me up at 12:30 AM and asked if I let someone borrow my car. I said no. He said someone just drove off in it. To make matters worse, my car was parked next to a Lancia convertible with the top down and the keys in the ignition. Some may say that was coincidence but I say it was God seeing if I was really serious. To add insult to injury I had no theft insurance and have never recovered that car.
I was delivering newspapers for the Birmingham News in Birmingham, AL. I was a graduate student at the Univeristy of Alabama @ Birmingham. I was paying my way thru college delivering 4 paper routes. I had just bought an engagement ring for Cassandra (my lovely wife of 18 years). Cassandra and I were studying at my apartment with Bob Webb (my roomate) when I received a call from a customer whose dog ate their paper. Why that was my fault, I’ll never know. I went to deliver them another one, but by this time it was dark. I was driving down one of the mountains in Birmingham (Homewood), listening to my Allies Cassette when an object crashed on my windshield out of nowhere. I slamed on the brakes and the object flew through the air about 15 feet in front of me. I leaped out of the car only to see a man lying on the pavement. Then a young lady yelled at me, “you’ve killed him.” A man literally jumped on my car. He had committed suicide. Unfortunately he died a few days later.
This was the hardest thing I have ever faced. I cried in my shower for weeks to come–maybe even months. I still have a hard time driving at night. Whenever I see a TV show or movie that shows a person being hit by a car it brings back bad memories.
But right then in the midst of tragedy God was at work. I had been attending Shades Mountain Baptist Church for years, but Cassandra was a member of Dawson Memorial Baptist in Homewood, AL. You know how it is when you are dating, you end up at your girlfriends church and I was no different. I had been going to Dawson eventhough I was a member of Shades. The first people to arrive at the scene of my accident was an ministry team from Dawson. One of them was an Associate Pastor there. They did so much that week it was unbelievable. They ministered to me in a great time of need.
The people at Dawson took care of me all week so I decided to join the church that Sunday. I was already going there, I may as well get involved with what God was doing. Little did I know the team from Dawson was ministering to the girlfriend of the man who committed suicide on my car all week long. Sunday morning during the invitation I walked down one isle of the church to join and the girlfriend of the man was walking down another to accept Christ into her life. The whole day was surreal. I still remember it like it was yesterday. The staff was crying and many others were too. God used an older couple that morning to minister to me because they had run over someone 2 months before.
It was a tragic event and I wish it had never happened. But God used it to lead a young lady to Christ. He used it to shape and mold me. He continues to use pain to shape me. I love Philip Yancey and his book “Where is God when it Hurts.” He says that pain is actually a good thing. Without it we would hurt ourselves. It warns us when we need to make adjustments. God has used my pain to help others. I have had the chance to minister to at least a half dozen people who have experienced similar accidents as I did. Only someone who has gone through something like this can understand. He has used it to make me more like Him. I am grateful that God loves me that much.
Then after I got married and was working in the business world I was working for an Insulated Wire company traveling across the southeastern US. God was dealing with me about going into vocational ministry. I was out running on the beach in Florida and praying. I gave things to God again. You would think I would have learned my lesson. But I gave God my car (it was a company car), my house, my wife, my health and my job. This was on a Thursday and I flew back home to Alabama and went into work Monday morning. I was told by my boss that our whole sales force was being let go! I started laughing because I knew God had spoken.
I’ve asked God to meet specific financial needs and we had the exact amounts sent to us in the mail by people who had no idea what we needed. God speaks to me every day through His Word and when I pray every day.