Monday, January 2, 2017
An encounter with Jesus is life changing. Gives it a new direction. Creates a new purpose for living. Shapes it in ways never before imagined. Begins a journey that can be hard and unpredictable. When I begin to remember the many encounters with Jesus, one stands out head and shoulders above the others. It is the one that marked the setting forth on a journey of faith that has lasted a lifetime. Shortly before my high school graduation, I heard a preacher at a business meeting of the church say in his devotional, "If you see a need and realize you can do something to meet that need and do nothing, you may be neglecting the call of God on your life."
It was a word I could not shake. It became more for me than just the word of a visiting preacher. When the church stuff was over, I went next door to the parsonage which was home, knelt by my bed and said "Yes" to Jesus. I remember the confession of my sins, I remember the strong sense of my need for Jesus in my life, and I knew in that moment that saying, "Yes" was the only thing which made sense. It has been fifty years since that night, but it was a moment of encountering Jesus in such a way that my life going forth was shaped and directed in an undeniable way. There are some decisions we make and wish we might have a "do-over" but there has never been any regret in my life over that single decision I made just before I turned eighteen.
To be honest is to acknowledge that there is nothing special about my own word of witness. It is the witness of ages of people who have discovered that Jesus was standing there in front of them with the power to make life totally different. In many ways my life has seemed rather ordinary compared to some of the ways God has worked in the lives of others, but what I know is that He made Himself known to me at a moment when my heart was ready and thankfully divine grace and good sense prevailed to bring me to a place where something never before done could be done in my life.