“A Humble Confession”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come..”
For at least a year, possibly two, I would read the above verse, conveniently replicated on a wooden placard in the lavatory of Karl and Le Ann Johnson’s former home.
Every time I read the words, however, that’s all they ever were: mere words with no meaning. And though I’d long since desired an understanding of who Christ is– and all that He stands for– the notion of accepting Him as my Lord and personal savior quite frankly, scared me to death. It also alluded me, because I didn’t believe.
Not wholeheartedly, anyway.
Admittedly, I’d read God’s Word in the hopes that perhaps one day, I’d gain some semblance of truth and understanding. In hindsight, they were all feeble attempts.
Throughout this dark time in my life, Tanya Frueh and I regularly attended church. In fact, there were several powerful sermons which felt very much as if they’d been delivered from God, conveyed through Pastor Doug Sherman, so that I might hear and ultimately, believe. I believed that then, and hold firm in said belief, nearly two years later. More importantly, Tanya believes that he was speaking directly to me, as well.
Having said that, one might be curious as to what, exactly, continually held me back? If I genuinely believed in virtually every aspect of God’s Word (all but one, that is,) why couldn’t I put faith in the unknown? Because admitting that you’re no longer in control and must surrender yourself to a Higher Power is terrifying beyond words. It’s also one of the hardest things we can do. And quite simply: I did not believe in the Virgin Birth. I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around the logistics (or lack thereof) of this phenomenal occurrence. It’s as simple as that.
I think it’s important to note that I wasn’t completely ignorant of the Bible. I’d grown up in a Christian home, after all. Throughout my formative years, I’d even gone so far as to invited the Lord into my heart… more times than I can recollect, actually. Yet, I felt nothing. They’d all been done under false pretenses.
Desperately seeking answers, the world around me began to crumble, like jagged pieces of glass, flying with no direction. My marriage to Tanya, and all that it entailed; the things I once felt incredibly passionate about. There things, and more, came to a gradual decline. The pieces weren’t just missing, we were trying to reconstruct different puzzles.
Hopelessness reigned. A part of me had even begun to doubt the plausibility of Acceptance. Day after miserable day, I’d lay in bed, accomplishing nothing, angry at God for allowing all the strife to happen. Worst of all, I resented the fact that He wouldn’t permit me to see Him for what He actually is: the one and only trilateral god whom, through a virgin birth, took on flesh, shedding His blood for all of mankind. So that we may live!
Then on June 23, 2011, when all seemed lost, when we could endure no more, the Lord spoke in that ever child-like voice of His: “With God, nothing is impossible.”
Immediately shaking my head in agreement, I responded the only way any of us can. I prayed aloud that He’d somehow rectify all that had gone awry. But I didn’t stop there. I couldn’t. As I continued to pray, I became misty-eyed, and heavy tears left my eyes. Then crying out in pain, to take the pain away, it then felt as if God were shedding them for me, as if to cleanse my very soul.
Several moments lapsed before a recollection occurred: our marriage councilor, Raul Figueroa, once said, “Whenever you need God to show Himself, just ask Him, and He will.”
Suddenly inspired, and knowing it must be done, I followed his advice. As a result, the Holy Spirit manifested in an astounding way. In my mind’s eye, I saw all the evidence I’d been searching for all along. I just knew that every single word of the Bible is true. Jesus was born of a virgin, died for the transgressions of the world, rose three days later, and ascended into heaven. Because He loves us!
Finally emerging from the fog that was my existence, I rushed toward my beautiful Tanya, telling her I needed to talk. Naturally, she assumed the worst (not that I blame you, babe, I would have done the same.) Only after I told her what had transpired did she feel relieved. We proceeded to pray together, which provided much love and comfort. But what I really craved– no, NEEDED– was salvation.
Quickly locating an apt prayer, she read the words aloud, and I recited them, all the while feeling completely secure in my faith for the first time in my life. Afterwards, it was like an immense weight had been lifted. I’d never felt so liberated, and no experience since has come close to matching it. I doubt one ever will. From that second on, I knew that I was no longer a prisoner to sin. The precious blood of Jesus Christ set me free. He’ll do the same for you.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
(Thank you, once again, Le Ann, for the consistent reminder via the Scripture, and for your heartfelt and cherished words: “There is no testimony without a test.” They still mean the world to me.)
Prior to being saved, the Apostle Paul’s words as seen in 2 Corinthians 5:17 meant next to nothing. I was spiritually dead. Whenever I read them now, they warm my heart, serving as a reminder of who I once was, who I am now, and where I’m going.