DISCLAIMER: this is a newly revised version of my testimony of how I came to Christ. I originally wrote it in 2012, I believe.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come..”
For at least a year, probably closer to two, I would read the aforementioned Scripture, conveniently replicated on a wooden placard in the lavatory of Karl and Le Ann Johnson’s former home.
Every time I read the words, 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, frankly, it scared me to death. That attainment also alluded me because I didn’t believe.
Not wholeheartedly. Not the way I desperately needed to.
And though I’d read God’s Word in the hopes that perhaps one day I’d gain some semblance of truth and understanding, hindsight tells me 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, many years later. More importantly, Tanya shared that belief.
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, why couldn’t I put faith in the unknown? Because admitting you’re no longer in control and must surrender one’s self to a higher power was terrifying, mostly because it was both the hardest and easiest things I’ve ever done. The fact of the matter was, there was one essential fact–one obstacle– that seemed insurmountable: I believed everything recorded in the Bible save one: the Virgin Birth. I know now that the enemy was using that crux to hold me at bay, in the hope that I’d perpetually remain in that stasis. I felt like the lies of the Evil One kept me in some form of purgatory limbo. The seals still covered my eyes. I couldn’t fathom how such a feat was possible. Immaculate conception, you know? Science and logic tell us it’s impossible, and it is. But those were unprecedented times. The Heavenly Father used Mary and Joseph to bring into the world His Son, Jesus, through supernatural means.
It’s important to note that I wasn’t completely ignorant of the Bible. I’d grown up in a Christian home. Throughout my formative years, I’d even gone so far as to invite the Lord into my heart, on more than one occasion. Yet, I felt nothing. They’d all been done under false pretenses.
Seeking answers more intensely than ever before, 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 lie 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 terribly wrong. 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 was shedding them for me, as if to cleanse my very soul.
During all this, a recollection suddenly occurred: our marriage councilor, Raul Figueroa, once said, “Whenever you need God to show Himself, just ask Him, and He will.”
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 word of the Bible was true. Jesus was born of a virgin, died for the transgressions of the world, rose three days later, and ascended into heaven. Why? Because He loves us. That love endures forever.
Finally emerging from the fog that was my existence, I rushed toward my beautiful Tanya, telling her I needed to talk. Only after I told her what had happened was she relieved. Immensely relieved. We proceeded to pray together, which provided much love and comfort. But what I really 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 nearly thirty-three years. Afterwards, it was like an immense weight had been lifted. I’d never felt so liberated, and no experience since has matched it. Nothing ever will. From that second on, I knew that I was no longer a prisoner to sin. The precious blood of Jesus 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 again, Le Ann, for the consistent reminder via the Scriptures, and for your heartfelt and cherished words: “There is no testimony without a test.” Nine years later, I remember those words still, with fondness in my heart.)
Prior to being saved, the Apostle Paul’s words as seen in 2 Corinthians 5:17 meant next to nothing. I was spiritually dead. When 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.