Friday, September 5, 2014

I Have Found Jesus! (the not so miraculous stories)

Bible Study reconvened Wednesday night after a long summer break, and with it - a new study. For the next 8 weeks, we'll be discussing spiritual gifts. In our introductory lesson last night, there was a focus on the miracle of conversion. Stories were shared in the accompanying video about how someone found Christ after years of being enslaved to drugs and alcohol, and about how this discovery completely changed his life, and eventually the lives of others.

Stories were shared within the group of people who had similar experiences.

Please do not misunderstand this post - I am not saying such miraculous conversions don't take place. It is very possible someone finds Jesus, and their life is completely turned around at the snap of a finger.

However, it is not always this way, nor does it need to be.

My own story is one of these not-so-miraculous tales

I have always had Jesus. I was born to a family of believers. Despite their own shortcomings (alcohol, abuse, etc.), they were believers. I was baptized as an infant and attended church during my early years. We prayed before meals, and at bedtime. I just always believed.

But, as what happens with many of us who have grown up believing, I have had little episodes of "oh hey! This is what it means to be Christian!" or "Ah ha! God is with me!" or "Hot diggity! I AM a beloved child of God!"

One of these episodes was when I was around 11 or 12 years old, when I was in the care of a couple who always spoke of God. It made me want to learn more. Another episode was when I was 15 or 16. A youth pastor was very influential and revived my desire to know Christ. I began teaching Sunday School to mentally disabled children and adults, and loved going to Church again. The biggest (and longest) episode started about two and a half years ago, and lasted until six months ago, when another influential Pastor came into my life and revived my desire to have a relationship with Christ.

At no point did any of these little episodes suddenly, miraculously, turn my life around. They were just little spurts in my spiritual growth. And I continue growing. Sometimes, true, just like a child gaining in height, the growth is minimal or non-existent. Sometimes, it's slow but steady. And sometimes, it's a growth spurt.

Why remember your story? Why tell it? 

The short story is - it doesn't matter if it's a miraculous event that brings you to your knees and turns your life around; or if it's a slow and steady (and sometimes stagnant or quick) growth. What matters is the story. But why? Why is the story so important?

For yourself - it is important (in my opinion) to look back on your spiritual growth. What was happening in your life when growth ceased? What was happening when there was a growth spurt? Sometimes, things that trigger a slip in faith may happen again, and we can be better prepared, knowing these are the times to pray harder rather than let that faith slip again.

For others - telling our stories makes us real, and helps others see God as real. When we share our stories (even those which may seem mundane to those who've experienced the miraculous conversion), we share God with others. When we share the not-so-incredible stories, those who are like us realize their story - their walk with Christ - is just as valuable and important and precious.

So, remember your own story. Look back on your own walk with Christ. Remember that every dip and every climb is equally important and special. And share your stories!

God bless!

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