“YOU TALK TO GOD?” the husband of a friend interrupted as I related a story to her about this journey into the wilderness with the Lord.
“Well, yes I do,” I answered, “and I understand if you think I’m crazy because I felt the same way until I actually met him and he spoke to me.”
The atheist was respectful when he asked how I actually met God.
I explained the night of embarrassment back in 1990, where I was sitting in my living room after just telling company that I was a Christian.
“Out of thin air,” I said, “and without expectation, I heard Jesus call my name. I looked around to see if anyone noticed, which they didn’t as they talked amongst themselves; and Jesus continued with a question. ‘Why do you call yourself Christian?’
“It was a rhetorical question because Jesus had purpose in his visit. Before I could give him a list of reasons why I was a Christian—having gone to church for two decades already and trying to be a good person, and other things that would only embarrass me further—he took me on a whirlwind trip through my life.
“We didn’t stop at the places where I had blatantly failed to live up to God’s standards, which surprised me as I thought about that evening over the weeks that followed. Instead, we stopped at places that proved I did not know him as I had said I did.”
The atheist was piqued.
“For example, I hid the boyfriend’s clothes hanging in my closet from my parents when they visited, but it didn’t matter to me what God thought. Nor that the boyfriend was a married man,” I said.
“I was the kind of Christian that believed I had license to do as I pleased with the assurance that all my sins are forgiven because of God’s grace. So I made the boyfriend go to church with me every Sunday morning, for a full fifty-nine minutes, where I could silently pray for forgiveness and then get back to my real life.
“I was a fraud, and even so, I was afraid to admit it to my company and I didn’t tell them about the very strange encounter with the Lord because, right before Jesus left my presence, he said something else. ‘I want your life.’”
The atheist smiled. Or maybe smirked as he crossed his arms.
“I know it sounds crazy,” I continued, “but if the Lord ever visits you, you’ll understand. I answered Jesus with a simple ‘Okay’, and then spent the next several weeks waiting to see if I was destined for the next slow boat to India to work with Mother Teresa. Or stand on a street corner like I had just come out of the desert with bulging eyes holding a sign proclaiming the end of time.”
I never tire of telling the story of how I became a Jesus follower. And as I look back over the last three decades of a personal relationship with a real God who loved me enough to stop running the world momentarily to reveal himself to me, I am still baffled by the question that rolls around in my head. ‘Why in the world would you want the life of a woman who still has such little faith?’
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.–1 Corinthians 2:14
As always, it is my intent and hope that my words may encourage you wherever you are in your journey.
If you were asked, how would you answer why you call yourself Christian?
Has the Lord made it clear to you that he wants your life?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below or go to the group tab above to share your own experience. It only takes a minute of your time to register (and you can be anonymous), and your words may help others.
If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.–Jesus(Mark 4:23)