This story is a mere snapshot of one person’s conversion to the Christian faith. Truthfully, words can never fully encapsulate the extraordinary moment one honestly converts to Christianity. Regardless, this is an attempt to put into words my personal story of conversion.
Although I grew up in a Christian home, Christianity was always my parents’ religion and I only went to church because they forced me to go. To me, church was merely rituals and ceremonies. It offered nothing I was willing to accept.
Honestly, I can now unravel my religious beliefs at the time – I had none. However, I was not completely opposed to the possibility that God existed…I just did not “know” if there was a God or not. I was open to the idea, but needed proof of his existence. Ultimately, my worldview at the time could best be labeled as agnostic.
Consequently, to fully understand my journey to Christianity, it is helpful to become acquainted with some background information about my life.
As a teenager I was beyond rebellious, which landed me in an assortment of troubles. In high school, I was once suspended for possession of drugs. I failed my junior year and nearly failed high school entirely. To boot, I had a knack for choosing the worst friends who always were up to no good.
However, after graduating in the bottom 10% of my senior class in 1988, I decided to enter the military. Surprisingly, the Army said “yes” and took me.
About eighteen months later, America invaded the tiny Central American nation of Panama. Unfortunately, I was injured during the combat parachute jump, which would forever change my life.
Now, you might think God and eternity would have crossed my mind at least once while laying upon the battlefield injured. True, it would be a remarkable story of Christian conversion if I had accepted the claims of Christianity while injured and laying under a hail of gunfire, but unfortunately I did not. Obviously, I did survive the experience, but by 1991 I had been released from the Army because of my worsening injuries.
Sad to say, I was twenty-one years old with no job, not much money, and a variety of arthritic joints. To boot, I already had one failed “Army” marriage under my belt. All in all, it was not a promising set of circumstances and it certainly was not my glory days. Regardless, my life moved forward, because backwards is never a good option.
I met my current wife of eighteen years not long thereafter and she must have recognized some redeeming qualities in me, because we were married the following year. By 2000, I had managed to attend college and build a reasonably decent career in the field of public safety. In spite of having a great family and a good paying job, I struggled with finding true satisfaction in life.
Around the same time, someone invited me to attend a revival at a local Christian church. Now, I had not been in church in over a decade, with the only exceptions being weddings and funerals. Surprisingly, I accepted the invitation, so we went to church.
During the service, God spoke to my soul. I do not mean that He audibly spoke to me. But rather, He opened my soul and mind to the understanding that He is real. It is vital to understand that the moment was not a purely emotional experience, although it did have an emotional element. A better way to categorize the experience is a spiritual awakening in my soul. It was a spiritual and mental recognition that God is real, His Son is real, and the claims in the Bible are real.
God extended His grace to me, offering the gifts of mercy and forgiveness. In an instance, the words of the Bible became true to me, as I realized that I could never be good enough to work my way into heaven. The Bible became genuinely alive with authenticity and deep meaning, not just words jotted down by a writer of antiquity. I understood that Jesus was at the door of my heart, but I had to invite Him into my life.
I believe that God recognized my longing for the truth. He understood that I longed to know whether or not He existed. The fact is that there cannot be more than one truth, so either the Bible is true or false. Either I accepted that between its covers it holds the ultimate truth, or I rejected it as a book of lies.
At last, I understood that it is not crazy to believe that a God-Man named Jesus walked this earth 2,000 years ago. It is not crazy to believe that He allowed men to kill Him in order to provide a sacrifice for our wrongdoings. It is not crazy to believer that in order to have justice for our violations against God, someone had to pay the price. So God allowed His own Son to be nailed to a cross and be crucified in our place.
It is strange that I did not need to be a Bible scholar to understand these truths. Just a simple childlike faith was needed to recognize and accept the ultimate truth.
So, if anyone is longing for the truth, I challenge you to ask God to reveal it you. Genuinely seek whether the claims of the Bible are real or false. Genuinely seek if God and His Son are real. However, do so with an open mind and an open heart.
In the end, you might be surprised what you find.
John 3:16; 10:9; 14:6
Romans 3:23; 6:23
I John 2:23; 4:14