Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Weeks, and Not

It is two weeks until my birthday and it is not.A contemporary birthday cakeImage via Wikipedia

Forty-seven years ago, after an evening out with some friends, the yellow and green shag carpet of my bedroom crumpled up under my knees as I knelt beside my bed, but I didn't feel it.

I don't remember what drew me to my knees and I don't remember what I said as I knelt there in prayer, but I remember how I felt as I stood up.

I had grown up in church.

My grandparents were both Salvation Army officers so my mother made sure that all of us were in church each Sunday. From the eighth grade I attended a very strict Christian school in which memorization of large portions of Scripture were a required part of the curriculum. I am sure my school history and my church history is why I am now familiar with large portions of the Bible and so many of the old hymns.

As a youth I witnessed for my church and gave my "testimony". I remember sitting up in the holly tree by our driveway carefully writing my "testimony" that I was to give later in a Youth Service at church. I suppose I had to write it all down, because I surely couldn't give it from the heart. In my head, I knew the truth of the Lord Jesus and I would say it was truth, even that I believed it. But it had never made it into my heart to change my life. Yes, I had once prayed that God would save me from burning in hell, but that was not the prayer that was needed.

In later years, my heart began to be bitter and to love rebellion. My sister has always called me a "non-conformist" and I would rebel against authority for the sheer enjoyment of the rebellion. Enrolled in a school with extremely strict rules, I was often used by the teachers to set an example of what happens when you break the rules. My dress hem was often ripped out (because my dress was too short) and my makeup (forbidden) washed off. Needless to say, I saw the Principal's office often.

Then on August 19, 1973, the truth of the God Jesus Christ becoming the man Jesus Christ and dying for my sins sunk into my heart. It took me to my knees in the quiet of my own bedroom and I arose from that spot a new creature. My heart was completely different from the person who had knelt there before and I knew it to be so.

I no longer wanted to defy the authorities in my life, but I had a true desire to obey. The teachers at school immediately noticed the different attitude and I was glad to tell them that I had gotten my heart "right with God."

It has been a long path these thirty-seven years. Sometimes the path has been through the darkest of night. Sometimes it has been on the high mountain tops. Sometimes it has been through the driest desert. Sometimes I have willfully walked my own way and had to stumble back into merciful and loving arms waiting for me. But all the while, I have known that on that day in August 1973, I was made a "new creature". There was something birthed in me that was as unshakable as the birth that occurred to me in September of 1957.

So yes, my birthday is in two weeks, but no, my birthday is today.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

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