I was looking forward to spending the evening with my friends, going to a movie. The summer was almost over and that meant soon I would be back under the hard rules of the strict Christian school I attended. I wanted to have as much fun as I could before I was back in prison.
You see I was a stubborn, headstrong, rebellious teenager. I didn't like rules. I liked to break them, just for Image via Wikipediathe sake of doing so. It wasn't because I wasn't taught differently. I had grown up in church. . . my mother had made sure all of her children were in church every Sunday. Often we would go to hear my grandfather, who was a Salvation Army officer, preach at his church.
I knew the Bible, both through years of church and through my Christian school where we would have to memorize passages of Scripture. I would even argue doctrine with my Sunday School teachers, not because I felt so passionately about a particular doctrine, but because if there was an authority figure, I wanted to challenge it (except for my father, who seemed to have Protected Citizen status in my heart). If I had to find one word to describe how I felt then it would be angry. Little did I know that on that summer evening when I was looking for fun, my life was going to change dramatically.
I went to the movie with my friends and I don't remember what else we did that night, but at the moment of my curfew, I came home. (While I challenged authority at every opportunity, I had learned not to challenge the iron will of my mother.) The Lord had been dealing with my heart for weeks and especially that evening, and now, alone in my bedroom, there was no escaping His call. I realized that even though I had known much about the Lord Jesus --after all, I could quote long passages of the Bible -- I did not know the Person of the Bible. I knew of Him, but I did not know Him.
In a moment I was on my knees and all my pride, my rebellion and my guilt were left at the foot of the cross. The Lord of the Lords came to dwell in my puny little heart and a miracle occurred. The moment He came into my heart the old me was "crucified with Him", and raised again, a "new creature," "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
I opened my eyes to a new world, a new life. There was no doubt in my mind that I was a different person, my heart was different. I felt like a balloon -- the weight of my sin and guilt was gone and I was free from the anger and rebellion that so ensnared me. I was happy, truly happy. And my desires were different. Now I wanted to please those authorities rather than fight them.
A few weeks later I started the new school year with a new attitude. Now, because the Lord Jesus was resident in my heart, I wanted to obey the authority instead of challenge and mock it. I sought to follow each rule as closely as I could. One of my teachers noticed the change and asked me what had made the difference. I was glad to tell Him that I had met the Lord.
Thirty-eight years later, I still have that joy and peace in my heart. Never once have I not found the Lord to be what I needed Him to be. I wish I could say there was never I time when I stumbled or fell, but those times were due to my failing, not His. Each time He was there to lovingly help me up and set me back upon the right path, to make that path "plain before my face."
There have been many things in my life about which I thought I was absolutely certain, and then changed my mind. I have laughed at how many times I have said "I'll never. . ." and then ended up doing that very thing. But one thing I am certain about, one thing my heart, my mind and my soul hangs upon in every minute of every day that will never change. The Lord Jesus is Who and what He says He is and He will be Who and what He says He is in every moment of my life. He is and will be abundantly sufficient for me.
Trust in the Lord always, for having Him, we have all.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17