Another Look at My Conversion

"Self Poftrait", drawn by a young Pastor Andy G.

While talking with a high school friend, I learned some things about myself. Actually, I don’t know if I learned something new, realized something old, or just remembered. But either way, it made me rethink the details about my conversion story. When asked, I had always reflected on the fact that when I had “given Jesus the chance” to take hold of me, I was coming to the realization that I couldn’t be right with God without Jesus. This is still true.

But in terms of “being churched”, even though my mom brought me to church every Sunday; has a recording of me singing a hymn to the Lord in my toddler years; and even though I had attended Sunday school as a child; gone to preschool in our church; attended VBS every year that I was able, and helped out when too old to attend; was a regular member of the youth group (until high school sophomore year); graduated confirmation; was involved with events within the church; and attended youth and family retreats, I had always looked at the fact that I was neither taught nor encouraged to read the Bible (other than from my parents), felt like an outcast in youth group, and often daydreamed or slept during the Sunday morning sermons. And so I considered myself “un-churched”, or that I didn’t “grow up in” the Church, or that I grew up going to church but never came to know Jesus there. Why? Because since I had come to know Jesus at age 21, and I mean really know Jesus, all I can say is that I must not have known Him before. But now, after the conversation with my friend, I realize that I actually had, and can only figure or understand that sometime in my life, I just fell away from Him for a while. But then, was my realization of needing Christ a real conversion experience that finally happened for the first time, or just a personal experience in sync with the parable of the Prodigal Son?

So that next Sunday morning, my wife and I went to church, and the topic of the Pastor’s sermon was the foundation on which our faith was built, and about how when we’re tested with fire, that’s when our true self comes out, and whatever foundation we’re actually built upon is revealed. During it, I envisioned a crack in the stone…the stone that was formed around my heart, and a bright, yellow light shining through this crack, breaking it open.

I thank God for using my friend to remind me that my foundation, not just from my young-adult conversion, but from the foundation laid upon me as a child and throughout my childhood, is Jesus Christ. And since this light has been revealed, breaking forth, the rock could no longer hold it back. I felt…renewed. See, before starting up this website, I had been enduring a time of healing, where I backed off some and began following Jesus from a distance…like a wounded soldier. But then, like Superman coming back to life, I felt ready to get back in and fight for what was lost during my time-out.

So often we continue to look forward for our answers, sort of like there’s a “don’t look back” syndrome. Maybe we get it from Jesus’ reply that “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” But that was in the context of somebody wavering on their call to follow, not somebody already on the journey. I think that when we’re feeling lost, we need to look at the map, retrace our steps, remember where we’ve been and how we got here, who we were, and even ask our friends/family who remember who we were back then, and let the fire reveal who the Lord created us as and brought us up to be.

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