A Special Spiritual Anniversary
Today marks a special anniversary in my life: it’s been 40 years since I prayed in our living room and made the decision to accept Jesus as my Savior and make Him Lord over my life.
The fact that it happened at home and not in a church demonstrates the fact that God is alive and active in every venue of this world. Too often, people consign Him to “special” places when He can’t be confined to a building.
As Solomon said when dedicating the first Temple: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? See, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less can this house that I have built?” (1 Kings 8:27 MEV).
When I reflect on what happened, what sticks out isn’t some magical thing I did, but what God did as He pursued my wife and me.
It started prior to our move to Colorado. We listed our house at a time when the Realtor we used told me it took an average of four to six months to sell in our soft market. Ours sold in two weeks—and the buyers agreed to let us stay there and make their first two mortgage payments so we wouldn’t have to leave before we were ready.
Then, on a pre-move visit to Colorado, while scanning rental ads for houses in The Denver Post, I saw one and said, “We can’t afford that. I think I’ll call the number.”
We wound up renting that home. While driving there one Saturday night, we saw the church we ended up attending, where the pastor’s sermons on agape love touched my heart.
That was also where we met the deacon who told us that, in grappling with a vexing personal problem, the best thing we could do was get right with God. Two nights later, that deacon and his wife prayed with me.
Everything that has happened since then has turned on that pivotal decision. While there are countless ways in which it affected our lives, it eventually led to us moving back east, my pursuit of fulltime freelance writing and editing, and my wife’s decision to attend seminary.
“Saved” is one of those overused church terms that too easily turns into a cliché. Yet when I think about what Dec. 1, 1981 meant to me, I can think of many “savings” that followed.
For one, I am still alive. Considering the hazards that lay along the path of partying every weekend, it isn’t a stretch to imagine having already met my untimely demise. Whether through a fatal accident, alcohol abuse, or other tragedy caused by reckless behavior, I was a candidate for trouble.
Not only am I alive, but my marriage is still intact. Prior to this decision, my wife and I regularly butted heads, screamed at each other, and courted disaster. As she likes to put it: “If we hadn’t gotten saved, one of us would have killed the other.”
While several moves mean we have lost touch with most of the people in our first church, a few are still friends, and we keep in touch with others from our past.
No matter where we go, we rejoice that we are part of a worldwide body of believers, that “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) who one day will join hands around God’s throne to sing His praises.
For that, I am eternally grateful.