Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Sean Hannity Led Me to the Lord- Part Three

Read Part One here.
And Part Two here.

We made an appointment with the pastor at the church we had been attending.  We brought him our questions and he asked if we could set another time to meet when he could answer our questions and give us some literature.  So, we made plans to have him over for dinner.  That morning, I cleaned and shopped and cooked and cleaned some more- all the while trying to pacify my high needs baby who hardly napped.  T came home early and we waited and waited and waited some more.  But the doorbell never rang.  He never came and never called!At the time, we were very disappointed that a man of God, a pastor of a church, would take his responsibilities to us so lightly.  Looking back, I can see that God arranged all this.  This man's answer and our respect for his position in the church we grew up in would have, quite probably, been a stumbling block in our quest for the Truth.  We would have been content to accept his answers instead of searching Him out for ourselves.  When we called to inquire about him, we were told that he had been called out of town for a family emergency.  To say we were disappointed that we had not even received a phone call to notify us he would not be coming was an understatement.  And he never did call us when he returned, either.  We had slipped right off his radar and it left a bad taste in our mouths. 

We were ready for something and someplace new.  At the suggestion of my cousin, we found a local non-denominational, bible teaching church.  We made an appointment to meet with the pastor.  He still jokes about how we "interviewed" him before we even went to a Sunday service.  We had lots of big questions for him- like how can we know the Bible is true? how is this biblical Christianity different from the one presented in the denomination we grew up in?  And plenty of silly, little questions- like can Christians dance?  Pastor Charlie was patient and funny and kind.  He was, what I now understand to be, filled with the Holy Spirit and desperate to show God's grace to those who inquired about Him.  He explained that it is the Bible, the Word of God, that is the only infallible source of Truth.  And that the Bible clearly and consistently states that you must be born again through faith in Jesus Christ to be saved.  He pointed us to passages in John 3 as well as John 14: 6 and Ephesians 2:8, for starters.  Pastor Charlie explained that it is not a matter of living as best you can and hoping it is enough in the end but rather the message is that no one could or will ever be good enough to make it into Heaven on their own.  The only way is through Jesus.  T and I had heard all this before from my cousins.  We were still not sure if this was the Truth but after our “interview,” we were open to continuing to seek it out.    

We decided to give Pastor Charlie’s church a try and went to service the next Sunday.  And the next.  And the next.  On that third Sunday, when Pastor Charlie gave the invitation to ask Jesus to forgive your sin and become the Lord of your life, both Tom and I responded in the privacy of our hearts, unbeknownst to one other!  This moment was the culmination of years of wondering and a few months of true, whole hearted seeking.  The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart.”  And that promise came to pass in that moment when we decided to believe that sin was serious- it was, in fact, deadly.  We had heard the Truth enough- that was the moment we believed it- that apart from Jesus, we could have no forgiveness for our sins.  He was the One who died in our stead.  He also rose again on the third day giving us the assurance of everlasting life.  The decision to accept the free gift of salvation was ours to make and, by His grace, we made it in the same moment.

When we were driving home, I sheepishly admitted to praying the prayer to receive Jesus and was overjoyed to hear Tom had done so, too.  A few months later, we were baptized on the same day, one after the other, with friends and family looking on.

Eight years later, I can hardly imagine life without Him.  I am so thankful that He chose to call both Tom and I to Him at the same time as I have watched many friends walk a hard road with unbelieving spouses.  He has changed my life in so many ways, in every area possible.  I now know my purpose on this earth- to know and worship my God.  He’s given me a passion for Him- I want to please God and, in His power, to turn away from sin.  I have a new way of looking at the world- everything I see and hear and experience is filtered through the Truth of God’s Word and His promises.  I still have weakness and human emotions.  I still struggle and wrestle with many things, including suffering and poverty and evil.  But I also have peace- I understand and believe that God is working all things together for our good and His glory.  I know Who to go to when I am afraid, depressed, angry.  I know I am not alone.  I have a personal relationship with the one, true and living God!  No longer do I worry about traditions and what man says I must do or not do.  I have freedom to follow Him as He leads me through His Word and through prayer.  As far as relationships go, my husband tells me that I am a more patient person who responds less out of anger.  I’m a better listener and we have a more peaceful home.         

He still is changing me- transforming me into the image of His Son.  But in my first steps from darkness to light, from blindness to sight, I had an unlikely guide whose worldview, so opposite of my own, caused my first questioning of my own values and how I developed them.  Eventually, all I once held dear, now I count as loss.  Oh, but what I have gained! 

1 comment:

Douglas Dahl said...

Wow, absolutely wonderful story. Thanks for sharing. Amazing how God works. There is not formula.


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