The Intellectual Meets His Match
Death stared me in the face three different ways before God saved my soul. One of these times God saved me from being pushed out a fifth-story dorm window on the campus of Michigan State University. The “harmless” fun of a pillow fight almost killed me. An overly aggressive fellow dormie’s rapid-fire blows had me backing up just as quickly. I had both arms up to protect my face. A final upward strike knocked me backwards into a large plate glass window. The window broke and bowed out behind me. But the next thing I knew, my hands had gone instantly from a high, defensive posture to slap down on the window seat, allowing me to regain my balance. I assure you I have never shown lightning-like reflexes at any other time in my life. Something beyond the natural was at work.
What a Good Boy Am I?
I had been raised by Christian parents and went to church with them growing up. I think as little kid I had a relationship with God. But even as an eight-year-old, I was reading comic books, magazines and other materials with a slant that got me into some very wrong thinking and started me on some addictive sexual behaviors. And as things got busier with grade school and then high school I had fewer talks with God and more and more focus on making my way in the world. Once in college had the idea that I’d first make my money as an ad writer, then once I had become practiced, I’d write the great American Novel and retire to a life of ease. Someone got me a subscription to Playboy to further loosen my straight-laced approaches to life. I still attended church once in a while when I was away at college, but the campus pastor at that time wasn’t much of a guide as he had been long ago co-opted by cool intellectual attitudes of the college scene. I remember him preaching on social issues like the Black struggle as seen in plays like “Porgy and Bess” and Movies like “Raisin in the Sun.” God was becoming more and more distant to me as I plunged headlong into my creative writing course of study and my duties as floor social chairman. Yes, I was the one who had planned the pillow fight that almost killed me. Then, God used the unexpected deaths of my Godfather and a young friend of mine to further shake me. Somewhere sandwiched in between all of this, some Christians had invited me to join a Bible study in the dorm. Three weeks and three chapters in the Book of John later, they shared Jesus was man’s Bridge to God. When they asked me where I thought I was on the diagram they drew I fell back to my old religious standard. I said, “I’m over here on God’s side.”
I Make an Adult Decision to Cross Over
But the consequences of some bad choices I had made forced me to consider if my now thoroughly strained relationship with God was really good enough. I decided to pray to clear the air. I figured if I had a true relationship it wouldn’t hurt, but if I didn’t, I certainly didn’t want to go to hell. The same night one of the fellows confronted me with the fact that they didn’t think I had crossed the Bridge, I found myself praying. “Jesus, if you’re there, come into my heart and change me.” Jesus came in and let me know immediately He had done so!
The Life After
Since then, I have seen God working directly in my life. He has led me through a store to drop his bombshell on kids stealing recordings. I was able to tell them Jesus wanted to give them the good life. He has given me countless clear words to people that healed their bodies and souls. And I’ve seen Jesus make changes— in me and in those around me. Jesus used me to help a drug dealer turn from his wrongs to become a healer and pillar in the community. Years later, I proudly watched as he was ordained a deacon in his church. Folks, this is real. I’ve been walking with Jesus for over 30 years. I still have a lot to learn about doing it the best way possible, but Jesus has been patient with me and he’s not through making me more and more like him.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
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