John 14:6 (TLB),
(Jesus said) “I am the way and the truth and the life, and no one
comes to the Father except by means of me.”
Lately, I’ve been feeling led to blog about “truth encounters” – places where the Divine and humans meet. Whether it’s through God’s Word (found in the Bible), a ‘divine appointment’ (circumstances and situations that could only have been orchestrated by God), or an encounter with the Holy Spirit (also called the Spirit of Truth in John 15:16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+15.26&version=NIVI ), I hope it will encourage you in your search for truth.
So, here goes.
I wasn’t in a Church service, not at a crusade, a Bible study, or any other religious meeting. I was on the road of everyday life when I met THE truth for the first time. It was getting late, and I was tired, having been sick and recently out of the hospital. In my weakened state and bewilderment over why my life had been spared, I met Him. Here’s the “backstory” of how I met Jesus, and why I write about faith.
First, I must digress momentarily…
I grew up singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so,” in Sunday school at our Lutheran Church. I had a longing to understand that love that I sang about. I would sit in Sunday school wondering if the Bible stories I heard were any different than the fairy tales we read or the cartoons I watched on television at home. Throughout my life, I had a nagging desire to learn about the reality of the Gospel I’d heard as a child, but other pursuits became more important.
My faith was at a low point during my university and law school years. I had become too busy, skeptical, maybe a bit prideful, and somewhat disdainful of the Church and ‘those church-y people’. Besides all that, I was somewhat of a perfectionist and overachiever and had academic anxiety to boot! Let’s just say I had a lot of ‘issues.’ Deep down inside, I knew that something was missing.
Finally, I decided to read the Bible for myself because I had come to the place where I needed to know if it was true. I’d read many other books by that point in life, so I figured I had nothing to lose. If true, it made all the difference in the world (e.g., eternity in heaven). If it wasn’t, the Bible was still the best-selling book in history. I had to know which it was. So began a several-year journey of reading the Bible. As I began to read, I was surprised to find that the Bible was written for skeptics and full of basketcases, just like me.
It was during those years of seeking to know God through personal Bible study that I experienced a very near brush with death through a severe sickness (sepsis, which I contracted through a medical misdiagnosis). One evening after my release from the hospital (April 11, 2002, to be exact), I was lying in my bed reading the Bible. Having been gravely ill, it began to dawn on me that my life had been spared for a reason. Also, one of my brothers was having heart surgery the next day. Desperate circumstances have a way of reminding us of what is truly important in life. I deeply longed to pray for my brother’s protection and healing that night. However, I suddenly realized that, despite my early religious training and many years of attending churches, I didn’t know how to pray or the one to whom I was praying!
Desperate, I grabbed my Bible off the bookshelf and flipped it open. It was the Bible that my mother had given me years earlier as a gift. That night, I read these words found in John 14:6 (TLB), (Jesus said) “I am the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except by means of me.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14%3A6&version=TLB It was as if those words came to life, and it felt as though they leaped off that Bible page and touched my heart. I had a sudden, instantaneous understanding that the Bible was TRUE!. It was like some sort of darkness lifted off of my mind, and a type of light came streaming into my soul. I was amazed! I was rather shocked, actually! At that moment, love and peace, which I had never known, flooded through me.
After years of attending churches as a matter of religious habit, I suddenly knew, in my own heart, Jesus Christ’s forgiveness and love. In a moment, a nearly lifelong “Church attender” was instantly converted to a personal, living faith in Jesus Christ. In short, I became a Christian (Biblically speaking). All these years later, I’m still a work in progress, but I remain on the journey of everyday life with Jesus. Along the way, He called me to write for other skeptics (and basketcases) just like me.
How about you? Maybe at some point in your life, you’ve ‘attended Church’ but are a skeptic, have been ‘too busy’ for faith, have ‘issues,’ or are simply searching for truth like I was? Maybe you still need to encounter Jesus, who is THE TRUTH. If so, He is as close to you as a whispered, heartfelt prayer. Start a conversation with Him (in prayer) today. He is sure to reply.
In upcoming blog posts, I plan to share more about encountering THE truth through the Word, the Spirit*, or a ‘divine appointment.’ I hope you’ll join me on the journey and share with others on the road to seeking truth.
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*For more on the topic of the Holy Spirit, His gifts and guidance, check out my Bible study curriculum: “GOD SPEAKS: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts and Today” found at http://janetdecaster.com/books