Saved In a Supply Closet. I’m So Sure.

My Most Dramatic Spiritual Conversion happened to me when I was 38 years old—and inside, as I’ve said, a supply closet at my job.  (You can read about the exact moment of that experience here, in a post of mine called, “The Happiest Ending EVER.”)

A supply closet! At my job!

Man. Talk about strange and mysterious ways. I wondered then — like, right after it happened — and I wonder now: Is that how God usually does things? When you get converted, aren’t you supposed to be, like, up on a mountaintop, or maybe in church, fervently praying for intervention and salvation? Or maybe down in the gritty gutter, strung out on Something Terrible, so broken that it finally dawns on you that only the source of all power can (and wants to!) make you whole and happy again?

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? You’re not supposed to be in a supply closet at your job, are you, when all of a sudden you get slammed down onto your knees with the breaking “This Just In!” news that, far from being the awful, insidious, sophomoric joke you’d always believed it to be, Christianity is based on something that actually and truly happened?

Doesn’t that just seem like such a … random sort of intervention?

Not that it was entirely random, of course. I’d be the last to deny that in some key ways that I’ll be forever embarrassed to remember I had prepared myself to be at the receiving end of some exceptionally surprising, exceptionally forceful help. For sure.

Who I was then pretty much boils down to two words: Major Loser.

Who I am now, however, boils down to four: Major Loser — But Saved!

Whew.

Close call!

Still. What if I’d been, like, driving when God decided to suddenly Clue Me In? What then? I’d be all folded up inside my munched Ford Focus, going, “Ow, ow. I’m in such pain. Whoa, so that’s what the jaws of life look like. I’d always thought they were pretty much gargantuan hedge clippers. Well, listen, take your time, guys. No worries. As it happens, I’m actually ready to die! Whoo-hoo!”

But—praise God—that’s not what happened.

Actually, it was kind of cool, because when I did suddenly crash down onto my knees, they landed, instead of on cement, on a soft rubber floor covering being stored in that closet.

That God of ours.

Does he think of everything, or what?

Tomorrow: Neck Origami, Glowing Innards, and Pushing Around a Squeaky Little Cart.

If you’d like to know what happened after my conversion, see, “How My Unbelieving Wife Took The News of My Suddenly Becoming a Christian.”

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Email: johnshore@sbcglobal.net

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Jakki

    God is STILL in the saving business – and it's great reading about your experience! And you've got an awesome sense of humor!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Wow! Could you write something to me pretty much just like this every morning, so I can start off each of my days like I have this one? Thanks!

    P.S.: I'm kidding. You don't have to. Which I only mention because people are so NICE that you just might actually do it. And sure, it'd be fun for awhile. But after about a month, you'd start writing stuff like, "I guess I'm still hoping you have a great day," and "How about having an ACTUAL PERSON say something nice to you in the morning, instead of me?"

    No, but thanks. How great, to read that God's "STILL" in the saving business! Amen to that, sister.

  • John Hite

    Christians – By Maya Angelou

    When I say… "I am a Christian"

    I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."

    I'm whispering "I was lost,

    Now I'm found and forgiven."

    When I say… "I am a Christian"

    I don't speak of this with pride.

    I'm confessing that I stumble

    and need Christ to be my guide.

    When I say… "I am a Christian"

    I'm not trying to be strong.

    I'm professing that I'm weak

    And need His strength to carry on.

    When I say… "I am a Christian"

    I'm not bragging of success.

    I'm admitting I have failed

    And need God to clean my mess.

    When I say… "I am a Christian"

    I'm not claiming to be perfect,

    My flaws are far too visible

    But, God believes I am worth it.

    When I say.. "I am a Christian"

    I still feel the sting of pain.

    I have my share of heartaches

    So I call upon His name.

    When I say… "I am a Christian"

    I'm not holier than thou,

    I'm just a simple sinner

    Who received God's good grace, somehow!

  • snowhite197

    that's beautiful.

  • nisperos

    Totally!

  • Jamela

    Beautiful poem by Maya Angelo. BTW, what do you mean by, "This Just IN," comment. I didn't catch it.

    Thanks!

  • Yvonne Aguilar

    God is awsome! How he gets our attention do not matter, is responding. You did, God will always be with you.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    What a lovely sentiment. Thank you.

  • Elle

    Awesome testimony. And I so get you, but more important, and Praise God! I so get God. Well sometimes, most of the times I am like, "hey!". But it's great what you have shared and also via an article I just read on crosswalk about how to have a relationship with a non-believer. Going to look for those books too, hope they are available in my part of the world (Africa).

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    You live in AFRICA?? Holy cow: How awesome is that. I have a dear friend just now teaching in Kenya: He absolutely loves it there. What country are you in?

    I can pretty much guarantee my books aren't distributed in Africa. They're small titles, done by publishers who so believed in them that they basically took a chance on an author (me) who (critically!) lacks a "platform"–that is, who can guarantee sales to, for instance, the tens of thousands of congregants in their mega-church. So they printed limited numbers of them, distributed them into the main (mostly Christian bookstore) outlets, and waited to see if anyone bought. Lucikly, people have been buying them ("I'm OK," only out in March, is already going into a second printing–and Penguins is approaching a second printing), but I'm afraid it's not (yet!) likely the books will be distributed in Africa. I'm afraid it's Amazon for you!

    Thanks so much for your love and support.

  • Elle

    Lol! I am from Kenya!!!!!!!. I live in Nairobi. Where is your friend teaching at?!

    Too weird. or one of those lovely God-incidences. Oh wow!

    Here is to millions of your books in print. And some of them in bookstores accross Africa!

  • http://www.crosswalk.com Lisa P

    A huge, gigantic "Thank you Lord" for leading me to your article on crosswalk and this blog. I entered into a relationship with a gentleman who told me he had a strong belief in God and although that was not a prerequisit to dating, it certainly filled my heart with hope for our future.

    After cultivating our relationship on line and in person (I lived in Ca., he in Pa.) he proposed to me and moved 3000 miles to Ca. to marry me.

    When he arrived we spent a conciderable amount of time together, during which we each expressed a deep love and desire to be together forever, vowing that this was the relationship we had been searching for all of our lives (we were both in our late 30's) I expressed a deep gratitude to God for bringing us together, his response always being "I totally agree, absolutely or without a doubt." The small fact that he never actually said the words, seemed to escape me.

    What happened next I'm sure you can guess. I succumed to his passionate displays of affection and we had sex…before marrying. Did I know it was not what God would have me do? Yes. Did I realize at that age what could happen? Yes. Of course I did. So I found myself pregnant and with a 'partner' who, although he continued to express true love, no longer 'felt' it nessessary to marry me.

    It has been five long, difficult years now and I have come to realize that this man's 'personal beliefs' are nowhere in line with scripture. He has expresses contempt for the word of God, yet occasionally mis-quotes it to 'prove' his points.

    On occasion I've tried to share the gospel, to point to the truth in scripture, to explain my own beliefs and sometimes with the desire to somehow bring him 'closer to God'. Of course these efforts have been futile. Sometimes causing him to admonish me for trying to 'save him'. I have found myself frustrated, lonely and even depressed over this situation, however for the sake of his child I continue to love this man unconditionally.

    This article has not magically opened my eyes to a 'solution', but I can honestly say it has fortified me in my ability to see what role God has had for me in this relationship. Not in my time, but in Gods. There is no doubt that having a child has profoundly changed this man from one who was very self-centered to one who is more giving, loving and patient.

    Sometimes we are saved in a moment, sometimes it may take a lifetime. I'm jumping into the backseat and giving that steering wheel back to God.

    Thank you John for sharing your God given insights. With love in Christ, Lisa

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Elle: My friend is in Nairobi, too! He just finished a semester teaching Humanities/Theater Arts at Daystar University. From there he's spending another month or two traveling Kenya–doing all kinds of volunteer work, and lecturing at churches and so on. He loves it there. He wants to retire and work there. He's in love with the people. And they he.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Wow. What an amazing testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it. I think your child is lucky to have you for a mom.

  • Elle

    I am from Kenya!!!! John. Where is your friend teaching at? I live in Nairobi.

  • Janiece

    John,

    First of all, WELCOME to the family. I haven't read all of your blogs here yet, but I will. I just found this one when reading the one you posted today, Aug. 14.

    My husband, Fred, has a great love for Kenya and her people also. (Hugs to Elle)

    In the 1980s, a few years after he received his MA in Intercultural Studies/World Missions from Biola University in CA, he was asked to teach at Daystar University. We really wanted to make the move and were in the process, but circumstances beyond our control kept us from that dream, at least for then.

    Then in 1992 he was asked to teach in a pastor's conference put on by Deliverance Church in Nairobi. The week-long conference was in Mombassa. Fred is not an ordained minister but he does have the spiritual gift of teaching and loves to teach. We still don't know why he was chosen to be asked, but God definitely had it planned.

    Fred had six weeks to renew his passport, raise the money for his airline ticket, ask for time off at work and prepare for a two week stay in Kenya. The first week he ministered in Nairobi, spent some time at Daystar and stayed with a Christian family he had not met before then. He loved it. The second week he spent at the conference.

    When he arrived, the leaders asked him what he was going to teach and when he told them they cried. Remember I had said that God definitely had this trip planned? Well, when Fred got on the plane in Los Angeles he didn't have a clue what God wanted him to teach. God gave it all to him on the flight over. Now you may be wondering what had made these men cry…it was the answer Fred gave them. On the flight over God had given him exactly what these pastors had been praying for, for two years…someone to teach them how to reach their Muslim neighbors for Christ. God had given Fred exactly what he needed to teach Muslim Evangelism to these pastors. Not only did he get to share this message with the pastors,but he was asked to teach that day's lesson in the open-air church in Mombassa each evening.

    Mombassa is largely populated by Muslims, so as he was sharing what God had given him they could hear the "call to prayer" coming from the mosques in several areas of the city. He said it was an awesome experience; helping these Christians learn how to reach their Muslim neighbors, friends and family for Christ, the very people who were at that moment kneeling down to their god, a god who had no power to save them, heal them, deliver them or provide for them in any way.

    That was almost 15 years ago but we still feel that God will send us back to Kenya, maybe for Fred to teach at Daystar or maybe for some other purpose. We don't know God's plans we just know they are perfect, in His time, for His purposes and our good.

    God bless you in your new walk with Him.

    Jer. 29:11-13

    11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Whoa. What an awesome story, Janiece. Thanks much for sharing it. Wonderful.

  • Rose Mary

    Oh how Good God is.

    Oh how he calls us from darkness into the light;

    Oh how he saves us when we least expect it.

    Oh how he uses us in most unexpected ways to do his will.

    I too had the presence of God come to me all at once and my life has been changed for ever.

  • arlywn

    hats pretty cool john. glad to know god doesnt have to be all mystical and spiritual all the time- his message can hit home in some really down to earth places.

    I think I might want to attend one of my brothers youth group things. He was singing this song about lions eating people and it was cool. I asked him where he learned it and he said church. I might have to go once just to see about that. It was pretty nifty. not that this means I think gods real… or anything… just this church seems pretty… nifty. yea.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Rose Mary: Wonderful! Congratulations!

    Arlywn: God's messages actually ONLY hit come in real, down-to-earth ways. Anything else is just … theology, or speculation, or … whatever. When God hits, he only hits real. And yeah, go with your brother. Why not? If nothing else, you should learn as much about the Bible and Christianity as possible, if for no other reason than that, for right or wrong, Western civilization is grounded in Christianity. You can't know your present until you know its past, and you can't understand the past of just about anything in the West without understanding Christianity. It's the bones the rest of our culture is built upon. Knowing it is power, and will come in handy the rest of your life.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I think maybe you mean "Psalm," not "song." The Psalm that's about the "valley of death" is Psalm 23. It's THE classic psalm–and is, in fact, my favorite, too. I used to say it every morning. It made me cry just about every time.

  • arlywn

    I did mean that, but couldnt figure out the spelling of psalm. I like the serenity's prayer too. I repeat that alot.

  • arlywn

    plus they have food. who doesnt love a place that has food? lol. but I think I will. Cant be all that bad if they sing about lions killing people. with slinkies no doubt.

    and I’ve never randomly caught on fire by stepping on their said holy ground… so it should be safe…

    should be way more interesting than bible lit. in high school. We were supposed to talk about a little of all religions- but it was like 95 percent bible. I always like the song about the valley of death. Was my favorite.

  • Candace

    What a great testimony, John. Love this. Our God is an awesome God, that is for certain.

    Hey, know what? I actually WAS driving. No kidding. On the way home from a pet-sitting appointment. Totally “normal”, one moment. World-turned-upside-down and bawling my eyes out, the next. Could hardly see to pull over. Actually COULDN’T see to pull over. But, I live in the willywhacks of far northern Wisconsin, and I was all alone on a 25-mph back road. So all I had to do was slow down and feel for the shoulder.

    “That God of ours. Does he think of everything, or what?”

    God bless :-)

    Candace


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