Why Did God Choose Me (Instead of You)?

I recently received an email from one F. Stuart “Skip” Leeds, a physician and faculty member at the University of Cincinnati, who lives in Yellow Springs, OH. Dr. Leeds wrote:

I found your conversion story ["I, a Rabid Anti-Christian, Very Suddenly Convert"] both moving and bewildering. Moving, because your self-description so closely works as my own. Bewildering, for the same reason — and for one other simple fact, which is that I’ve not had the same experience.

I’m 49 years old, a physician, a musician, and a spiritual seeker with a lot of intellectual obstacles to the mystical and metaphysical. I really want to believe; I really want to transcend the ordinary. But I have deep, terrible fears that the hardcore scientists and materialists are right — that we are chemicals, we are animals, and we don’t mean anything at all.

But I’m open to experience as evidence — if God or Jesus or Anyone At All would just show up for me the way He/She/It showed up for you, I’d drop the baggage in a heartbeat and get in the boat.

So my one and only question for you is this — assuming your experience was valid (and I’m having trouble coming up with a materialistic or neurological explanation for it) — why you? Why not me, and why not a hundred million other “rabid Anti-Christians” among which you once numbered yourself?

Asked another way — are you special? Am I not? Am I not worth God’s trouble? Is is just a long, long queue, and your number came up? Does it trouble you that the God of Love and Inclusion chose you and did not choose a whole host of others equally in need (if not equally qualified)? Any idea how this works?

Don’t you dig the whole tone and style of Dr. Leed’s letter? (Young people: “I can dig it!” or just, “Dig it!” is a hippie saying from the 1960′s. I believe it refers to how something becomes “deep.” “Deep” is a hippie word meaning … oh, never mind it. Hippies had their own Hobbity language that no one but them understood.)

So how cool would it be to have a doctor named Skip? I’d dig saying, “Hey, Dr. Skip, can you hook me up with some free samples?” Or, “Did you find anything in there, Skip?” Or, “Give it to me straight: how long do I have to live, Skippy?”

Huh? Huh? You know you’d love it.

Anyway, about Dr. Leed’s question.

The response I initially fired back to him was, “It’s true: I’m awesome. Clearly, you’re not. Bummer for you.”

Har! Good on me! All I have to do now is remember not to open any packages from Yellow Springs, OH, and I’m set.

But seriously: Why did I have a conversion experience, when so many others don’t?

Well, first of all, so many others do: every day, all around the world, thousands of people have conversion experiences just like mine. I don’t know how often it happens in a supply closet at anyone’s job, but God zapping people out of nowhere with the sudden conviction of his reality isn’t particularly uncommon.

So that’s the General Perspective. But it still leaves the question of why, particularly, me?

Well, another factor might be that I’ve always been acutely — and I mean, deeply — aware of what at least I always experienced as the reality of God. I’ve been thinking, talking, reading, and boring people with my ideas about God ever since I was able to point skyward and drool. So it makes sense that I would finally be moved to just sort of pick a Bonafide Theological Schema. It’s true enough that I had very definite help picking Christianity. Whether that help was genuinely supernatural, or just the synaptic misfirings I wrote a bit about in “My Conversion Experience: Real or Synaptic Misfirings,” I have no idea. Nor do I care; that’s just not a relevant concern of mine. As a religious philosophy, and an explanation for reality and people’s relationship to it, Christianity works like incense in a stinky room. Hence, my all-inness. (Young people: “inness” isn’t a word. When writing, it’s annoying to make up your own words. Please don’t forget that.)

What’s also true — whatever its relevance to the question at hand — is that I do not give one minute, inky-dinky iota of crap what anyone else thinks Christianity is, does, says, or should be. (For a bit more on this, see my post “I Don’t Care What You Think of My Christianity.”) Christianity is positively jammed with people telling you what Christianity is or should be, what the Bible really means, what does and doesn’t constitute “Christian” behavior. And 99.99% of it … desperately needs incense.

All right, I’ll be honest with you. You want to know the real reason I think God decided to turn me into a Christian? I’ll get ridiculed for saying this, for its apparent arrogance. But, what the heck; how many have read this far down this post anyway? So with you, fine reader, I’ll share.

I think the reason God made me a Christian was so that I might write stuff that would help people understand how and why it is that for a long, long time now — and in too many ways that are doing too much harm to God’s will and intent — people have been getting Christianity butt wrong.

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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. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Amanda

    That is exactly why God made you a Christian! I love it!

    I found you via Huff…thanks for writing. You are Kindred Web Spirit. ;)

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

    Hey, you guys. Awesomely good comments. If I might say one more thing about my conversion experience: From its absolute beginning, I felt crystal-clear on one aspect of its nature: That God saves the serious-slap-on-the-head kind of conversions for those who are just too stupid (or, more nicely, too stubborn) to get it any other way.

    • Candace

      Yup :-) That’s the conclusion I came to as well, in trying to figure out my own sudden conversion at 50.

      Take heart, Dr. Skip. The only honest answer to your question is, quite literally … God knows.

      • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

        I came to a similar conclusion when I suddenly converted 3 years ago, at 42. But to me it seemed more like a case of serious, debilitating, blinding pride (i.e. intellectual arrogance) than stupidity. Of course, that's probably just my pride talking :-)

        I am loving this blog! You are a real gift, John. So glad I stumbled onto you at Mockingbird, 'cause I'd have never found you at HuffPo. (Don't go there anymore… too much negative energy!)

        • Candace

          YES. "Pride", especially in the form of intellectual arrogance, articulates it better in my case as well. Thank you.

  • http://luwandi.wordpress.com beth luwandi

    Did Skip also ask "Why not me?" I think someone needs to address that question as well.

    Maybe someone should do it more sensitively than I'm going to….

    Still, I hope you're reading, Skip!

    My answer is: "Well, hell, Skip, why NOT you?!" And that's kind of flippant for a girl who spent a good part of her childhood literally running through the fields on the land I grew up on (when I say literally I mean literally) shouting to the heavens "Okay, God! Hit me. I'm ready!" thinking if there's more of God to have, I want it!

    Guess what? He answered my prayers————eventually————– and totally rocked my world.

    Even later, I was not in any way shape or form "ready for Him." Better, more, too much. Good.

    Sometimes He still has to hit me upside the head to get my attention– cuz I'm made that way… stubborn-like.

    PS Scripture promises if you ask, knock, and seek, you will get an answer, an entrance, and you will find Him.

    Sorry, John if I'm using up too much of your blog space– :)

  • Jim Hagen

    Important bulletin for Dr. Skip–as long as you are emotionally healthy, you won't get the knock on the door/head, whatever, you are looking for. We encounter miracles every day in the form of a kindness, a lesson from a stranger, a crisis resolved or apparently insurmountable. Rational people attribute it correctly to the complex way in which the world works. The emotionally insecure and vulnerable fall back on supernatural, religious explanations. Please stay in the real world–you'll do yourself and the rest of humanity more good.

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

      Yes, the warmth just radiates off you …

      • http://joanneelaine.podbean.com Joanne Branson

        *giggle*

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

      I used to always say, “Church is for the weak.” Of course, it turns out I was right all along, which was pretty humbling. or bumbling.

      • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

        Bingo, Ric. Great insight.

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

          U the man, Ric Booth.

  • Sandy

    I got a similar reaction from my grandmother when I told about the time God personally (and I do mean Personally, because no one else would have “gotten” the message that I did) reassured me about my life.

    She was happy for me, but her next comment was, “I talk to Jesus all the time – why hasn’t he ever talked back?”

    My grandmother was a way better person that I will ever be, so it’s not a deserving kind of thing. I personally believe that God talks to us all the time, and we just don’t listen, or we chalk it up to coincidence, or we don’t notice because of our busy days. I have never “noticed” another communication since that one (and it was 24 years ago), so I’m obviously not listening very well either.

    Honestly, having had one communication like that doesn’t make being a Christian any easier. I struggle all the time.

    • Robert D. Meek, Jr.

      You are quite right. God answers prayer, but often, we “don’t listen” because we don’t like the answers.

      Basically, God’s answers, as anyone’s, can be broken into 3 categories: (1) Yes, (2) No, and (3) Wait.

      Another matter, is we often treat God with serious disrespect in our “praying,” completely ignoring the teaching example of humility, trust, dedication, and commitment to His Will, that Jesus gave us in the Lord’s Prayer.

      How many times have I witnessed traveling “evangelists,” of unknown credentials, breeze in, hold “revival,” have folks line up, do the “laying on of hands” thing, pray for them, and “cast out” a “demon of …” smoking, overeating, poor vision (glasses), poor hearing (auditory), of alcohol (enough said), etc.

      Way too many times in my 52.5 years.

      Well, until I made it a point to not subject myself to such travesty again.

      I recall, in my 20s, being assaulted by such a deviant preaching monster, with my mother, in a congregation. We left, distressed.

      “Why?” my mother asked. I understood without her detailing the question. “Because, mama, it negates their sense of responsibility, of culpability, for their lives, if they can ‘blame’ it on a ‘demon’ instead!” She agreed.

      In another tragic case, I ran into an old coworker, noting a limp, and a walking cane. She elaborated: leg cancer, lost the leg, got it all, Praise God., etc. “And now, we’re believing Him for another miracle,” she beamed.

      You got it – she had the audacity to ask God to GROW her a NEW leg. No true gratitude for the doctors, surgery, and high quality prosthesis.

      I have HIV, heart & lung disease. I’m disabled on oxygen. I was confronted by a cashier at a mom-n-pops variety store that God could heal me. I agreed, and said if He so willed, so be it, but should He deem not to, that I am to bear these things, then so be that, as well.

      She pounced on me fuming that I did not believe and that I had given her proof because I was not speaking right about it. From what I said I obviously didn’t expect Him to do it, etc.

      She added, triumphantly, “I’ve already been healed!” regarding a very visible physical infirmity.

      I could not resist, I said so – that it was still visible.

      Her answer, “I’ve already been healed, but it just hasn’t manifest itself yet!”

      I left, having spent my money there, thoroughly disgusted.

      Mind you, God CAN do anything, but that does not mean He does EVERYTHING. Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see, raised the dead. He never healed ALL sick, nor made ALL blind see, nor raised ALL the dead.

      That’s why Jesus said in His prayer “… thy will be done,

      on earth as it is in heaven …” http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/lord_traditional_king_james.html

      Furthermore, God is NOT a VENDING MACHINE, and we often pepper Him with childish questions, demanding our own personal wants over His Will.

      • http://luwandi.wordpress.com beth luwandi

        I'm sorry you got pounced on. This kind of crap is very embarrassing to some of us Christians.

        I do think you are right-on with your perspective (and I have spent years around the faith and healing movement so it's not as if I don't understand the teaching.) Twisted, it can be so damaging.

        • Steven Chan

          Hi,

          Referring to Yes, No and Wait, can someone point me to a verse somewhere that supports this?

          Everywhere I look in the Bible, the answers are a lot more than just a single word.

          Thanks.

      • http://msargent@canby.com Mary Sargent

        I loved reading your post. I am brand spanking new to this website but am so taken. smile.

        Bravo to you and praise God for your great faith. I was forced to be near 2 people I loved who were so into the health and wealth slant. I have friends and acquaintances who speak that twist. I just hate it. I have always hated it. I think, if it were always healing and roses why would Jesus say that in this world we would have trouble? Where is suffering in that message? I say praise our great Savior who has given you such great faith in the face of your physical struggles. Your testimony is honest and reverent.

  • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

    I think (or at least hope) that this is something on which we can agree…. that what really appears to have happened here isn’t so much that God chose you as that you chose God or more precisely, you chose this particular God. You made yourself open to the possibility of the divine and when you received the message (from wherever it came, we can debate that) you were ready to hear it. Your Ted Kaczynski pal in Yellow Springs may also be seeking the contact but isn’t as open to really listen for it as you were because of his scientific training and biases. I also am unlikely to hear the call because of my agnostic biases that suggest these ultimate answers are not just unknown but unknowable.

  • Zoomer

    There are as many conversion experiences as there are converts. For me it was not a few-minutes-long revelation but one that took several years and is in fact still happening. I’ve never heard a voice, though I wish I would sometime unless it would scare me witless and confirm for me that I am to follow in the steps of my father’s side of the family, many of whom ended their lives quite demented. So maybe I don’t want a voice, but the fact is I don’t need one. I’m so very glad that you heard one. As an elderly gentlemen said to me in the parish hall of my church right after I was baptized, “Welcome to the herd.”

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Hmmmm…I dunno if this’ll help or hurt, but I did not have the kind of conversion experience John had either. Mine was more of a classic church-kid experience–age 6, at church, blah blah blah. I’ve never had any of the mysterious/metaphysical experience that some of my friends have. For me it’s been more seeing how Jesus has made me healthier, and is letting me live out of that. A good pastor friend of mine once said “If you want God, you get him,” which I say to encourage you, Skip, because I think God is faithful to show himself to folks in one way or another, though usually not how we expect and definitely not when we expect it. I don’t want to tell you “Just believe” and expect you’ll start dancing around going, “OH! Thank you, I’m fixed now!” because that’s just dumb. I can tell you I’m an engineer, and into thinking for oneself and stuff like that, and I have not found science and such to be incompatible with faith in Christ…I think some folks’ insistences that things ARE a certain way, without having evidence of such, is what makes science and God look incompatible.

    …and my son pooped so I have to end this. But I hope you will find who you’re seeking. My best to you, Skip–Yellow Springs rocks!!

  • Glenn

    I guess it would be nice/magical/inspiring if, like Paul, we all could be knocked off our asses (or horses-whichever) we could all have a dramatic conversion experience, but it does not seem to happen that way in a LOT of cases. Many of those the Catholic Church recognizes as saints did not have such an experience. Many prominent Protestant faith leaders have not claimed such. As John notes, having such does not make things all that easy for the rest of your life (again, the life of Paul). Perhaps it is not the call, but the response that is most important. Even Mother Teresa had dark moments of the soul.

    • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

      Well as the great Christopher Hitchens has chronicled in so much detail, Mother Teresa deserved hers…

      • Rachel K

        Christopher Hitchens is not great, Christopher Hitchens is not good…

  • http://joanneelaine.podbean.com Joanne Branson

    John, I remember asking God a similar question about why it seemed that I was dished out a greater heap of suffering and turmoil than most anyone I knew. I very clearly felt God saying that it was because he could trust me to tell others. I was taken aback because as an optimist I am averse to whining about my problems and yap, yap, yapping about poor me. So I asked him to expound. He said that my innate love for people, my penchant for building relationships and my propensity toward altruism gave me an automatic platform for helping others either avoid the circumstances that led to my suffering (if possible) and/or giving them the encouragement and strength to make it through without giving up. Thank you for using your gift of communication connection to get to the heart of the matter. (Pun intended.)

  • http://patricewyankeenotionfarm.blogspot.com Patrice Wassmann

    I would say to Dr Leeds: If you want to know if this Jesus stuff is real, keep asking Him to reveal himself to you. Ask it day after day. Don’t give up. This is the advice I was given 23 years ago…I followed it for almost a year, until I began to feel like I was being followed by thr proverbial hound of heaven. One night I gave up fighting against my fears of being one of his followers and asked him into my life. It is not an easy journey…but a wonderful one. Keep searching!

  • Adam

    Up until about a year ago, I would have told you that I was an athiest, or at best, an agnostic. I was much closer in thought to those scientists you referenced that consider humans to be mere chemicals and animals. I had been in an AA program for about a year and was really concerned that I wouldn’t make it because I just couldn’t believe in a god, not even one of my understanding. I won’t tell you that I had a “burning bush” experience or a supply closet conversion, but at 10:34 p.m. on a Sunday evening I got an eMail from God. After spending the day feeling sorry for myself and even fussing at my AA sponsor, I got this message from some friends in AA that said, tomorrow we need your help assisting another AA friend who is in difficulty and would I be willing to help. And I said yes. And I helped. And I felt released. And I felt good. And I realized that the message had been from God telling me that I needed to get out of myself and help others. When I do that I have peace and serenity in my life. I don’t believe in a hereafter. I don’t need to. All I need to know is that if I do the next right thing today, my life will be ok tomorrow. And that’s all I need.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    Well, another factor might be that I’ve always been acutely — and I mean, deeply — aware of what at least I always experienced as the reality of God. I’ve been thinking, talking, reading, and boring people with my ideas about God ever since I was able to point skyward and drool. So it makes sense that I would finally be moved to just sort of pick a Bonafide Theological Schema. It’s true enough that I had very definite help picking Christianity. Whether that help was genuinely supernatural, or just the synaptic misfirings I wrote a bit about in.”

    Yet for others also accutely aware of God since they can remember God leds them to a non-Christian faith. I know many who have had ‘conversion experiences’ and they were never of a Christian bent. So, perhaps maybe Mr. Leeds is just not ‘looking’ at the pathe God wants him to look down.

    Or, should I just stop now and bow out of the conversation before I get pounced on too…..?

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Yeah, no real formula. Incense is a good analogy. And who's to says God has not chosen Dr. Leeds? When and how is not something that can be programmed. As Robert Meek points out, God is not a vending machine. And as many have pointed out, it is not always the knocked-off-your-horse-in-the-supply-closet type of experience.

    I wish those who feel they have all the answers (be it the faith-healing-Christians Mr. Meek collided with or the condescending-religion-is-for-the-weak or the condescending-extreme-fundamentalist-of-any-walk-of-life) would grow some humility. No one's faith, or lack thereof, makes a person superior in God's eyes or in reality (as though the two were somehow different).

  • Morgan

    I think the conversion experience is the realization that we don't like who we are and really want to change. It's like a bucket of our own mess is poured all over us and all we can think about is being clean.

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    m

  • Tim

    I kind of think the reasons you or I experienced conversion before someone else just like us, are too complex or myriad to fathom with a natural mind. I'd hate to over-spiritualize what could be just a simple matter of spiritual timing in God's economy. We can drive ourselves nuts over trying to answer queries like that of our good Dr. Skip….but in the final analysis, I believe it's just that each of us eventually come to OUR moment. There may be many moments that are potential moments in our lives, but I sense that they are merely rehearsal moments for the BIG EVENT. When that moment happens, we certainly know it. What happens as a result of that moment is up to each of us. We will either be like Paul or Pharoah.

    Tip to Dr. Leeds. Maybe the attitude of the father in Mark 9:24 that said, "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!" is key. Even a mustard seed of faith…the inkling of thought that "wants to believe". Sounds like seed to me. But then, I'm just one fallible schmuck with one opinion.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I didn't have a conversion experience. i was raised in the church, and at some point the Gospel resonated with me. Though even there, I cannot point to one definitive moment.

    Whatever inexplicable experiences I've had are not central to my faith. I read a lot of high level popular books (e.g. D'Amasio, Ramachandran, Sacks) on neurology and like to ponder them. Knowing I'm created, the fact that I am made of "stuff" doesn't bother me. Even Genesis has Adam made of the dust of the earth. Where I see the real miracle is in people coming to believe, with or without an experience. I would tend to think that John Shore's experience was a neurological event. But since it matched in content the Word of God, I can also see it as spiritual.

    Different people I know are more or less disposed to having voices speak in their minds. Mine are never audible. I am, however, quite good at having imaginary conversations with people I know and getting advice that is in character with them and out of character from what I would come up with myself. I think I make a sort of model of the person in my mind to talk to. What John probably heard was something like an internal model of a helpful (and funny) Christian friend. The important thing was not who said it, but what was said. I could be wrong, but that would be my best guess.

    • Joseph G. Mitzen

      Rick, since you were brave enough to say it before I did :-) , I'll chime in now. You're probably correct. There's a phenomenon that's been labeled among other things the "third man factor". People either very alone or in life-threatening situations (or both) will sometimes get a sense of there being another person there (usually unseen) and some can even see and (more commonly) talk with them. These feelings/voices are often attempting to calm, encourage or assist the person in survival – nothing religious about the vast majority of them. It could be viewed as a type of disassociation or an attempt by the subconscious to directly communicate with the conscious mind.

      A good book documenting cases of this phenomenon (which has happened to many famous adventurers) is "The Third Man Factor":

      "A scientific mystery or divine intervention is how Geiger, the editorial board editor at the Globe and Mail and author of Frozen in Time, describes The Third Man Factor, the human knack of facing deprivation and possible death with an unseen presence pointing the path to survival. He researched these visitations for six years, chronicling their history in harrowing life-and-death events with mountaineers, sailors, divers, aviators and polar explorers. It is to Geiger's credit that he stresses the very human need to endure and survive through critical times in the included anecdotes over the sometimes convoluted scientific jargon, especially the gripping tales of the last 9/11 survivor Ron DiFrancesco, NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger aboard the Mir space station and merchant seaman Kenneth Cooke, who paddled in shark-infested waters. Whether this guardian angel factor is neurological or divine, Geiger's fresh, insightful book will tell readers things that are not easily explainable, but no less real for that. "

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1602861072/ref=c

      • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

        Thanks for the link, Joseph. I love books of that sort.

        I really didn't consider my suggestion all that brave. I might have if I hadn't already gotten the idea that the "experience" side of the conversion was considered secondary by the one who underwent it. I had a Humanities prof many years back who tried to refute Christianity by citing a book that showed how Christian conversion experiences were like non-Christian conversion experiences. Which I found plausible as a fact, but very unconvincing as an argument. It was like arguing that baptismal water was similar in temperature to that of the Ganges. Sort of beside the point. There are some for whom the experiential side is central. I just don't find that as having been normative for the tradition. I don't take you as making an argument of this sort, but merely as being interested in exploring the nature of such experiences. I find this kind of thing very interesting, too. Well, all that is somewhat out of the ordinary neurological experience is interesting to me, as well as discovering how wide the spectrum of normal often is. (And how blissfully unaware of this even people on one extreme or another can be.)

  • http://annies-art-gallery.blogspot.com Rory

    Dr Leeds honestly states: But I have deep, terrible fears that the hardcore scientists and materialists are right — that we are chemicals, we are animals, and we don’t mean anything at all.

    I was very interested to read a statement by noted physicist Richard Feynman. Admittedly he made it some years ago, so I can’t comment on whether his views ever changed, but at the time he said, “I do not believe that science can disprove the existence of God; I think that is impossible. And if it is impossible, is not a belief in science and in a God – an ordinary God of religion — a consistent possibility?” (Search for “The Relation of Science and Religion”) The “hardcore scientists” will never be proved right.

    I don’t think everybody needs an extreme spiritual experience to be convinced of God’s existence. We just have to be prepared to believe in something outside of the realms of anything that can be questioned, studied and examined by scientific method.

  • Stargirl

    I’m way late to this. But I can attest personally to the kind of individual F.S. Leeds is,and you hit it right on the head. Unfortunately he is one of those negative individuals,that will never believe in anything but..alas…*himself*. I am a devout christian,I haven’t always been. But even when I wasn’t,I didn’t go out of my way to antagonize those that were. My deepest apologies that he sought you out.

  • Allie

    John, I’ll tell you my answer to the same question. And I don’t pretend to speak for you; I have a feeling God’s reasons for speaking to anyone are as individual as well, people. But in my case I think God just happened to give me exactly what I needed, and me being thickheaded, what I needed was more direct than what some other people need.

    Maybe Dr. Skip doesn’t need that sort of direct intervention in order to believe, as much as he thinks he does right now. Maybe it wouldn’t be good for him. Maybe it would turn him into an arrogant jackass. Maybe he’s fine spiritually the way he is and doesn’t need to be a Christian at all. Maybe a lot of things. But I do know one thing about God – God knows where he lives and can find him if he needs to be found.

    edit: as a last step before posting this, I read some of the other comments, and I see that John said basically the same thing, that God saves this kind of intervention for the stupid and stubborn.

  • J.Lewis

    Hey okay im going to give my view on the subject. I’ve been a christian for about a year now.. The reason I put the dots was because f the story behind it. I grew up in church from birth which can be one of the hardest things because you get accustomed to saying the right answers, knowing when to stand up, dit down, clap, ect. The problem was I had a lot of “Religion” n not a “Relationship”… Theres no point in having a religion and you not know the God that you worship. The day that all that i have been taught came to be true to me I was going through a lot. My Parents where in the process of divorce, I was angry at my dad, I was angry at life, I went from having a two story house in the suburbs to living in a two room apartment with my sister and mom. We struggled while my dad prospered and moved on with his life. from getting a new house to getting engaged to be married this september. Im not going to lie I was Angry, and its hard for me to admit that but i was. Well my church’s youth went to Fort Wayne, IN. for a youth conference. We spent the 4 days in a hotel going to the church in the morning for classes and preaching and returning for a service. I was apart of the choir ans being a musician I played the organ to. On the outside I was the Ideal preacher’s kid that everyone expected me to be. So on the last night i was there, I left early for a reason, one of the youth ministers where preaching. After he finished, my pastor got up to invite people to accept Christ, he explains how you do not have to be perfect and you dont have to sing or play or be a super saint. when he was explaining the what it took to be saved he broke it down as ABC A.admit that you are a sinner B. beleive that Jesus died on the cross for our sins C. Confess with your mouth that jesus is lord while he was sending out the invitation to join Christ’s family it was like he was talking to me like no one else was there except me. He had everyone bow their heads so that if someone wanted to get up and come forward to acceot christ, Rededicated themselves back to christ, or just wanted prayer, they wouldnt be scared what people would think. It took courage but i got up n he had us stand and front and face him so that we couldnt se the people behind us. then a one of the ministers came to each of us and had us sit down some on the front bench whe none of the ministers from my church came to me to ask what i was there for I almost said something other then what i was there for because i feared what people would think. but i wasnt able to say anything but what i was truly there for salvation. I had been trying all these things in my life to fill a position that was missing. Im a sinner just like everyone and i still skrew up but this may have been a rough year but me my mom and my sister are safe out of harms way and in the happiest we have been in a very long time .:)

  • H

    Okay, it’s possible somebody else said this first, but I tend to think with things like this, experiences of God and conversion experiences, God doesn’t do it just for the person who experiences it. He does it for every person who hears that story, and as much for them as the person who actually goes through it. He knows the day he gives this person this experience that one day some other person will read about it, and that can be their sign as much as if they actually experienced the same thing.

    I don’t really have a conversion experience per se, and most of my experiences of God that weren’t just quiet reminders and feelings of being loved, that I was strong enough to do this or that happened while mentally ill, so I can’t really put faith in them, but at one point when I was at my lowest and most faithless, I prayed for God to give me a sign. I was miserable, and I kept praying for signs and healing from my panic attacks, and I added that I’d probably forget I’d prayed this, that even as an ultimatum it wouldn’t work because I needed to believe and if he didn’t give me a sign I’d carry on this dysfunctional relationship with someone that maybe didn’t even exist.

    And towards the end of that day, my dad got an e-mail about a miracle in which two girls survived being buried alive and said it was because a shining man came to give them food and water every day. My father has never since received any e-mails about miracles, at least not that he’s told me. I’m sure if you asked most atheists they’d say it was a coincidence, that I’m absurd for putting faith in this. This experience isn’t the only reason I believe, although there have been times when it’s the only thing that kept me going, feeling that I owed God for condescending to give me a sign.

    Anyway, I shared this because the part of the e-mail about other people maybe needing experiences as much as others touched me, and I think second-hand signs are just as good as first-hand ones. So here’s mine.


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