April 27, 2007
faith / life
At the risk of being cheesy and sounding overly spiritual, it was today in 1998 that I met Jesus, and I want to reflect on this milestone for a bit. In a story in the Old Testament, the Israelites, in the book of Joshua, have crossed over the Jordan river on dry land. So they could remember this event, God had them place twelve stones in the middle of the river. This is one of my stones.
On April 27, 1998, I was a freshman in high school. I had spent the first couple of years of my time as a teenager doing other things and looking for “something real.” “Something real” is often difficult to find in the church, and I didn’t think it existed there until April 27, 1998 at a small youth service at a relatively small church in the really small town of Salisbury, North Carolina.
I came to experience this through worship music. The idea that God would respond to people seeking him, and make himself known to them in a real way, was totally foreign to my mind at the time. I’m thankful that my relationship with him started in this way. I’ve become much more cynical toward worship music as a genre than I was then, but even in my cynicism I cannot write off the fact that God is able and willing to use it, regardless of the errors that exist in its marketing, or its theology (neither of which, of course, are bad in all worship music or worship artists), or whatever else there may be.
In any case, in the last nine years I’ve attempted to devote my life to experiencing, learning about, learning to love, and learning to be loved by the Jesus I met. That’s manifested itself in so many different ways that I would never have expected, but wouldn’t trade for anything. In addition to that, I’ve increasingly sought to learn how to love the people that Jesus loves; which means, of course, everyone (I know that’s not obvious, even though it should be). Not that I’ve done a wonderful job of it, but there’s a passion that exists in seeking it. In introducing people to the Jesus that I’ve met, rather than the Jesus that’s often pushed in Western society; in helping the poor, the outcast, the disconnected, and the hurting.
Seeking this Jesus has caused my life to be turned upside down several times, in several ways. Amazing ways. Weird ways. As I look back today, I’ve noticed the backward times and the forward times in this journey, and yet I’m unarguably an entirely different person than I was, or than I would have been otherwise. He and I are still on a journey.