Of Saints and Sinners Knowing the Savior
I was on my way to a job interview Friday in Scottsdale Arizona when my cell phone rang. My AT&T Iphone does not work at my house (this is after a year of fighting with AT&T). Anyway the mere fact that the phone rang was amazing. It was a call from someone I went to church with, they needed me to teach a lesson this Sunday. No matter how crappy my week has been, I never turn down the opportunity to teach. There is something about preparing a lesson that brings a person closer to God than anything else I have ever experienced.
When I was teaching all the time I would wake up in the middle of the night and be inspired to do things. One year I was teaching the 4-5 year olds and the lesson was on the wise men seeking Jesus. So I hid a Baby doll in the church yard and dressed these little kids as wise men and we found baby Jesus. Once we found baby Jesus those children all wanted a turn at holding him. The rest of the year I had to take baby Jesus to church and it became a thing to get to hold him during my class.
So many times I was impressed to teach something that was not part of the lesson only to find that it helped someone. Today the lesson was about how we gain a testimony of Jesus Christ. The point of the lesson was that most people are not going to have a transformative moment like Paul had. Most of us will not see God or Jesus in our lifetime. We will have the opportunity to study, learn about God, and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught “As I have loved you, love one another”. While people in religions argue doctrine and pick apart each others ideas, Jesus left us that simple message that can be agreed upon by everyone. Various religions teach that their people are the people of God and everyone else is not, to that I say all people of every race and religion are children of God. Some of them do not know it, yet they are. I think sometimes we spend so much time arguing our differences that we never see the things that are the same.
We all have the same trials in this life, the same sorrow and pain. We all bleed red and cry clear tears. We all have heart breaks that seem like they will scar our souls. Yet as children of God we are resilient and we bounce back. We heal and have hope. We root for the underdog and pray for the down trodden. And maybe we want to be rock stars just for a second. We are all human.
In this lesson today was another message as well. A message that we should share the truth of Jesus Christ with others. I have not always been a saint, in fact I use to joke that I sat in the sinners section. Inside of me I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know he is our example, not other people. Throughout my life I have felt God in my life. When I have not had the will in me to carry on, God has carried me. Where my Father has failed me, God has succeeded.
I have many friends who are not religious and many friends who go to other churches. I have never told most of them the story of my conversion, but I will now.
In 2000 I was struggling with the idea of being baptized. For three years I had attended the Church of Jesus Christ- Latter Day Saints. During that time I was also studying other religious ideas as well. Baptism was something I took very serious and I did not want to find out later that I was should have been baptized into another religion. My parent raised us in an atheist household with the exception that we had Christmas (we were never really taught that Christmas was about Jesus).
I started reading the New Testament from the beginning. Being a sinner, repentance and baptism was a difficult idea for me. The reality was that I did not believe I would be forgiven. My sins were great and how could anyone forgive them? I began to study my scriptures every night. I prayed every day for answers. Each night I continued reading and praying, waiting for something.
One night I was reading and all of a sudden I was no longer in my room. I was on a dirt road with mountain around, dressed in a long heavy robe. About 40 feet ahead of me were several men walking. They were also dressed in robes; I knew immediately who it was. I fell down on my knees crying. I continued to sob in my hands with a pain in my heart. And then their were feet in front of me. The feet of the Savior.
“Michelle, Can you look at me” He was speaking.
“No” I am not sure if I spoke it or just thought it.
“You are forgiven, you know what you have to do” he spoke kindly not harsh.
Before I could answer I was back in my room, not on the bed but, on the floor with my head in my hands, and tears streaming down my face. I cannot tell you for certain how I ended up on the floor. I know that I was not dreaming. I was baptized a short time after. Since that time I have not always been devout. At times I have fallen back on the life I was raised with. Yet in my heart I know that God is real, and Jesus has died and been resurrected for each of us.
Conversion is an ongoing process, it is not a gift once given. It is a gift given daily as we seek to know our Father in Heaven. I will not debate God with other people. If someone wants to debate they can debate straight with God. It is not place to prove or disprove anything. “Seek and ye shall find knock and it shall be opened to you” I believe this to be true. God does not show Himself to a certain person, He shows Himself to anyone who wants that knowledge. If you don’t believe me… seek him yourself.
I leave you this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.