My Salvation Story
I have many pleasant memories from my childhood, and many of these revolve around church but not Jesus. No gospel of Christianity. No testimony's of people being saved or healed. Church for me was about enduring the couple of hours of torture to see my friends, and of course there was always great food. Pot luck lunch was my favorite! My mother was not a cook in any sense of the word so I craved anything with flavor.
I was taught that I was going to the church where God's chosen people went and this made be feel secure. Apparently I was one of the chosen few who had the correct interpretation of the Bible and would be whisked away upon Jesus' return. I was taught the correct rules to follow to demonstrate to God in obedience that I was his righteous one.
I certainly believed God was there, but I started to lose faith in all the rules we were following. As I grew up I started to see inconsistencies in the Bible and how the ministry in this particular church interpreted the scriptures. I started to doubt the authenticity of scripture, and witnessed the blatant hypocrisy in the congregation.
I will not identify the church, but to different degrees it could be anyone's church. Many people, like myself have sat in a church and missed God and mistakenly believed it was a way of life and a set of standards that had to be met. No grace.
A Turning Away
A huge turning point for me was when I met a young lady when I was at university who went to church (not mine). I was blown away by her passion for God. In my entire life I had never met anyone with such fire about them, who would speak about her Lord as an inherent part of her life, and interested in every part of her day. I was fascinated, and in my fascination went to church with her. There I met other people who loved God too.
They sang songs the same way I had, but while we sang I felt something stirring on the inside, an emptiness and sadness all at once. I cried. I had been taught I was His chosen because I was joined to a particular congregation, yet my sinfulness seemed to be magnified in comparison to the devotion in these people.
And how could these people be right with God? They were worshiping on a Sunday I had it drilled into me about Saturday being the Sabbath and knew all the theology on that one.
It was after that that I had this thought. If God is real, and is perfect and all the things He must be to be God, then it makes no sense that I am His chosen, devoid of devotion, and they are going to miss out, just because they missed something and interpreted the Bible incorrectly.
As I removed myself from the religion I had grown up in, this was my final determination on the issue. If there is a God, how do we know if the Bible is accurate, how would we ever interpret it.
Which Church is Right?
I lived my life after that like there might be a God, but who would know anything about Him? There are so many different denominations, and they can't even agree as there are denominations within denominations. What is right varies from church to church within even these sub sects. To me it seemed there must be something spiritual there as I had seen to much to believe otherwise but it was indeterminable by man.
Many people have an encounter with God when they are struggling, down and out, and desperate. I actually thought my life was pretty good. I had a promising career, great friends, a husband who was not great but at least I had one, and never wanted for anything with our double income.
Occasionally my mind would have cause again to wander over the possibility of God, but then the weight of all the rules I had to follow in order to be Christian would consume me and I would fall upon the same conclusion that nobody really knows. All the churches argue with each other and can't agree.
God Opened my Eyes
Then one day, I was pondering these things about God in my mind, running over the conclusion in my head and God showed up.
I was walking my dog through scrubland behind our residential estate, minding my own business. It is difficult to put what happened into human terms. I could feel God, He was there, and spoke directly to my heart. The best explanation I have ever come up with is likening it to filling a cream bun. Like I am a bun and someone put a container of cream inside me and started pumping into my centre.
That is how He spoke to me. And this is what He told me.
“I am real. Jesus really did die for you.
It's all about love.”
It was impressed upon me that Jesus was a real man of history, and the Bible was real.
Then in my mind’s eye I had a vision of all the different churches and their various traditions, even ones I had been particularly critical of, and it was as if God was looking through them all as if transparent, into each individual’s heart regardless of denomination.
I was left with this final instruction, that the Bible needs to be looked at in historical context, and it is possible that it all makes sense. The impression of the reality of Jesus and the events recorded in scripture as being real people with real lives, not the disjointed religious contexts, ignited a passion in me for the truth.
Since this time I have learned that I was correct that man can not know about God, and have become a student of the Holy Spirit. God is able to teach us directly through his Spirit which dwells in us when we believe. This is my testimony and I always go back to this moment whenever I am struggling with some "rule" I am being told about and have confidence that God is well able to reach down from heaven and answer us.