Last week, after years of questions and attempts to find God, my close friend Mike became a Christian. For the first time he sat down to pray and felt the tangible presence of God that could not be denied and it enabled him to let go of all of his doubts and fears. My favorite moment last week was watching him at church for the first time after this life changing experience. We had a guest speaker from Turkey who talked about his dramatic conversion from Islam to Christianity that literally saved him from death, but eventually led to years of false imprisonment for his faith. I had assumed that most new Christians would be turned off or scared by such a dramatic story and I turned to check on how he was doing. There was an unbelievable look of love and excitement on his face that shocked me. I could see that he wanted what this man talked about more than me who has been a Christian for years. I was humbled.
I began to ask myself: What happened to my first love? Why am I not on the front of my seat at every sermon hoping to gain some grain of truth that I have not yet soaked up? Where is the daily excitement and passion?
Sitting in my self pity, the 147 express bus exited off Lake Shore onto Michigan and my ipod switched to ‘Down on the Corner’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down on the Corner
As I prayed, I heard the words ‘If this is the love experienced by those who just met me, think of the love that is there that have know me deeply for years.’ These words penetrated my heart and I excited the bus in a similar state to my friend Mike on Sunday. All the weight and stress of school seemed to melt away, a smile came to my face and even the sun seemed to shine more brightly. I fear that I even began to walk down Michigan Avenue with a little bit of a strut. (It is always risky to walk with head phones on in public). Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time my love of God led me to do embarrassing things. It is amazing how a simple change in our outlook on life can drastically change how we experience life.
I realized that my relationship with God does not need to be filled with a set of emotional highs, but instead he has replaced that with a deep inner knowledge of his continual presence. It is also comforting, however, to know that when I really need that extra touch that he is there.
Mike has inspired me. I want to be the person fully expecting to see God in every moment. Perhaps this starts by ending my willingness to fall asleep in church under the explanation that it is probably ‘holy sleep.’ I know there is balance here, but I fear that I have become complacent letting God find me. Like any relationship, I need to reciprocate the effort and seek his heart as much as he is seeking mine.
I am excited to be in this time of law school, where, for the first time, I am being tested to my limits. Tested to the point where I will most likely fail at some point. I am grateful that God is using this period to both draw me closer to him and to force me to set tough priorities. I both fear and hope for the next moment when God brings me to my knees.