It is not uncommon for a woman in her thirties from the South to have spent some time throughout her childhood in the pews of a Christian church and to have gained some knowledge of the Bible. From my earliest memories, I recall having strong religious convictions and sharing them with stuffed animals on my bed and friends on the playground. But my spirituality was no different than that of a devout Buddhist, Muslim, or for that matter, I was no different than any other human being trying to to be a good person.
After years of religious activity, both private and public, all of that came to a halt. During my freshman year in college, I was in my dorm room speaking on the phone with an agnostic acquaintance, encouraging him to consider Christian things. In response he challenged me with questions that I could not answer. Baffled by his questions, I retired from the conversation with a final, “Well, the Bible does say that if we seek Him with all of our heart, He will show Himself to us. When we get off of the phone, let’s both ask God to show Himself to us…and if we mean it…and He’s real…He will.” I never spoke to the gentleman again, but after we got off of the phone, I did as we agreed, getting down on my knees, and sincerely asking God to show Himself to me.
A week or so later, God did just that. Like a mosquito buzzing in my mind, I could not escape questioning to what degree I had believed the Bible. I cannot explain it in as much detail as I wish I could, but God pulled back a curtain and allowed me to see His Word in a different light. It was as if I arrived at a travel destination and saw it in person after I had only read about it before. For the first time, my knowledge met with my soul and I understood by experience that I was spiritually dead due to my lack of purity and holiness. I understood that my sin was a direct rebellion against the One who had created me and created the universe in which I lived.
I asked God to forgive my sins on behalf of the blood shed on the cross by the pure and holy sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Since I prayed that prayer, I have always sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit with me, experiencing a life inside of me that I can describe but cannot fully explain. My knowledge of the Bible was not the reason I became a true Christian, and neither was fancy knowledge that answered deep questions about the mysteries of God. God is the reason I am a Christian, because I could not turn away from One so great, once I finally saw Him spiritually face to face.