From early childhood I was familiar with the deep emptiness of my soul. It was relentless, characterized by loneliness, despair, darkness and fear.
As a young child I also suffered from serious health problems. At age four I was diagnosed with a significant, chronic disease.
Relative to the emptiness of my soul and the harshness of navigating life with a serious health problem, I spent a large amount of time looking for answers. Many of the resources I turned to in the self-help section of local bookstores could be classified as New Age and/or occultic.
In ignorance, I eventually made a conscious choice to surrender to the darkness. I was 12 years old. One year later I began to abuse drugs and alcohol in aggressive fashion.
By age 20 I had already experienced most of what the world had to offer. I learned that accomplishment in higher education, business ownership, social involvement and athletic endeavor could not satisfy the emptiness and longing of the soul. Therefore, it was largely meaningless.
Despite the difficulties associated with my childhood, I had been taught that Jesus Christ is God. As I grew older I didn’t forget.
In desperation, I began to search for the Jesus I had learned about in my childhood. For the next four years I attended church services, read Christian books and spoke to a significant number of people in church leadership. I also attempted to receive Christ at “altar calls” on four different occasions in three different churches. For all intents and purposes I believed I was a Christian. Nevertheless, the emptiness and meaninglessness of life continued unabated. It was accompanied by the unmistakable presence of evil.
By age 24 I met with a church leader who knew Jesus personally. He asked me if I would like to be introduced to Him and surrender the control of my life to Him. I quickly responded in the affirmative and explained that I had been trying to meet Jesus for the previous four years. The prayerful battle that ensued was intense but brief. Afterwards it was very clear that my heart was no longer empty. It was filled with a sense of unconditional love and peace like I had never before experienced. In addition, the darkness became light and my fear was replaced by faith.
My introduction to Christ was more than 37 years ago. In the time since I have learned more completely the need for the redemptive death and resurrection of Christ.
The death of Christ was sacrificial in nature. I had broken God’s law. I was a sinner. It was painfully obvious and I deserved to die for my sin. Nevertheless, Jesus did it for me. By faith in His sacrificial act, I could freely experience forgiveness for every time I had broken the law of God; past, present and future. Unconditionally forgiven of all sin, the hindering presence of sin was canceled. As a consequence, I was privileged to enjoy intimate fellowship with the living God.
Without the resurrection of Christ there could be no life. Because He lives, I could receive new life, His life residing within. By His Spirit, Jesus came to live within my innermost being. Therefore, I was able to know Him personally. Intimately joined to God in Christ through a union of shared life, I learned that my deepest need wasn’t merely to be rescued from the emptiness and longing of my soul. Instead, it was for my soul to be filled to overflowing with the living Christ.
During the last 37 years I have not only been privileged to learn more fully my need for the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, but what it means to walk with God as a beloved child rather than to work for Him as a religious hireling. Relative to the intimacy of His indwelling presence within His children, I learned that the forgiveness of God is without limit, His life is infinite and His love is boundless. Therefore, I can state unequivocally that I am unconditionally forgiven of all sin, His infinite life is my life and I am loved without limit. “…to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
After receiving Christ, I was blessed to receive a B.S. in Business Administration from Southern Oregon University in 1986 and a Master of Divinity from Multnomah University in 1991. My wife Kathleen and I have been married for 37 years. We enjoy living in Bend, Oregon.
Living on the edge of eternity,
Questions or comments?