Faith Stories

"When Christ Spoke to Me"
Dale's story     
 "He guides me in paths of righteousness, for his name's sake."
Psalm 23:3

Many people have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in a variety of ways to say the least. Dramatic personal confrontation with Jesus as Saul on the road to Damascus to gradual acceptance of who Jesus is through continuous association with His word and church. To each person who has come to know Jesus personally and accept Him as Lord, the experience is deeply personal and unique. Mine is no exception and falls somewhere in between. I had spent the first fifty years of my life turned 180 degrees from any desire to know who this Jesus was. Growing up in a fairly middle class workingman’s family I was exposed to the concept of church and the bible only through limited contact outside my family boundaries. My parents were loving, kind, and generous and provided a stable environment for young children to grow and mature. There just was no reference to anything spiritual or religious in the mix. Other people attended church; we did other things on Sunday.

Like many people, I found myself searching for meaning to my life in a variety of ways but none ever lasted very long nor provided any concrete answers to the question of why am I here. On occasion, I would even say I believed in God, or a god, but who that god was or how he might influence my life was never something I investigated deeply. It wasn’t until I was married and had children that the subject of church came up in a way that I couldn’t ignore. My wife decided that it was time for us to start attending a church to provide an alternate voice of authority for our two young boys. At first, I was completely against the idea. I preferred to sleep in on Sunday and spend the balance of the day doing anything that interested us as a family. I felt that going to church would have no effect on my life that I would deem positive. But God has a way of nudging folks in the direction He desires them to take. I reluctantly agreed to participate in a church experience when I realized my wife was determined to have our children exposed to God’s influence. I decided I would not be a de facto father but that I would join in the experience al beit for all the wrong reasons. Little did I know what God had in store for me.

After “test driving” a variety of churches in our vicinity, my wife was drawn to a small local church that offered a cooperative pre-school for our boys where we could participate in their early education. As with all the other churches we visited, one of us would attend while the other stayed with the boys and then the other would attend the next week swapping responsibilities. When my turn came, I slipped in late and sat at the back as I always did for a quick escape. However, this time was to prove very different. As the young pastor started the sermon, I was suddenly aware that what he was saying seemed to be aimed directly at me. The phrase “are you talking to me?” came to mind. My vision narrowed becoming somewhat fuzzy around the edges and I felt as though I was the only person there. I kept saying to myself “how could he know so much about me?”

For the first time, I wasn’t the first one out the door. I continued to sit in the pew pondering what had just happened, not sure what to make of it. There was no doubt in my mind that I had just been “tapped on the shoulder” by something or someone beyond my normal frame of reference. As I slowly exited the sanctuary, I knew that this was the church we were going to attend and that I had to learn more about this alien concept of God and His Word. What a magnificent God we serve! He never gave up on me and finally brought me to a place where I was able to hear His voice and ultimately respond to his call to accept the wondrous gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. The journey continues every day, for it is a journey, one that I would have never undertaken on my own. I am thrilled that God gave me the faith necessary to take the step towards Him and accept His Son Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It is not an easy journey but one I gladly continue with His loving guidance.