Good morning, blogger friends!
It is very early in the morning where I am in the mountains of North Carolina. It is just now beginning to get daylight, but I have been up for a long time. I couldn’t sleep. I wonder how many others are out there this morning who were not able to sleep last night. I am thankful that when I cannot sleep, I can get up and relate to my Father in Heaven and know that I am not alone in whatever is going on in my life.
Many, many years ago I used to have trouble sleeping. It was awful! I could not go to sleep at night, but then when morning would be coming around I would get tired and suddenly be able to go to sleep. Then, I would sleep most of the day and, guess what, that night I could not sleep again. Now in those days, I did not know the Lord! The problems which surrounded me seemed insurmountable and I had no resources. I had no one with whom I could talk things over and solve those issues.
About half way through my life, at age 35, the old Hound of Heaven finally tracked me down. I realized that while I would have told you that I was a Christian, meaning that I had a relationship with God, I did not really KNOW Him; I only knew about Him! That was the first revelation I remember having that began to change my life. Like the Israelites coming out of Egypt, I knew about Him, but I did not KNOW Him for Who He was and wanted to be to me – which was Everything!
As I look back on that time in my life, I realize that all it meant when I said I was a Christian was that I was not a non-Christian. I did believe in God; I always had as far back as I could remember. I believed all the right things about Him, too. He was all-powerful, all knowing, and He was everywhere. He had sent Jesus to die on the cross so I could get my sins forgiven and go to heaven someday. And I believed that Jesus was coming again to “save the quick and the dead”. (The Apostles Creed) Yes, I believed all the right things about Him, but I did not KNOW Him and what I believed did nothing to help me in my everyday life.
I needed my life to change! I needed to know how to do that. I had beaten my head up against a brick wall for most of my adult life trying to make it work. It only got worse and the sleepless nights increased until I had very nearly despaired entirely of going on. I was ready to give up!
God was waiting in the wings for exactly that! He was waiting for me to give up and to see that I needed to KNOW Him, not just know about Him! I needed to come to the end of myself and realize that I was not in charge. There was nothing I could do that would make my life what I knew it could be as somewhere in the depths of my being, I knew that my life was not what it was meant to be at all. I had done all I knew to do, my very best¸ which consisted of pitiful efforts that usually complicated rather corrected my life. I was at my wit’s end!
That turned out to be a very good place to be because that was where I came to KNOW Him! As one mentor of mine (Jack Taylor) used to say ”at Wit’s End Corner” God saw to it that I heard the story of the Israelites who were God’s children. The story-teller shared that they had been down in Egypt 400 years and they had heard about Him, but they did not KNOW Him. In their bondage and misery, they cried out for deliverance and He heard them and sent Moses to lead them out of their state of slavery. He brought them out to bring them in - into relationship with Himself!
The wilderness they wandered in was designed to teach them about Him, but like me they weren’t learning much and when they had the opportunity to cross over into the Promised Land, they were still afraid. Their fear was rooted in the same thing my fear was, an absence of KNOWING Him! Upon my own realization of my state of only knowing about Him, I also realized that if they had known Him they would have been able to leave that miserable desert and enter a land flowing with milk and honey! That was God’s will for them; they blew it! I realized that I had done the same thing many times. This time I did not want to stay in Egypt or the desert; I wanted to be with Him!
How well I remember that moment when I said YES to God! I can still hear that Hound of Heaven breathing down my neck trying to get me to surrender so He could get me to relate to Him, not just know about Him, but to truly KNOW Him! Something happened then that began to change my life forever. I began to believe in a God who wanted a personal relationship with me!
I remember stepping up out of my desert of despair and walking down an aisle where I saw a cross and it was there I sat down that old life that had become more trouble than it was worth to me. It was as though I was carrying a huge bag of garbage which I left at the cross and kept on walking. I heard in my spirit man “thank you very much; I have been waiting a long time for that!” All I can really tell you is that I have never been alone since that day!
Yes, sometimes I am the only human being around, but now there is the Holy Spirit of God living within me and I am never really alone no matter what the situation. I had been alone my whole life and I did not know that what I sought after and needed so desperately was the very relationship which I now have with God. I had tried to fill that "God shaped hole" within me with other relationships to no avail. But that day, He became my Everything!
By this I mean that He was all I could think about, talk about and He began to teach me Who He really is as we began to walk and talk in the cool of the garden like it was meant to be from the beginning! In other words, we started relating or communicating! I talked and he talked! He listened and I did too... sometimes. I was in love with God! And I began to understand how much He loved me! I had been born again and God’s Spirit was within me. I had begun to live eternal life! (Romans 6:23)
I know this blog is missing some pretty pictures today and even some good scripture references and I hesitate to post one like that, but I must get on with my day. Anyway, it is the “word of our testimony which overcomes the enemy” so here you have it. I’m sure many of you have a similar story of how He drew you into relationship with Him. If so, I hope you will enjoy hearing mine and remembering your own.
If you do not have a story but can relate in some way to mine, I hope it will help you along the way to come into a deeper relationship with the only One Who loved you enough to give His life for you – Jesus!
This is my story, and I’m sticking to it!!! Many blessings,
Sonshine in the Mountains!