My testimony started here and here, and now continues.
In high school I was the guy who got along in every group. Not very good in academics, I nonetheless hit it off with my smarter classmates. Not a jock, but I gave it my all and won some respect in sports. I could shoot a basketball fairly well just standing there, but never under pressure in a game! I was the odd guy who excelled with the unicycle, but really enjoyed sharing it and teaching all who were willing to risk life and limb. I was always a singer, though I neglected to become a musician All things considered, I think my main ability was in finding common ground with just about everybody in the school, and appreciating something about each one. In fact, on of my proudest moments came when the Senior yearbook came out and I found that the editor had noted that my friends knew that I actually loved them. Oh yeah; and there was some rumor that I had a sense of humor. One of my nicknames was King DJ, which supposedly meant something like King of the Dumb Jokes.
College was different. Like the high school jock whose standout skills seem to fade among the stars from schools all over, my new surroundings put me back into social beginner mode. My roommate was semi-rowdy (I could always find my dorm room's window by the giant speakers placed therein and blaring Supertramp or Foreigner every afternoon) and was well established with like-minded friends on the floor, but I was bookish and shy while I found my bearings. Once, and all of a sudden, there was a clamor down the hall and a bunch of guys were calling my name and tramping my way. The annual campus wide trivia contest was on the radio and my roommate's team needed a quick answer to a Bible related question. I had been seen at least dabbling in my Bible, so I was suddenly the go-to guy.
Later I moved to a single room on a different floor and started from scratch again. Then came the knock on my door. It was the staff guy from some group called Campus Crusade for Christ. Never heard of it, but I was intrigued and thought maybe he had heard about my penchant for Bible trivia. Not really, but my own pride was always eager to direct a conversation to something ego-centric. When he opened our encounter by asking me if I knew much about the Bible I answered by saying "Well, I went to seminary for four years," and then stood waiting for him to ask me to take over his position or something. The guy didn't go that far, but when he did react as I desired, by saying "Then I guess you really know your Bible!", I was deeply stung.
There was no biting sarcasm or challenge in his words or tone, and it wasn't Dave (I think his name was Dave) who seemed to slap me hard across the face in that moment. I believe it was the Holy Spirit who struck me with a deep shameful sense of my sinful pride. I was stricken, and ashamed. I knew that my seminary years failed to give me any full sense of the Bible's main truths; that my academic response to God's word had been miserable (I mainly received C's and D's in Theology class each year), and that my own approach to the Bible was apathetic, careless and haphazard. And yet I tried to put forth this picture of the mature and accomplished Bible scholar by acting out with such a brazen response.
That slap worked. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, never invading another's rightful territory, but only coming in freely where a door has been opened. He knew that my heart's deep desire was to please God, even though my pride needed a violent prompt to admit it.
It wasn't long then, before I was immersed in every Bible study this campus ministry group offered, and eventually became a leader and teacher. God can do anything. And use anything, as He used those few lines of a conversation to reach into my heart and convict me of my sin. I might have refused the poke; been hardened further instead, and inadvertently challenged Him to try harder to get my attention. But when I think about it now, perhaps that "slap" was already an elevated attempt to prompt my repentance. I might have enjoyed God's presence and love much sooner had I given my Mom, in particular, more credence when she was trying to get through to me.
My commitment thus far was largely only mental. Important steps were yet to come.
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