“For ‘everyone who calls on the name
of the Lord will be saved.’”
Twelve years ago, today, I became a believer. It was an incredible experience; one I shall never forget. Many of you know it. Let’s share our stories, our encounters with Jesus.
Mine was like Paul’s, a sudden, incredible meeting that completely transformed my life in a blink of an eye. I was an alcoholic. I drank every day for two and a half decades. I was unable to stop. Oh, sure, I desired to end the madness, but I was not able to overcome the tentacles of death due to my sin. I had almost died the year before, not having any clue as to how bad my health was. While fear motivated me to temporary change, I ended up in the same condition a year later.
I had a million excuses why I simply wouldn’t go into treatment. None of these were rational, given the circumstances. There was one thing, far more than any other, that kept coming to my mind – God. Now, I tell you, this was the very last option for me. I had spent just as much time, or more, denying God as I did drinking. The only reason I wanted to quit drinking was because of its side effects. Otherwise, I was all in. It was just the opposite for God. I didn’t want anything to do with him. Actually, I didn’t want anybody to have anything to do with him.
Looking back, I can clearly see how he was pursuing me. The Hound of Heaven had my scent and wouldn’t leave me alone. Growing up Catholic, I entertained the idea of seeking out a priest for confession. Deep inside, I knew that wasn’t the answer. This wasn’t my rebellion speaking. I just KNEW it wasn’t. Honestly, I had no clue as to what I needed to do. Night after night, I tossed and turned as I felt my physical condition worsen to the point it was at the previous year. I knew I was in deep trouble.
Then, one day, on my way home from work, I stopped at Barnes and Noble and bought the book entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous” which is more commonly known as “The Blue Book” in AA circles. Why that? I’m not sure, other than I was familiar with it from my teenage years when my father was floundering through many years of treatment. I started to read it in the parking lot.
As I read through it, I kept running into the same message – If you are truly an alcoholic as we were, there is no hope apart from God. Next page, same message. Over and over I turned the pages hoping to find some answer besides God. Finally, I stopped and started to think. Actually, there wasn’t much thinking. It was as if time was standing still, and my mind was completely numb. The only thing I remember was thinking, “I will do anything you want, even if it means telling people about you.”
Bam! As soon as that last word crossed my mind and in a blink of an eye, it was as if my truck was picked up, tumbled around, and dropped back down. I envisioned it like a cartoon with clouds of dust swirling around. My truck didn’t actually move. God moved. I didn’t know what had happened, although I knew it was something big. Really big.
It was at that precise moment that God took away my alcoholism. He completely removed my desire for booze. I’ve been sober for twelve years now, and not a drop has touched my lips, nor have I had any desire for any. None. That’s rare. Most people go through a lengthy struggle before they find actual relief. Mine came in an instant.
The next day, the thought of Jesus came to mind, and I wondered what to do about him. Almost immediately, I could feel God assuring me that all I had to do is go along with it. I knew I could trust God, and Jesus was part of his package. Indeed, he is.
From that first day on, I have had an intense hunger for the bible. I knew I had a gift in sobriety that was mine to lose. It still is. I knew I must dive deep into this Jesus business if I was to keep it. And, you know what? Through this, I ended up talking about Jesus all the time. This is crazy, because the LAST thing I ever wanted to be is a bible-thumping, Jesus Freak, but here I am, writing a blog that can be seen by anyone!
You see, my pledge wasn’t my idea. Trust me, I would have never even considering offering that just in case God would make me do it. Nope, there was no way I would risk that. Nonetheless, I said it, and my world changed. Looking back, I understand that this was God bowing me down to him. It wasn’t something I wanted, but it was something that I willingly accepted and agreed to. Willingly. Incredible!
Folks, as I study my bible, I see my story fit perfectly. Let me share just a few verses, if I may.
Romans 1:20b-22 So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.
Romans 3:10-12 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
John 14:6 Jesus said to them, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Folks, these verses aren’t just for me. They apply to all of us. My story is dramatic and serves to plainly show that all the glory is God’s, and none is mine. That’s the same for all believers, whether you have an “Ah Ha!” moment or if you have seemingly always believed in God.
Why did he have mercy on me? Romans 9 talks about that. But, why me? I have no idea. All I know is apart from him, somewhere there would have been a stone inscribed:
That’s a fact, Jack. Oh, and my permanent address would have been the Lake of Fire.
Father, what can I say? Thank you.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers