In a sweeping moment, a great veil of darkness was ripped from my soul. All things dark were shattered by the light of glory and my heart started to beat with life for the first time. All living creatures around me sang a new song, as if the world itself had experienced a renewing. I felt as though each new day would be filled with wisdom, joy, and understanding. I’m sure that there are those who have experienced such a transformation when coming to God for the first time. As a ten-year-old boy searching for answers my experience was nothing of the sort. Rather, it was as ordinary as my then meager life.
All things dark were shattered by the light of glory and my heart started to beat with life for the first time.
My parents and I had recently moved from the city streets of Los Angeles to the sprawling mountains of Tiller, Oregon. Just as recently, my mom had come to know Jesus and was regularly attending the nearby country church. Sunday mornings were converted from just another day to an opportunity to seek her Savior. It was one such morning – sitting in the car and waiting for the engine to warm up – that this broken young boy voiced my concerns about the future. Even at the age of ten, I struggled with the concept of how I would spend my time on this earth. I would often tell those closest to me that I was already ten and had yet to accomplish anything of significance.
I would often dream of the day that my fame as a writer would lead me to every corner of the earth; provide me with wealth untold; place me at the top of any social mountain one might consider. I would dream of starting a business and being sought after for my immense experience and wisdom. The resulting emotion was not that of joy or anticipation. No, it was a deep worry that I would run out of time to achieve such lofty goals. Time. Indeed, the one thing that many of us fight, ever knowing it’s a losing proposition, was the focus of this ten-year-old boy living in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by more nature and animals than people. Even if time itself should somehow slow, opportunity was nowhere to be found.
The rain lightly pattered on the roof of the car and streamed gently down its windshield. The engine sputtered to life with the occasional cough and grumble you’d expect from an aged Toyota four-banger. I can still smell the light fragrance of mold from the weathered cloth seats and hear the tinny sounds of Amy Grant coming from the small factory speakers. In one of my many fits of worry, I asked my mom how the lady singing could be so happy. The answer came as best answers do – simply. “Son, she knows Jesus”, mom responded with all confidence. In my desperation for answers, I asked several more questions about who this Jesus was and what it meant to know Him. With unwavering wisdom and patience, mom answered my questions and asked if I’d like to know Him as well. I responded with a whispered and unsteady yes.
She asked me to close my eyes and repeat her words, opening my heart to their meaning. The words were not many and simple enough for a ten-year-old boy to fully comprehend.
“Jesus, I know I’m a sinner and I can’t do this on my own. I do believe you died on the cross for me and rose from the grave. Please save me.”
Upon her prompting, I opened my eyes and could see the tears in hers. I felt . . . I’m not completely sure how I felt. I felt different. From my mom’s emotion, I knew that it was a moment of great importance. Over the years I’ve come to realize it’s one of those moments that is never forgotten. It was so unlike the conversion stories I’ve heard since that I’ve oft wondered what might have been wrong with me. The greatest proof of conversion occurred on the road I’ve traveled since. The road was not – as you might think – a road paved with gold and lined with brilliant diamonds.
It’s been a broken road with countless blind curves, crumbling edges, deep potholes, and more inclement weather than I’d care to admit. I spent many years since that day acting as my own god and chasing my own wisdom. With each step down this treacherous path, there has been a small sliver of light breaking through the darkest moments. It’s that small light shining from the darkest parts of my soul that offered the greatest proof a transformation occurred that day. Only recently has He brought me to my knees in such a way that my choice became giving up my life to death or giving it up to life.
I now spend time asking for his voice to become a larger part of my life and my true north. I am convinced that my ten-year-old soul was truly transformed. However, I am equally convinced that a transformed life has more to do with a daily decision to listen. I can now look back on the tragedies and triumphs of my life and see connections to a future in Him that can only be explained by divine direction.
I now understand that my path wasn’t meant to start with an overwhelming moment of transformation. Truth has shown me the start was meant to be meager; the path was meant to be broken; my transformation was meant to be daily. There are those who suffer that I can help far more deeply for they walk the broken path I’ve walked.
He has blessed me with the unique opportunity to experience a broken life with a saved soul. I shall – through all my days – be thankful for the small glimpses of my Savior leading me into a relationship with him. I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude that He chose me to glorify Him with my broken life.