My Personal Testimony
This is a brief account of my journey of faith. A journey that almost didn’t happen. But one that has been the best of my life.
I was born into a Christian family, the oldest of three kids. My Dad was career Navy, at a time when moving was frequent. I do not remember living in one place longer than 4 years at a stretch, and usually much shorter. As far back as I can remember my family attended a local church in the community we lived in. I grew up believing it was just a natural thing that people did. And so, at age 9 I walked the aisle of our local Baptist church, made a profession of faith and was baptized.
Throughout my school years we were always active in the local church, and I was a ‘good’ Christian youth. I never really thought much about what that meant though. And eventually it became something that prevented me from enjoying some of the things that I saw other people doing. When my senior year of high school rolled around I started looking forward to getting away from home and being on my own. And that did not include any plans to continue to be active in a church. After graduation I enlisted in the Navy, with a 3 month delayed entry, and looked forward to the freedom it would afford me.
Unfortunately for my own plans, I had, at my mom’s instigation, signed up to help staff at a Christian camp during half of the summer. During the 8 weeks I was there I met a group of other high school graduates and college students who had something I had heard about but had never experienced. And the more I was around them, the more I wanted what they had. Their relationship with Christ was much more than following a set of rules and performing the right rituals. They exhibited something that was living and dynamic; and something that was very appealing to me. I don’t mean to imply that my parents faith was as dead as mine; and I am sure it was not. But it had never been as obvious to me as it was that summer.
While I do not remember the specific day, I do remember very vividly the occasion when I ultimately surrendered my life to the lordship of Christ. And even more vividly I remember the transformation that it made in who I was. My plans for what I would see and do while in the Navy were upended. Not because I felt guilt over them. But because I was no longer interested. And in addition to a transformation of my desires, my language was transformed.
In the Years Since
In the decades since then I have often looked back to that to verify that indeed something real had happened to me. It was more than just an intellectual decision on my part. It was life changing. And in the nearly 50 years since that time I have sought to follow Jesus as my Lord. I have not always been successful. But I have always claimed him as Lord and mostly sought to live for him. I have been active within a local church wherever I have been, as well as the local association. And I have eagerly sought to grow in God’s grace and in obedience.
I cannot begin to imagine what course my life would have taken had it not been for that summer when I encountered Jesus. But I have no regrets in the choice I made to follow him. And to continue to follow him throughout the intervening years. Through all that life in this world has brought my way, he has been faithful. And my greatest desire is to stand before him and to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”