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 had a career in the Navy when moving was frequent. I do not remember living in one place longer than four 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.
We were always active in the local church throughout my school years, 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 plans, I had signed up at my mom’s instigation to help staff at a Christian camp during half of the summer. During the eight 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 living and dynamic; and very appealing to me. I don’t mean to imply that my parent’s faith was as dead as mine, and I am sure it was not. But it had never been as apparent to me as it was that summer.
While I do not remember the specific day, I do remember the occasion very vividly when I ultimately surrendered my life to the lordship of Christ. And even more vividly, I remember the transformation 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 transforming my desires, my language was transformed.
In the Years Since
In the decades since then, I have often looked back to that event 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 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 mainly sought to live for him. I have been active within a local church wherever I have been. And I have eagerly desired to grow in God’s grace and 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 about 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!”