My story is a story of pursuit. God’s pursuit of me and my pursuit of everything else. I know that God has been pursuing me since the day that I was born and I can see that He continues to pursue me today.
This is my story.
Before I met Jesus
You’ve heard stories of people that grew up in quote-unquote “Christian” homes. They went to church together every week. They got together with their extended families after church and had lunch together. They talked about Jesus during the week and had Bible studies, community groups, and other church related activities as a part of their lives.
That’s not my story. I didn’t grow up in a “Christian” home. We didn’t always go to church. We didn’t have the family over for lunch afterward. God wasn’t a part of our everyday lives.
Looking back now, it seemed that Jesus, much like politics, was something that you didn’t talk about with other people. It was something that you held inside and didn’t discuss. Who I voted for, and what I believed about God were things that I didn’t have to talk about with you because they were deeply personal issues. Oh, and don’t ask any questions about them because I’m just not going to tell you.
My childhood wasn’t horrible by any means. There were just some things that you didn’t talk about. Ever.
That being said, even as a kid, I had knowledge about God. My parents did make me attend mass at a local Catholic church every once in a while and I even went to catechism (like after-school school to learn about God). I was baptized as a baby, had my “First Communion”, and attended “Confirmation.”
I knew who God was. I knew names and places and stories and facts. But “knowledge about” does not equal “relationship with.”
To this day, I still do not know why my parents made my three sisters and I go do these things. Maybe it was tradition? Perhaps they went through it when they were kids and thought that we should too? Whatever the reason, I can say that the end result is that a foundation was laid that would have an impact later in my life. I’m really grateful for that. I may not have grown up in a “Christian” home, but looking back now I can see that this was God pursuing me when I didn’t even know that I needed to be pursued.
When I met Jesus
On my very first night at college I met the woman who would eventually be my wife. We were both incoming freshmen and she and one of her new roommates happened to be walking by our dorm room on the way to see a friend of hers from high school that also lived in our building. My roommate and I stuck our heads out of the door as they walked by and struck up a conversation. There’s a long story in there that I can tell another time about how we eventually ended up dating. It’s a pretty funny one.
In our sophomore year, another new roommate of mine met Jesus. When he did, he went in all the way. He read his Bible all the time and was genuinely curious about what he was reading. He would talk about it all the time. If I’m honest, I remember feeling like it was kind of annoying.
This roommate and my by now girlfriend (who I also knew was a Christian) would sit and discuss things about the Bible and Jesus … in front of me … on purpose. They were scheming.
All of their discussions eventually led to me moving from being annoyed to being pretty curious about what they were talking about. The knowledge I had about God wasn’t necessarily matching up with the relationship that they were discussing. I knew about God. What’s the big deal with needing a relationship? I knew the Bible stories. What’s salvation and why do I need it?
So I started asking questions. I asked Heather if I could read her Bible. I asked more questions. I laughed at some of the stuff that I thought was stupid. I asked even more questions.
Eventually, God broke me down. Bit by bit any walls I had up started to crumble. The more I read and the more I asked questions, the more it became clear that I knew about God, but I didn’t really know Him personally. So on March 22, 1994, in my dorm room in Ypsilanti, Michigan I asked Jesus to come into my heart and start a relationship with me.
God pursued me all the way into a relationship with Him. He loved me when I was unlovely. He cared for me when I’m not sure I could have cared less about Him. He came after me when I was running away as far as I could from Him.
After I met Jesus
I’d be lying if I told you that life after meeting Jesus has been easy. It has never been all sunshine and roses. I’ve been addicted to porn and been through the agony of bankruptcy. There were times where my marriage was hanging on by a thread. I experience struggles just like everyone else. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been disappointed. I’ve tried to run away from God so many times that I stopped counting.
But my story isn’t a story of how many times I’ve run. My story is of a God who continues to pursue me despite my running. It’s a story of someone who truly loves and cares for me and how He comes for me again and again, day after day.
The reason that I went through addictions and bankruptcy and my marriage falling apart was because of decisions that I made. They were my fault. That was me running away. But it’s because of God that the addiction is gone, we are on the other side of that bankruptcy, and that my marriage is now over 21 years old.
I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff in my life. I’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money running away from the God who loves me. Even so, I’ve seen His hand, His blessing, and His pursuit of me all along the way. He’s never given up on me. He is pursuing me even today.
That’s my story.