I know that a lot of what I have posted has been politically related. However, I have recently realized that no one really knows me. In addition, I don’t really know me. And most importantly, Jesus didn’t know me before. That was until Sunday, October 6th 2013 when I was finally baptized. I wrote this personal essay reflecting on the experience.
YES! While in Philadelphia for the Mid-Eastern States Conference, I was baptized in the name of the Holy Spirit. Thanks goes to Jon Sloan, Courtney Miller, and all of the brothers in the Greater Pittsburgh Church of Christ. I feel renewed and refreshed. As I take this step forward, I take a look back at where I was.
The first real step towards my salvation was realizing that I was truly lost and needed to come to God. That was such a shocking revelation to finally realize that. For many years, I’ve had a hardened heart towards the world and a bleak outlook. I was so negative towards other people. And grumpy.
The last two months have been a spiritual revelation in studying God’s word and His call for each and every one of us. That there is a clear distinction between darkness and light and that those in the dark are blind to the light. That each of us has to take those steps to the light. That there is nothing between the darkness and the light and that there is no grey area.
For so long, I’ve thought of myself of this super hero/Power Ranger character who has all of the power in the world and who could do anything. He had this legion of heroes with various powers that he could call upon, almost like a superhero rolodex. Most of them called this character as “him” and “the boss”. Even the enemies that he faced was afraid of him. However, he always had this internal struggle between the light and the dark. This battle extended to the point that the light and dark halves separated and fought many epic battles. In the end, both sides reconciled for the “Greater Good”. He turned out to be grey, settling for defending the world and doing the right thing but never truly coming into the light because he found the dark so comforting. He dealt with so much pain. Never truly being a friend and always alone. Turning back any signs of love and friendship, living only to fight and to die fighting despite the fact that he could not die.
However, it is this darkness that controls us and drags us away from the light. All leads to is more trouble, more sorrow, more pain. We can’t beat the internal (or external) darkness alone. If we do, all that will happen is that we will eventually die in the darkness. Today, this character has been put to rest. The difference between me and him is that the darkness still controls him, despite him thinking that he can have balance and control the light and the dark like is other powers. I may not have all of the powers of the world, but I know now that there is a difference between the dark and the light. And that I desire to be in the light SERVING Jesus and not being in control. That thought brings me peace.
I don’t know how “he” would have turned out if I stayed down this path, but as for me, this isn’t the end of a journey but a new beginning. While he could only save people physically, I have the power and responsibility to bring people to be saved by Christ spiritually. A physical saving may only last a day, Spiritual saving lasts a lifetime as long as we work for it. And to think, all of this began with a search on the internet for a church home. Thank you Jesus for looking out for me all of these years and for opening my heart! Now it’s time for me, not “him”, to put the challenge out to others. Repent and come to your salvation. If God can save me, he can certainly save you! Amen!
Even a month later, it fills my heart to see what Jesus has done for me and what he has brought me through. While I was growing up, I moved from place to place, never really making any friends or fitting in anywhere. I was in foster care for a year and half. My mother was in and out of my life and my father constantly battled drug issues. I have had to deal with a drug dealer coming into our house to kill my father while my brother and I were armed with knives. I suffered through great humiliation when I had to use paper food stamps in a store once and again when we moved to the projects before my junior year of high school. It was by the grace of God that I had mentors and family members who kept me on the right path which enabled me to get into Carnegie Mellon.
When I settled into college and adulthood, I struggled with trying to make it through school while supporting myself at the same time. I had a bout of homeless a couple of weeks before my sophomore year of college. My experiences had hardened my heart. After I finished senior year, I had to move into the Y because I didn’t have any place to go with no job awaiting me. Yet despite God granting me with a place to move into for 6 months, I grumbled at how life wasn’t fair.
When I finally started working for a temp agency, I was able to get a room on my own. While I was grateful for a job after looking for over a year, I was alone once more. I blamed the shift I was working and the long commute. In 2011, I joined an organization looking to network and possibly for friends, but I couldn’t commit to it like I wanted to. Yet, it was another blessing from God as this organization presented my next job to me a week before I was suddenly laid off of my last job that I had gotten comfortable in for over two years.
During August 2013 while I was searching for work, I felt it was time that I found a church home again. To bring myself closer God than I ever was before. God has brought me through these trials and tribulations for a reason. I am finally responding to the Cross. Calling myself a Christian isn’t enough. I have the responsibility of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Now that Jesus knows me, I know me. I hope that everyone reading this will know me and know the power that God possesses. I just hope that if someone reads this, maybe they too will come to God and recognize that it is through Christ only that we are saved.
Thank You Lord.