This is an interview with a believer who is typical, rather than ordinary, as no Believers life will be ordinary due to the supernatural influence of the Almighty God. I put brackets around my questions to distinguish them from the responses.
[Your story is somewhat unique in that you never seemed to go through a period of open rebellion or what might typify a “lost” way. Can you describe in your experience of being lost, your search for God, and his opening of light and truth.]
I did not go through a real period of outright rebellion. I grew up in a strict, fundamentalist family and was basically a compliant young person. However, although saved at age six, I did not really commit my life to God until my mid-thirties. I lived a more or less Christian moral code before then and had a fear of God but did not put God first in my life. I had a Dark Night of the Soul experience around age thirty-six where I was struck with an illness and faced a dark spiritual despair where I felt like God withdrew from me for a short season. This led me to review my life and I found it spiritually wanting. Thereafter, I rededicated my life to Christ and He returned to me and the despair left and joy returned. The interesting thing about this dark time is that as I repented of not putting God first in my life I was given a hunger for the Word which was amazing. All I wanted to do during this period was to get home from work and get back into the Word. The hunger has continued since that time although not quite the amazing way it was during that short period.
[During your Dark Night of the Soul, you “felt that God withdrew”, but which happened first, God’s withdrawal or your own ambivalence toward Him? Can you expound on living a life that is “spiritually wanting”, more specifically, what changed, how did spirituality manifest itself in your renewal (other than your hunger for God word)?]
My own ambivalence toward Him came first, for sure. I more or less ignored Him while going about my life and he withdrew from me for a short season. Spirituality was manifest by increased participation in Church, including getting involved in regular Bible study groups. I started going to Sunday School for the first time in years and getting involved in the Singles group and various ministries in Church including ministering with the homeless. I also began lessening my involvement in softball which for me had become an idol.
[In the midst of your pilgrimage with the Lord, you were suddenly impressed with an insight into God’s Sovereignty. How did that realization impact you?]
It happened during my dark night of the soul. My increased hunger for the Word caused me to come to passages (and readings in associated commentaries) that showed me clearly that God was sovereign over all, including salvation. Since that time my conviction and certainty in God’s sovereignty has only grown. Really, I would be terrified if anything was in my or anyone’s control other than God. I praise him continually for His sovereignty over all!
[I remember you sharing with me your new insight into God’s Sovereignty. About the same time, I was given a book, “The Sovereignty of God”, by Arthur Pink, shortly before our conversation. For me, it was an epiphany that unlocked an understanding of predestination and made sense in every context. How did the peace and comfort you received through the knowledge of God’s Sovereignty affect your witness to those around you?]
My witness was affected by not letting my inability to initiate conversation with people (I am an introvert) prevent me from making myself available. When I came upon a potential witness situation with a stranger I asked God to allow them to speak to me if He wanted me to witness to them and lo and behold they did at times and I witnessed to them. Some times they did not speak and I took this as God’s sovereign plan that this was not the time for this person.
[The power of truth can not be overstated. Lives are changed, hearts are healed, the bondage and burden of sin is lifted, peace and rest flow like a river into a dry and troubled soul, and Yeshua Messiah is exalted to the highest place where He belongs. The Believer’s life is a testimony of God’s love and mercy.] “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3: 18).