I look at August 24, 1969 as the date my life started for that is when I had my first encounter with the God of all creation. What I experienced that day in New Mexico was intensely personal in nature and in some ways similar to what Saul (Paul) experienced on the road to Damascus. There is absolutely no guarantee God will provide an “experience” for a person when they come to know Him, but if He does; the person better realize how phenomenal it was and stand fast upon what took place throughout their lifetime.
It took God the better part of 24 hours to turn a disgruntled, depressed, afraid and angry kid into the most joyful, exuberant and loving young man anyone had ever seen. The change God wrought in my life was undeniable and indisputable. Everyone who knew me stood in awe at what happened to me which opened great doors for me to share the love, grace, mercy, joy and peace of God.
I did not go to a stream that Sunday morning in 1969 asking for anything. I only went because of an undeniable calling I felt to go. It was as if some gigantic hand was gently prodding me to where God wanted me to go. Far removed from the camp, in an isolated spot beside a gently moving stream, God set out to convince me that He was for real and that He loved me. Through His patience, mercy and love He waited me out and then personally helped me become what He wanted me to become.
I spent an entire afternoon sitting by that stream releasing 16 years of anger, fear and disillusionment before God. I spent an entire afternoon being convicted of my many sins and repenting of them. I spent an entire afternoon pouring out all the junk in my life that separated me from God. I spent an entire afternoon being cleansed of everything that defiled me.
I spent an entire evening and much of the night in a sleeping bag on a porch listening to it rain while writing down every possible thing I was thankful for in my life. God spent an entire evening and much of the night filling me with His goodness, grace and love. What was empty became full. What was defiled became pure.
I spent an entire morning wandering among sunflowers glistening in the sun providing beauty I had never experienced in my life. God spent an entire morning blessing me with peace which surpassed all understanding and joy unspeakable. When He was done, God in just 24 hours, had succeeded in totally transforming me into a new man, full of His spirit, love and light.
When I came down from the mountainside with sunflowers in my hair and enough for each person to have a bunch, everyone there stood was amazed and in wonder. More than one person equated what they saw in me with Moses coming down from the mount with his face aglow.
I spent an entire train ride from New Mexico to Kansas reading and teaching the group about the love of God from 1 John. I had never read 1 John in my life before then. I spent the entire trip laughing, crying and praying with the same people I had despised and wanted nothing to do with just 2 days earlier.
By the time we got back to Wichita and I stepped off that train, I will never in a million years forget the expression on my mom and dad’s faces when they saw me. They knew the instant they saw me that their prayers had been answered and that I was delivered from the demons which had afflicted me for years and nearly destroyed me.
If I lived another thousand years, nothing could ever surpass the joy, peace, thanksgiving and love I felt and manifested in August through December of 1969. The only thing that can be better is the joy of seeing my Lord face to face, which day I long for with every fiber of my heart and soul.
God’s blessings 2 you and thank you for allowing me to share my life’s story.