When I was six years old, my parents divorced and my mother and sister and I moved to Texas. My mother took my sister and me to church every Sunday.
The other children and I attended Sunday School while the adults went to the service in the chapel. In Sunday school, we learned about the typical Bible stories: Samson and Delilah, Daniel and the Lions’ Den, David and Goliath, etc. One Sunday, our teacher put the lesson for the day aside and told us a war story.
He had been in the Air Force during World War II and while flying with his crew on a mission over North Africa, a German fighter attacked them. In the ensuing air battle the German pilot was killed or injured and his plane careened out of control through the sky. The wing of his aircraft sliced through the fuselage of the American plane. The only remaining thing that held the tail section to their plane was a small beam that ran along the belly of the plane. My teacher and the crew were scared to death that the tail section would come off and they would crash and die. So they prayed and asked Jesus to help them.
He concluded his story by saying that they made it back to their base safely and that if we ever were in trouble and needed a friend, we should call on Jesus.
Several months later, one night, after saying my prayers, “Now I lay me down to sleep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take…” I started to think about lions and tigers and things that go bump in the night. Then I started to think about death and dying. I didn’t know exactly what death was like, but I was scared. You might say – scared to death. I needed help or comfort or reassurance but I was afraid to ask my mom, so I remembered what my Sunday school teacher said, “If you need a friend, call on Jesus.” So I did. I started quietly, slowly and them more loudly. I had my hands up in the air reaching toward heaven and suddenly I was singing in this strange language.
I had no idea what that was, but I knew Jesus had answered my prayer because I was no longer afraid of death or dying.
I had no one to share this experience with and so I forgot about it until as an adult I was again seeking help (I was hurting after my divorce from my first wife). A friend told me about the exciting things that were happening in her church and suggested a book about the Charismatic renewal in the Episcopal church. I got a copy of the book and started reading the bible. One night as I was reading the Gospel of John, I read “Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘He who believes in me has eternal life'” (John 6:47). I remember saying out loud, “I don’t know exactly what believing in Jesus means, but I will try.” In the days that followed, God reminded me of my experience that night long ago when I was a scared little boy. I came to realize that He had been with me all those years, but I had ignored Him. He told me that now things were going to be different. He lifted me out of the depression I was in and He has blessed my life in every way.
I pray that as you seek Him, you will experience the joy of knowing Him and walking with Him daily.
In His Love,