And Then One Day, I'll Cross that River
In our lives, we have stories that we repeat. Often, we do so because the tale is funny. Sometimes we tell tales that make us look good. I often use a good story to build or reinforce friendships with people. Every once in a while, something happens and we feel compelled to revisit a story because the event was so powerful that it fundamentally changed our life. I know I've mentioned this before, but please bear with me. This is a story that needs to be heard.
I remember the day that I got saved. I was around four. I remember realizing one day that I was hollow. I just felt empty. I remember telling this to my big sister, Susan, during Sunday school class. She told me that Jesus had promised that if I would ask Him to come into my heart and let Him have control over me (and if I really meant it) that He would come and live in me and never leave me. He would always be with me! Oh Man! That sounded so good that I prayed right then and there for Jesus to move in and just take over.
The only way that I can describe it is that, although I once was empty, when I asked Jesus to be LORD of my life, He filled me up. I felt the warmth of God flood my soul. Some will try to scoff at this because I was just a little kid, but believe me, I know what I know. Something fundamentally changed in me and Jesus moved in. It wasn't just empty words. Now let's fast forward a bit.
Several years later, when I was around seven, I almost drowned at church camp. I was with some older boys who were supposed to be watching me but didn't. Unknown to them, I stepped off into a big hole and quickly found myself sinking to the bottom of the river. I didn't know how to swim, and they were making so much noise splashing and wrestling around with each other that no one heard me. So, there I was, sitting on the bottom of Center Creek in about 8 feet of water. I remember thinking to myself that me drowning was probably going to kill Mom and Dad. But there was no way around it. This was the end. What happened next is hard to describe.
Suddenly out of nowhere, I felt the presence of God. And it wasn't coming from outside. He was within. I didn't see any bright lights or tunnels. I didn't hear the fluttering of Angel wings. There was none of the goofy stuff that people often make up so they can have something to talk about later. No one was urging me to "run to the Light." The best way that I can describe it is that the Holy Ghost so strongly saturated me with His presence that I honestly felt Him rising up and swelling up inside of me. And there was this overwhelming knowledge of Him telling me, "Shhhh! I promised you I'd never leave. Feel Me! See? I'm still here and I'm not going away from you. I've got you. Just rest." And there (in about 8-10 ft of water) I closed my eyes and blacked out in the middle of the greatest peace I've ever felt.
Since I'm still alive to write this, You can guess the rest of the story. A guy named Scotty Glaven jumped in and pulled me out and was able to revive me. Scotty, If you ever read this, I LOVE YOU.
Here's the point: Just as the song 'Because He Lives' says, I know that someday I'll fight my final fight and cross that river of death. But... when I do, the only thing that will happen is that pain, despair, and death itself will be swallowed up by the constant friend who lives inside me. HE IS SOOO MUCH BIGGER than anything else. I'm not some super-spiritual self-righteous quack. I'm not out to impress you with my faith or the depth of my relationship with God. But as someone who's been there, I can assure you that the still small voice of God gets bigger when needed. He can take your eyes off of any crisis. He can drown out fear. He can wash away sorrow. He overcame death for you with His resurrection and when He finally does decide to carry you to your new home, YOU WON'T HAVE TO FACE JORDAN ALONE... (you may not even feel it due to the strength of His presence).
Love you all,
If you're not saved, don't wait! Thank God I didn't have to wait until I was sitting on the bottom of that dirty river to find Him. He was already there inside me when the trouble came. Now is the appointed time of salvation. Be ready before you step off into the deep end. Why would you want to be empty, hollow and afraid for even one second longer? Oh! What it feels like to never be alone! It's incredible to never have to live in despair. Nothing compares. If you ever want us to pray with you, every single member of this pastoral staff will happily introduce you to the greatest love of our lives. Please ask!