I See It
I was born and raised in a Christian household. My life was filled with gospel presentations and teachings of the truth. Saved by the grace of God and as dedicated church-goers, my parents practiced Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is the story of how this Proverbs holds up true.
Since the day I left the womb, I had been telling people I was saved. Not only that, but I was getting saved all the time! Almost every year! Meet my mom and she can show quite a few calendars with “Michael was saved,” written on individual dates. I spoke Christianize better than anyone else. I was perfect on the outside, but on the inside I felt tortured. The reality: I hated life and everyone it- especially my family and God. I would curse at God when no one was around to hear my screams and forbidden thoughts. My family saw glimpses of this truth when they pushed my buttons, but for the most part, I kept up my façade well. I had to.
It was 2007 and things were not going my way. My dad offered me a job to help me get to summer camp. Begrudgingly I took it, and making his life and mine, miserable. We argued at every opportunity. One day he came up to me and said “Mike, you say you’re a Christian…if you actually are, then you need to act like one.” I replied with a grunt and walked away. I knew everything I had to know and did everything I had to do. Wasn’t that enough? As camp got closer, the arguments increased. The only person I never fought with was Su. It was different with her. Su was the youngest but the first to be saved. Her faith has and is always remarkable to me. She was saved around 5 years old, but the visible difference in her life, blew my mind. It all seemed so simple to her, and yet so complicated and pointless to me.
Days before camp arrived, Su came up to me, and with no malice nor intent to hurt, asked: “Michael….you say you are a Christian and that you love Jesus but I always see you fighting with mom and dad and it makes me sad. Why do you do that?” Her question was all pure love and concern, and it rocked me to the core. How crazy is it that God can use the simple faith of a child to show someone he is so blind?
I went to camp thinking about Su’s question and thinking about death. My temperamental depression had come back to haunt my every hour. I told myself I was going to heaven like I usually did, but this night it didn’t work. I knew I was a hypocrite and a liar. I knew I hadn’t repented. I knew I was a sinner. I knew I was going to hell.
Ironically, the theme for camp that year was “Alive”. As soon as we entered, we received booklets with the question “Are you alive in Christ?” brazenly printed on the front. Reading it so simply, convinced me, I was not a Christian.
Shaken by all this realization, I went into the next session hoping to get some comfort…or at least to doze off end this thought-train. Instead, the speaker spoke on death and hell. He said, if we were not alive in Christ then the sad reality is that we are headed straight to hell. I didn’t hear the rest of the message. I was terrified. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t know how to say it. In the midst of a small silence at small group time, I said to my leader, “Chad…I don’t think I’m a Christian.” He looked at me and asked why I thought so. With everyone around, I confessed I had been a hypocrite. I had convinced myself I was perfect, but really, I was just a whitewashed tomb. Between what I said and how I lived, I was two-faced. Chad suggested to go to my room and pray. So before my cabin window, I knelt and looked up to the blue skies of New Mexico and its beautiful tall trees. For the first time in years, I broke down in tears and utter brokenness. I cried out to God to save me. This time, it was real.
When I returned from camp, I told me parents the news. They wanted to believe me, but this was just another day on Michael’s calendar, and it meant nothing. Where was the fruit in my life? All I could say was “watch me and you will see.”
A year later, my dad came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I see it.” Those three words meant more to me than anything else in the world.
To anyone else who starts their testimony with, “I was born and raised in a Christian household,” praise God for His grace and mercy! And to those who cannot share that same line, praise God still for He is faithfulness to reveal His truths despite circumstances. As you can see, even the most ideal family life cannot save a rebellious and unrepentant heart. Only Jesus Christ can do such work and He will. I am a new man in Jesus Christ. My salvation is true because of His promises. I look to Him until the day I see Him face to face in heaven. Of this I am confident! I am #AnchoredNorth.