Monday, January 17, 2011

A Personal, Passionate Love Story

We had a very refreshing Fresh Encounter Prayer Service last night, and I was overwhelmed once again w/ how much Jesus loves us.  That carried over to my prayer time this morning, and I felt like God was covering my heart in a blanket of soft, downy feathers.  It just seemed like I was curled up in his lap as He told me the story of my life.  Through His word, yes, even while reading the "dry" book of Numbers, he gently convicted me of sin and forgave me when I confessed.  He has a beautiful plan for my life, and I love Him so much for it!

It reminded me of a drama I wrote for Easter of 2006.  It was a back-and-forth dialog between Mary of Bethany and me, my real personal story.  I hope you enjoy it!

Since I met Jesus
Easter, 2006

Mary: I was raised in Bethany as a good Jewish girl in a pretty wealthy family.  We always had more than we needed, but I had an emptiness inside and I didn’t know where to look.  When my brother Lazarus and sister Martha and I first heard of this man who was prophesying and doing all sorts of miracles, I was eager to see if this was what I’d been waiting for.  And when I met Jesus

Becky: When I met Jesus, I was really young.  My parents took me and my older brother to a good Bible teaching church.  When I was only four years old, I understood that I had disobeyed and was not going to Heaven, but Jesus died for me and if I asked, He’d forgive me.  So that’s what I did.  My faith was basic, very simple, but even at that young age, it wasn’t just a religion.  I’d been introduced to a person. 

Mary:  I had never met anyone like him.  His teaching was convicting and stern and sometimes shocking, but he was also patient and sincere.  When he spoke, I was caught up in how wise he seemed.  He handled every situation uniquely without the typical answers I’d come to expect.  He was real.  Yes, Jesus was real.

Becky:  Jesus was real, and as I got older, I learned more about Him.  He is one with God and created everything.  He’s been around forever.  He loved me enough to die for me and now cares about the details of my life.  But more than all the facts and Bible verses I’ve memorized, what impresses me most about Jesus is that he really does want me to know him.

There have been times in my life when I’ve lost friends because of my faith in Him.  I’ve done or said things to please Jesus instead of pleasing them.  It was hard, but I was never alone.  Jesus was with me in third grade when I was the new kid in school and He sat with me under the stars when I’d silently think about his power.  I can trace a line through my entire life, every moment of it, and although friends and family have constantly changed, He was with me.

Mary:  He was with me and my family a lot.  My brother, Lazarus, was especially close to him, which is why we were so surprised when he suddenly became sick and died.  Really, I can’t explain the anguish in my heart, I was grieved and torn apart.  It was a moment of truth for me.  I knew in my mind He was the messiah. I had sat at His feet for hours listening to Him teach.  He even commended me for it once, that I was doing the right thing. 

So when we lost Lazarus, even after asking Jesus to come and help, and after seeing him heal so many people he didn’t even know, I was so – surprised – that this was really happening to us. 

When Jesus finally arrived, Lazarus had been gone for three days.  When I went out to meet him I could barely look up.  My eyes must have been red and swollen.  I was certain that Jesus could have healed him and yet He chose not to… and that fact just pierced through my heart.  So I simply fell to his feet, and with all the faith in me I said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."  If only he had been there…

Becky:  Sometimes I wish I could have been there when Jesus was alive.  To have actually seen him.  But in a way I think we’re more fortunate than they were because they didn’t have Him with them all the time, like we can now. 

Mary:  You know the best part?  Jesus, who was all-knowing, didn’t rebuke me or say there’s a reason for everything.  Jesus wept.  He cried and hurt with me.  Do you see the love?  Do you see the lack of condemnation? 

So when he began talking about his death, my faith was already stronger after seeing him bring my dear brother back to life.  I knew I couldn’t always understand his ways, and I trusted that He would somehow make everything alright.  I accepted his eventual death and did what I had to do – I poured my most beautiful fragrance all over his feet and wiped it with my hair… he even said I was preparing him for his burial… I’ll never forget the way the room smelled… After all He’d done for me, I had to trust Him.  And wait and see.

Becky:  I’m still looking forward to seeing him.  I think for a long time I wanted to go to Heaven because of all the nice things – like no more sickness, golden streets, seeing family members that I missed, and these are all good things.  But as I look back over my life, and how He has been the only friend who has seen me, daily, from birth until now, through everything, and loves me anyway – I can honestly say now that it’s starting to change where more than anything else, I can’t wait to see Him.

Mary:  I can’t wait to see him again.  He’s coming back, we’re all waiting for it.  The time spent with him was the most special and valuable and amazing in my life.  If only you could have seen him.  He never lost his temper, even after a long day helping others.  He was never impatient or hurried, and He always did and said what was in our best interest.  He was passionate about truth and didn’t compromise, ever.  Jesus was just perfect, the perfect friend, and the perfect person to be around.  I can’t wait to be with Him again…

Becky:  Maybe we’ll take a long walk and talk about my life, kind of like going back through a scrapbook and reminiscing.  He’ll probably remember funny things I did when I didn’t think anyone was looking, like kissing a poster of Kirk Cameron or dancing in front of my mirror with my make-believe prince.  Maybe we’ll just laugh.  I don’t know. 

Mary:  I don’t know what I did before him.  But I know my life has been changed.

Becky:  Am I a Christian?  Oh, yeah, but it’s so much more. 

Mary:  He filled the emptiness.

Becky:  My life has real meaning.  And since I’ve met Jesus,

Mary:  I’ll never be the same.

By Becky Emerick, Easter, 2006


Cheryl Ruetz said...

Your story is so similar to mine-I know young conversions are real-praise God! Sometimes it's tough though because those saved later in life can talk about the changes in their life and sometimes I feel they don't give my testimony as much credit because God didn't save me from a life of obvious sin as a 4 year old. Some often talk about how you should KNOW you are different from before you were saved, but growing up with Him doesn't give me a lot to say about before/after. I know I'm saved and am different than I would have become, but not that much different prior to converting. Do you have a good response to those people who seem to question childhood conversions?

Stephanie B said...

Wow, Becky, this is excellent. You have a way with words, please continue to use it to bless the Body.

Becky said...

Cheryl, you ask a wonderful question. I spoke with one of my childhood pastors tonight about it, and he had some encouraging words:

“Who knows the heart of a youngster better than the Lord. I believe we treat them as though they know the Lord if they say they do, unless there are no signs of the Light of the Lord being in them, and then we proceed from there. But I would never assume it hadn't ‘taken’ or wasn't true just because of their age.”

That being said, consider some of the other younger children in the Bible who clearly were following after God. Kids like David, Josiah, Samuel, and Mary. We are told to have faith like a child, and Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to “such as these.”

Overall, I think that time will show the fruit of any believer’s new life in Christ, and the process of sanctification is a long road.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thess 5:23

Becky said...

Cheryl - one other thought. We are all sinners. Your sins may have included disobeying your parents and complaining about bedtime, where as someone saved later lied, gossiped, slandered, and cheated on his taxes. To God, however, we have all turned away from Him and are guilty of death.

We are closer to the wickedest murderer than we are to the perfect example of Jesus. The enormity of the fact that we were born as enemies of God by our own rebellion, choosing to set ourselves us as the thing to be worshiped, put us against God.

I have to just praise God for my "boring" testimony. It is only by His grace that He rescued me from darkness into light. And it is an answer to my parent's prayers as well.

For everything good I've ever done, He created me with a purpose, He gave me the abilities, He gave me the opportunity, and He empowered me to do it! All the praise and Glory goes to Him.