Alan's testimony "A Living Wind....." on 11/11/2015, 7:28am...
I still remember vividly that warm summer day when my friends and I were sitting on the sidewalk in front of the local shoe store. Small town USA. A guy who we later labeled a “Jesus Freak” came walking by handing out religious pamphlets. Everyone else refused to take one, but I took mine. It held no real significance for me at the time, since I really wasn't searching for anything in my life. I wasn’t unhappy or poor or sick, or abused or in a hopeless state of mind. I was just a teenage kid enjoying the summer with his friends. I almost threw it away when I got home, but I reasoned that it wasn’t taking up very much space in my wallet, so I decided to leave it there.
About a month later, I was up in the country hitch-hiking around. I decided to take a short cut by hoofing it through the woods on a set of old railroad tracks. Trying to get home before my parents flagged me late for supper. About half way there I got tired, so I sat down on one of the rails to take a short breather. I had nothing else to do, so I decided to clean out my wallet. The very first thing that fell out was that little pamphlet! I still remember the cover. It had a little ‘stick figure’ man on it that had one foot in the shadow and the other in the light. The title was simply that: “Stepping Into The Light”. As I began to thumb through it, I could see that it was your basic plan of salvation. But somehow it was more compelling than the other Christian literature that I’d read. It pointed out using the scriptures that all of man’s best works were as filthy rags before a righteous, perfect God. And that even one sin would be enough to keep me out of Heaven. But that God, in His great love for mankind, had sacrificed His only son Jesus to pay for my debt instead. It said that it had already happened, and all I had to do was accept it. It went on to quote Jesus in Revelations 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. And if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and fellowship with him, and he with me.” Then it said… and I’ll never forget this…. ”Do you feel that tug at your heart?” And I DID! I felt a small, still pull in the deepest part of my heart. It continued…”That’s Jesus knocking! Just open the door and let Him in!” I don’t know exactly how it happened. I just remember ‘turning around’ in my heart and taking hold of that handle and opening the door. And that’s when Jesus came flooding in!
In that millisecond of unification, the very first thing I realized was that I had actually met a living person! And that it was all true. Everything that I had ever been taught about the God of the Bible. That Jesus was indeed alive, and He really had ascended into Heaven just like the Bible said, and would never die again. I had always believed in God, I guess. But now I had more than a belief… I had a knowledge. I had met a living person on the railroad tracks that day. His soul breezed through mine like a living wind. In that moment, all my sins were washed away. I could feel sins that I had totally forgotten about falling off me like old cloths! And I was made into a new person. In that instant I also received a brief glimpse of the afterlife. A taste of living water. And the promise of a spiritual body that I would one day receive that would never get sick or grow old or die.
I was never to fear death again after that day. The fear and uncertainty of that inevitability had simply left me. “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” They have no more power because Christ has overcome both the world and the grave. "Behold, I make all things new". And He did in me that day. And He still does in others today. To those who first turn when they hear that knock and then open the door of their hearts and ask Him to come in.
I wish I could say that my life was smooth sailing after that experience. But it was not. Like everyone else, I have been tempted and I have fallen many times. Often times with serious and lasting consequences. I even doubted God’s goodness for several years, and had a real negative relationship with Him during that period. But God never gave up on me! And I was never once unsure about the realities of what I came to know on that day. Now I know why Paul calls it “the helmet of salvation”. Because no one, nor anything else in either this world or the spirit world, can ever get inside my head and make me deny what I now know to be a fact. Jesus says... “It is the will of the Father that I should not lose even one of all those He has given me, but I should raise them to eternal life on the last day”.
I often marvel at the fact that while I wasn’t looking for Him, He reached down and scoped up an undeserving person like me. And the best part of it was, it was free! After all of these years and all the trials, He has never, ever let go. And I know with all of my heart and mind and soul that He never will.