So many choices . . . but only one way to God.
by Connie Sturm Cameron
They persistently showed up every Tuesday, knocking on my door with an uncanny ability to appear immediately after my daughter went down for her nap. As a stay-at-home mom, lonely for adult conversation, I welcomed their visits.
Contrary to what I’d always heard about the religious group they represented, these ladies were friendly and not at all pushy. The main visitor, Jan, came every week and usually brought a different friend each time.
I was curious about religions — what each stood for and why. I was in my early thirties, with two young children who were beginning to ask questions about God. And I had few answers to give them.
I didn’t want to believe in just any god. As a child, I attended a Protestant church on holidays and learned enough about God to know that as the Creator of the universe, He was jealous. It stood to reason, then, that He wouldn’t allow people to have any other gods. There had to be only one God and only one way to that God. But what was it?
My flippant curiosity about God and religion swiftly escalated into an all-out search for truth. I also had to face the emptiness in my soul that had haunted me most of my life. I had been searching for something and had attempted to fill that void with various outward pleasures, but each attempt only left me with a deeper longing.
Between this spiritual void and my confusion over so many different religions, I became driven to get some answers. I began attending a variety of Protestant church services in addition to studying the Bible with Jan during our weekly visits. I even began reading about other religions, such as Catholicism and Mormonism. With so many beliefs out there, all claiming to be “the way,” I quickly became more and more confused.
As the weeks went by, my frustration mounted. Oddly, I couldn’t seem to get memories of my grandmother and her relationship with Jesus out of my mind. Grandma was a loving, peaceful person who lived her faith.
She used to refer to Jesus and God as one and the same, using their names interchangeably. Yet Jan continually stated that Jesus was just a teacher and a prophet, not God.
I also knew that Grandma devoted time to God every day through prayer and reading the Bible. Then it dawned on me that I had been neglecting these two disciplines. I’d researched books at the library, held Bible studies in my home, attempted to meet with a pastor, and even tried to speak to my Christian neighbor. The problem was, I had been trying to get answers from other sources, neglecting to turn to God.
Suddenly I knew what I had to do. I dropped to my knees and prayed, “Heavenly Father, this is all so confusing, yet my heart tells me it shouldn’t be. I don’t know who or what to believe. Please show me the truth.”
Then I grabbed my Bible and flipped it open. Out dropped a pamphlet I’d picked up in a church lobby. It was titled Who Is Jesus?
The pamphlet quoted from John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I read that Jesus was with God from the beginning and that all things were made through Him. And to all who received Jesus and believed in His name, God would give power to become His children.
Affirmation and answers
I went on to read in verse 14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us . . . full of grace and” — there it was — “truth.”
Thank you, God, I responded, peace flooding my soul. Finally I knew I was at least headed in the right direction, and I was getting some answers.
When Jan came to visit the next week, I politely thanked her for spending time with me and informed her that I couldn’t continue the visits. She was disappointed but seemed understanding.
Although I felt certain I had made the right decision, I still had lots of questions about Christianity. Soon I found a loving church with a caring pastor and an active congregation that I became involved in. I also started devoting time to daily Bible study. Gradually, one by one, my questions gained answers.
For weeks I mulled over all that I had been learning about God. Then one afternoon my past sins suddenly began playing before my eyes, as if I were watching a video of my life. I was horrified at how I had hurt others with hateful words and careless actions.
Each of my mistakes was revealed so rapidly, there wasn’t time to make excuses or give explanations, even if I’d wanted to. I felt such raw shame, knowing God knew everything I’d ever said or done. It felt as if I had been turned inside out. Nothing was hidden from Him.
Conviction and conversion
I could almost feel a firm pair of hands on my shoulders, gently pushing me to my knees. Heavy conviction filled my being. I knew I had offended God, yet strangely I also knew He wasn’t condemning me. He was showing me that He still loved me in spite of my sins. God was showing me my need for a Savior.
With heartfelt remorse, I immediately asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart. At that instant I felt immersed, internally bathed, by a loving inner presence. Indescribable peace filled me.
This was more than my conscience. It was the Spirit of God. As I trembled, a flood of tears drenched my face. They were tears of joy over the reality that God could both love and forgive a wretch like me. They were also tears of gratitude and anxiety over how close I had come to never knowing the truth and never experiencing the full magnitude of God’s love.
As I struggled to regain my composure and get to my feet, I knew at last my search for truth was over, forever. I had been rescued from sin.
After that experience, I began to hear a gentle voice inside me, sometimes nudging me to act or speak, other times urging me to remain silent and still. Jesus became my best friend, just as He was to my grandma. I began fellowshipping with Him all day, every day, and looking forward to my quiet time alone with Him.
My eyes were opened to the meaning of scripture verses I had previously read but couldn’t understand, including Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. . . .”
Now when others sincerely ask questions about my faith, God reminds me that they could be searching for the truth, just as I was, and that I must be ready to gently yet boldly share my faith. He also reminds me that I might be the only “Jesus” these people will ever meet. I know that God’s influence through me could make an eternal difference in someone’s life.
I also recognize how hard the Adversary is working to keep so many people blinded to the truth. When I look back on my spiritual journey, I realize I came close to being led down the wrong path. So I pray that someday God will use the example of my faith to rescue the hearts of my future grandchildren, as well as others my life touches, on their own search — a search for truth: His truth.
Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
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