Throughout most of my life, God and the subject of Christianity in general had no relevance to me. I didn't know much about it. The whole thing always seemed more like a fairy tale than anything else, and it didn't really hold any special place among other world religions either. In my mind it just got thrown In with everything else. My father was, and still is a die-hard atheist. My mother, although she was a Christian, didn't share her views with us, as it wasn't exactly welcomed by my father. Whenever the subject came up he never wasted a minute before going into a good sized lecture about every way that God's existence was impossible. It never struck me that he never tried to disprove Buddhism, Islam, or anything else. All he cared about was disproving the God of the Bible, and as a kid, my dad was the greatest guy in the world, so I took his every word as truth. My mother on the other hand kept to herself about the subject, and there wasn't so much as a single Bible verse quoted in our family for over 20 years.
Through my adolescence I too considered myself an Atheist. I'd always had a very logic based mind, and I was always good in fields of technology and natural science. This was around the age where I first started getting asked the question: "Do you believe in God?" Well I was always under the impression that science disproved God. It caused me to grow the sense that I was above religion, and that religion was only for people who were scared of death, and that somehow, I just knew better than everyone else. When my parents split up about 4 years ago, My mother was led back to her faith. From an atheist's perspective, I personally thought she was insane. I surmised that it must have just been some form of guilt or fear that had caused her to turn to religion, so I decided not to read too deeply into it. As she started going back to church, she would always ask me to come with her, but I often declined. On a rare occasion I would go, but I always despised it, at least that was the case until I was 16.
On Christmas eve 2021, FCBC was holding its usual service in the evening. My mother had asked that all her family be with her, so I went along. There was something unusual about that night though. As I'm listening to the sermon, it was the first time I remember biblical topics piqued my interest. For some inexplicable reason, I wanted to know things. The secular world teaches much false Information about the Bible, and unfortunately I was victim to that, there were many wrong ideas I had about the Bible, and about God. But luckily that was all about to change. I started just whispering questions to my mother right there in the pew during the sermon. I was slightly annoyed that she couldn't answer all of them, so she suggested I just talk to one of the pastors myself. Until then I didn't really know I could do that, so I was all for it. We reached out to pastor Josh and he was more than happy to meet with me, he was on sabbatical at the time so I had to wait a bit. But around early March we got to talk for the first time. What was supposed to be roughly an hour chat ended up turning into a 2 and a half hour theological debate about the origin of human morality. It is still one of my favorite memories. All the questions I thought would lead to me proving Josh wrong, only ended up working against me. We eventually decided we should conclude and we would pick it back up another time. The last thing Josh suggested to me was that if I was genuinely interested that I take it back to the book itself, and he handed me a Bible. I went home with even more questions than I'd arrived with.
Over the next two months I was obsessed with learning what it all meant. I met with Josh as often as I could, always just throwing tons of questions at him. No matter how odd or extensive the question might have been, he always had a satisfactory answer. It was also around this time I started going out of my way to get to church more. I wouldn't ever admit it at the time. But I'd grown fond of all the wonderful people I'd met there. Even though I wasn't a believer, they still accepted me. I wasn't always the most loving individual, but I was definitely able to feel it in this church. It was always sort of bittersweet, as I knew you were all connected by something I wasn't part of. But I'd eventually learn that it was my own fault.
When I wasn't at Church or grilling Josh for answers, I would often join my mother for her personal Bible study, she would listen to the word and watch sermons, and I was able to just take it in and apply it to my existing knowledge. I could never Thank my mother enough for the constant figure she was in my conquest for knowledge. No matter how deep my intellectual rabbit holes were, or how confusing the subject got, she was always willing to do her best to explain things to me, and to find the answers I wanted. Eventually I reached a point where I should have been satisfied, but I wasn't. All the things that I thought disproved the faith, ended up being wrong themselves. I was at a place where Christianity looked more believable than what I thought were my solid world views. The last thing I scrutinized was the book itself, was the Bible really reliable?
I wanted to just ignore the question and go back to my comfortable ideology, but the thirst for knowledge won me over. I spent all summer researching where the Bible had come from, and most importantly, the reliability of the four gospels. My mother also offered me many books that conveniently helped with my questioning the scriptures. Things like "The Case For Christ" by Lee Strobel, which is still one of my favorites. For months most of my nights were dedicated to finding where it all came from, and to my dismay, all I found was that many before me had already asked, and found the answer to this very same question. No matter what, I couldn't find anything beyond simple theories that the Bible was fabricated in some way. This was definitely the hardest part of it all. Here I was, a staunch atheist, now faced with the proof that everything I thought I knew was a lie. I by no means wanted to believe in God, but not doing so would go against everything I now knew. I was furious. Out of rage I decided to pretend the past year hadn't happened, but it seems God was done waiting for me.
My few days of ignorance didn't fix anything. I remember him showing himself to me many times throughout this short period of time. I began to recognize God's presence in science of all things, the very thing I thought disproved God, but I eventually recognized how the very structure of our universe is so delicate that it would be absurd to think it didn't come from intelligent design. He would show himself through people too. I remember just a few nights before I was saved, I was talking to Mr. Zarges. Right before we parted he suddenly turned around and said "the Holy Spirits coming for you" I laughed it off and wished him a good evening, but in reality "disturbed" didn't even begin to cover the feeling I got from that interaction. I felt like no matter where I turned I couldn't escape what I now knew.
On the night of October 16th, I was pacing and contemplating things. I finally decided to put my pride aside for a second and think about all of it. If I knew for a fact God was real, what sort of logical person would I be if I ignored him further? I was alone in the dark, with a racing mind the first time I prayed. Just me and the Holy Spirit, as I was being stared in the face by the truth I didn't want to accept. it wasn't the typical "ask Jesus into my heart" type of scenario. I simply asked to be shown what I was missing, I wanted to know why I felt the way I did.
What happened that moment wasn't what I expected. I wasn't suddenly enlightened to some previously unknown truth, I wasn't sent some divine message either. Instead I experienced peace. I still didn't know everything, but for
the first time In months I was okay with it. Instead of knowledge, I was given acceptance. I already knew more than enough to know God was real, but he's the only reason I got there. That kind of peace is beyond compare. I was finally able to see and appreciate his patience with me, and understand how loved I really was. I was able to pursue the knowledge of my God peacefully, already knowing the truth. In a mere nine months I had been "harpooned" as I like to say. I had been given a desire to know things against my will. I certainly fought him along the way, but he pulled me in nonetheless, and I couldn't be more grateful. He has successfully saved me from myself. I don't know how my life would have turned out without him, but I most likely would have wasted it chasing the things of this world. luckily I'll never have to know. He has given me a wonderful faith family, a real purpose, blessings that I don't deserve. and the prospect of eternity with him. Now I am his to use as he sees fit to bring others to his glorious kingdom.