WAYS TO MEET JESUS
Recently I spoke at the Lake Church on “Jesus Finds a Pitiful Hillbilly in a One Room Apartment.” It was the story of that time in my life when I was living in a one-room apartment, freshly fired and divorced and asked Jesus for help.
The main thrust of my remarks was that each of us has the right to meet Jesus in our own way. No one has the right to force us to meet Him in their way. The only way it will ever have real meaning for us is to meet him in our own, special way.
I had believed in Him when I was a small boy. Not because Mama and Daddy believed in Him but because of the beautiful way He spoke directly to my child’s heart. But after getting a bellyful of church religion and being kicked in the face by Christians and by life, I had become an agnostic. Relationships with the Lord can be a lot like relationships with people -- sometimes it can take some time to anchor them. I began to wonder if those early experiences with Him might have been figments of a child’s imagination although they were intensely real to me at the time.
I remember almost exactly how I prayed as I sat there in that one-room apartment defeated, discouraged, depressed and feeling more alone than I had ever been. It went like this: “Jesus you were real to me when I was a child so I know you can be real. I want to feel that again. I am broke and need a job. If you will open doors for me, I will serve You the rest of my life. If You close a door, I will not try to force it open. I want your coming to life in my life to be so clear that I will never doubt it.”
In the days ahead doors started opening. It was all so clear and definite that I knew it was God. I ran for the highest office in my county with less money than it would take to conduct a Quaker prayer meeting. As I drove from a watermelon cutting in one little community to a BBQ in another, it actually felt like the Lord was sitting there in the passenger’s seat with me. I know that sounds dramatic but I am merely telling the simple truth. Jesus was coming to me in a way that I could definitely know it was Him.
There are so many ways we can meet the Lord. Peter met him when he was fishing. Matthew met him while he was collecting taxes. Paul met him he was riding the road to do harm to Christians and he is the only one I remember the Lord treated harshly at first. He struck him blind and gave him specific directions on regaining his sight. Those directions required him to meet some dedicated Christians and become friends with them. Make no mistake about the fact that this Prince of Peace, this Man of Love, can get your attention if you are an evil person inflicting pain upon people. And when He does, the blessings that follow will be so sweet that you will always be grateful for your Damascus Road experience.
Zaccheus was so small he climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus saw him and said, “Come down Zaccheus. I want to go to your home with you for dinner.” No one is small in Jesus’ eyes. Never feel small when Jesus walks with you. Just when you feel the smallest, Jesus will speak to you, He will walk you home.
If you feel like I felt sitting in that one room apartment, defeated and alone, give Jesus a chance to help you. I do not believe He is a respecter of persons. I feel certain He will help you as He did me.