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Establishing Believers in the Christian Faith

from the book Why I Love God

2: God Plants His Word in my Heart

I was not raised a Christian. In my college days I was a staunch atheist, and I heard the gospel through my physics professor. I still remember his words on the first day of class. He testified “I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for my sins. I will not preach throughout this physics course. But in my studies I have seen much order in the universe that testifies to the existence of God.”

My reaction to this testimony was one of disbelief. In my blindness I responded in my heart “You are a physicist and mathematician! Why do you believe in this stuff!” I spoke to Him briefly after class out of curiosity in why he believed, and he again spoke of his faith.

When I eventually became a Christian many months later, I went back and thanked that professor for giving his testimony. For unbeknown to me at the time, his testimony — along with that of others — was a seed in my heart that would eventually result in my calling on God.

But my conversion took time. I recall one instance where I was attempting to solo climb a high mountain. The hike was well beyond my skill level, and in climbing I had trapped myself on a ledge where I could not maneuver with my backpack. To extricate myself, I removed the backpack and let it tumble down to the ground far below. As I watched it tumble, I knew it was very likely I would suffer the same fate and die. Despite my defense as an atheist, deep down I knew there was a God. So in desperation I asked God not to let me die. God graciously answered my prayer, and I was able to get off the ledge and climb down unharmed.

Now my calling on God at that time was not a repentant call for Him to save me from my sins. It was simply a call to get out of a life-threatening situation. And while He graciously granted my request and deliverance, I was still lost. My calling on God on that occasion can be likened to Pharaoh in the Old Testament at the time of Moses. When Egypt was subjected to various plagues, Pharaoh appealed to God through the prophet Moses to deliver him, and God granted the request. But there was no real change of heart; Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened.

Calling on God for rescue in difficult situations is common in human experience. In life we can experience medical issues, natural disasters, wars, famine, pestilence, abandonment, and other grievous trials. And we may pray sincerely and earnestly for God to deliver us. But such prayers are often self-centered with only self-preservation in-mind; there is no real change of heart towards God. This was the case with me.

from the book Why I Love God

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