“I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church. I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.” — Galatians 1:13-16 (The Message)
Although my life before Christ was nothing like the apostle Paul’s, his story resonates with me. I didn’t persecute Christians, but I did question my believing friends. I wasn’t zealous about advancing my own beliefs, but I was passionate about understanding why others believed what they believed. I was interested in God, but not church. I wanted something bigger to believe in, but wasn’t sure Christianity was it. Like Paul, even then God was drawing me toward Him.
This fall I’ve reconnected with several friends I haven’t seen since our high school graduation 14 years ago. We talked about college, first jobs, relationships, kids and moves. We reminisced about people we knew, random things we did, and our less than stellar moments. I realized I’d forgotten a lot from middle school and high school. (Or perhaps I repressed it?) I was reminded about who I once was and how I’ve changed.
For many of my friends it was the first time they’d heard my story about coming to faith. It’s humbling to look back and see not only how God was calling to me to Him, but also how He used some of these friends in the process. They endured through countless questions, watching me do stupid things, and yet believed that God could do a miracle and so prayed for me throughout high school (and beyond). It is truly an illustration of God’s great generosity, extended through others’ faith.
And now I have the great honor and responsibility of praying for friends who are like I once was. Looking forward to the day when I get to catch up with them and hear their story of faith!