Although I was raised within the Christian tradition,
at age 17, I had become a pantheist in my thinking.
To me `God' was nothing more then the creative force of life in the universe.
At that age, I was already quite a bit of a thinker. I still had many ideals of reforming the world, and turning it into a better place. But at the same time, I often felt in depressive moods. What I wanted to do with my life I did not know, but one thing I had decided: to always have an open mind, and never to become ignorant.
In the spring of 1979, I finished high school, and found a job for the
holidays. On Thursday, May 24,
I had a day off, as everybody in Holland,
because it was Ascension day. Some friends had asked me to come with
them to some Christian meeting in Amsterdam, which was called Mayday.
And because I had nothing else to do, I decided to join them.
It was a joyful gathering, and I liked it, but because the friends with whom I come had to do some duty at the meeting, I ended up walking alone during the lunch time. At that moment I remembered that someone whom I had talked with some months ago, might also be present at this meeting. I had only met him once, but wanted to meet him again. But I had totally forgotten what he looked like. So I looked around everywhere, hoping that I would recognize his face, but I did not find him.
Finally, I asked at some place where you could go for a talk, if they knew
about him. They did not, but someone, whose name was Frank, asked me whether
I would like to drink some coffee, and talk a bit.
And because I was quite a talker at that time, I sat down and started to talk about my life. And the more I talked, the more I became aware of the vast emptiness that there was in my life.
After I had finished my story, he told me that God was looking for me, and that He had send Jesus, His son, to die for me on the cross so that I could know Him. And although I had gone to church so many years, this message struck my heart, as if I has never heard it before.
At the end of our conversation, he suggested that we should pray. I told him that I did not want to pray aloud, but that he could pray. I can still remember sitting at that table in that hall, with my eyes closed listing to what Frank said. What he prayed I cannot recall, because soon my heart was filled with a sense of God's presence, inviting me to open my heart, and to give my life to Him. I did not feel any pressure but realized the consequences of the choice to give Him my heart. I knew the choice was up to me, and after some thinking I decide to let Him come in.
It is difficult to explain what I experience at that moment, the only thing that I knew was that I had met God for the first time in my life.
When I woke up the next morning, the first thought that came to my mind was: I am born again. The real life has started. In the following months, I start reading the Bible for the first time in my life, and all what I read was like fresh water, and like bread to me.
But I also often questioned my new found faith in Christ Jesus in that first year of knowing God. But every time I went back to the facts, I came to the same conclusion that the object of my faith was not imaginary but real. And still after so many years, I sometimes find myself questioning the truth of my faith, every time coming to the same conclusion. I can boldly say, that there is no one that has questioned my faith as much as I myself, and I can honestly say to myself that I have not become ignorant.
My prayer is that you too will come to know God as I do.
However, lately, I have become quite sceptic.