I am writing this from the bottom of my heart or the deep of my soul. I mention both for I am unsure which of the two stretches further. I ask that you read this with an open heart and an open mind. This actually happened to me, and as such is very personal to me. I have received ridicule from both non-Christians and Christians just for telling my story. I even once had a pastor laugh when I tried to explain it to him. People don’t seem to understand that I don’t want God to exist, but how can I deny that He does. See, I don’t “believe” God exists, I know God exists and I know that Christ was exactly who He claimed to be. Read my story, put yourself in my shoes, and tell me that if this happened to you that you wouldn’t come to the exact same conclusion as I.
I grew up in a town where if you weren’t tough, you were toast, and I was the type of kid who cried when my grandmother killed a mouse. As such I was bullied horrendously and although an extrovert in nature, I became introverted and fearful of people. To top things off my father wasn’t a loving man and when things got hard or stressful in life he would often take it out on me. He was an atheist and Ma was a sort of nominal believer who took myself and my little sister to church a few times when we were children because we were always acting up, but that stopped as soon as it started.
Both Ma and Da had been burned by the church too after Da got Ma pregnant when she was 16, and in my town – which was very religious (in the legalistic sense) at the time – it was common policy to send young mothers out of wedlock away to have the baby and then put the child up for adoption so the mother could keep her respect in the community. Needless to say, Ma and Da didn’t hold the church in high regard.
Being a bullied kid means you don’t have many friends, and my home was no place occupied by love. I felt very alone, confused as to why I had to go through this and dreaded mornings, because I knew I would have to wake up. I wanted so desperately to never have to wake up again. I always believed in God for as long as I can remember, but my knowledge of Jesus was confined to the handful of Sunday school classes as I mentioned earlier when I was 8 and the Christmas season, back when it was still politically correct to talk about Christ in the public square. It wasn’t Christ I was thinking of when I would think of God, but definitely some God that was monotheistic in nature.
One night when I was thirteen my loneliness had been weighing heavily on me, and I began to cry out to God. I was angry with Him and wanted Him to tell me what I had done to deserve the things that were happening to me in my life. Of course I didn’t receive a response and fell asleep like most nights, dreading the next day, knowing it wouldn’t be over. But that night something happened, something that I didn’t know would, but ultimately changed my life forever. Eventually.
I started to dream, and in this dream I was in the school-yard, surrounded by all the other kids at my school. A popular kid, who I looked up too, came out of the crowd and grabbed me by the scruff of my coat with two hands and lifted me off of my feet with his arms completely extended above his head. As he did so I raised my hands into the air (I remember thinking to myself, “this kid is strong for someone so young”).
When he held me up, I looked into the sky, and there was a man who covered it’s entire expanse. He was enormous and had His hands perched on the clouds; just below His waist up was visible. On his head was a giant crown, tall, like the pope’s hat, but gold and intricate. He had a white beard and white hair and wore a dark red robe, with a golden sash around the mid-section. On his sleeves were intricate golden patterns around the cuffs and in his hand (which was on the cloud) was a golden sceptre, with jewels around the top. When I looked into his eyes I saw an intensity that I had never seen, it was as if they were looking through me. He didn’t look happy either, but angry. Seeing this “Man in the Clouds” scared me into complete paralysis (I couldn’t move) with my hands still in the air. Never before had I been scared like this and never again. I suddenly began to float up to him, His eyes locked with mine and just before I came to eye-level he pointed that scepter at me and I awoke from my dream.
When I woke up I was still completely paralysed, just like in my dream. I laid in my bed unable to open my eyes or call out for help. I lay there for what felt like ever (I figure around 20 minutes, to a half an hour), until finally the feeling had gradually returned in my body and I could open my eyes. To my surprise, my arms were raised in the air just like my dream .
I thought to myself that this was a crazy nightmare and fell back to sleep. (Later reflection on this experience before I became a Christian made me believe that perhaps I had seen God, but Jesus never even entered my mind. This was not the long ,brown haired, white robed, Anglicized version of Christ I thought him to be. So I figured it wasn’t and I was fine with that.)
The next day in shop class I noticed what I thought to be a splinter in the palm of my hand. When I got home I tried to dig it out with a needle, but was having a hard time. I kept digging and digging and started to think maybe it was a root to a planters wart that was just starting to form or something. With much effort I managed to get most of it out, but that’s when I noticed that on my other palm I had the exact same thing. Something clicked in my head to leave them alone and so I did. (Over the years they have changed into something like a brown stain, but they are still visible – especially the one I didn’t dig at. Also, yes I am fairly heavily tattooed; no they are not tattoos). In the next day or two I came to notice that I also had grey hair in the front of my head, although I found it more funny than odd. That one was easy to explain as my uncle had gone grey at sixteen (genetics, huh)
So fast-forward a few years and I am seventeen and my world falls apart. Ma, who had been crippled for a couple years had due to her back, had become addicted to internet chat. One day I came home to find her dresser empty and suitcases gone, she had left and with her took half of our savings and racked up all the credit cards and a 900$ phone bill. Da wasn’t making a whole lot of money and now has to pay for everything on his own. Ma had a champaign taste on a beer salary and already had the family way in over our heads in debt. I can remember sitting with him in a Subway as he is telling me he wanted to kill himself. I didn’t know what to do and to my everlasting shame I left him and went to go live with my grandmother. That summer I would be on my own.
I wound up moving out west and my troubles continued. I was heavy on the booze and drugs to try and dull the pain. I had a huge chip on my shoulder and wanted to fight everyone – suddenly the bullied was a bully, except this bully wouldn’t back down if challenged (the small kid everyone picked on growing up had become a 6 foot 2 inch 230 melting pot). I had enough of people and their nonsense and I wasn’t taking it any more. This was mostly fuelled by liquor as once you took that away, I was still angry, but not so apt to display it and more apt to listen to my concious.
When I was eighteen things started to get strange. I remember Da calling me one day and talking about how he was going to church, and I remember laughing at him. When he would try and talk to me about Jesus I would tell him to shut up. All of a sudden my atheist Dad was a Christian. He had nowhere to turn and this was where he went, I thought he was a gullible idiot. Weak and I hated him for it.
Now if you remember back a few paragraphs ago I had told you that I had an older sister who was put up for adoption that I had never known? Well, my father had first told me about her when I was eighteen and I really wanted to know who she was as I had little family. At nineteen Dad calls me to tell me that she had found him and she wanted to talk to me! But when she called me, five minutes into the conversation she starts talking about Jesus! I told her I wanted to know her but I did not want to know her Jesus. I wanted nothing to do with religion and especially Christianity. Keep it to yourself I told her, or forget about me.
Well years of partying had taken their toll on me and I could no longer control my drug habit. I was snorting cocaine and PCP everyday and got mixed up with the wrong crowd. I fell into a deep spiral and it was then at 21 I found myself back home, trying to get clean.
Da had met a new lady at the church and they were getting married. She was really nice, but her constant talk about Jesus drove me crazy. I wasn’t a good mix there either, coming home bloodied up after fighting at the bars (I was off the coke and PCP but not the booze) but they never lectured me, just cleaned up my wounds and sent me on my way (even driving me to the hospital for a serious infection from breaking a guys teeth off in my knuckle).
They thing that piqued my interest though was that she was always talking about how Jesus was going to come back, and the Book of Revelations. I had never heard of this before, I thought she might be a few cards short of a deck, but I liked a good end of the world/ apocalyptic style story and figured I would read it to see what she was talking about.
I got through the first few chapters and it made no sense whatsoever. But then I came to the chapter where John describes Jesus and falls at his feet. To my complete shock John described a man with white hair, a crown made of ten crowns, with a blood red robe, golden sash and eyes of fire. It described exactly who I had seen in my dream and like a giant light-bulb going off in my head, it all came together; the marks on my palms; all these people talking to me about Jesus; my first experience I had (https://phillost.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/my-testimony-part-1/); it all made sense. I accepted Christ alone in my room.
Eventually I read the book of Esther and how when someone approaches the king without permission if the king points his scepter at them, they would be allowed to live, if not they would be put to death. I came to realized that Jesus was telling me that I would live when I read the scripture that described Him as John had seen Him in the Book of Revelations. That when I read, as HE was described, that I would be given my life.
So why did He show Himself to me? Well I’m not special, so that’s not it. But I did seek Him, earnestly and like a child. I later found out that this was something that the Bible claims will happen. See I don’t have all the answers, I just have two. God exists, and Jesus is who He claimed to be.
You can sit there with your nose in the air if you want, you can call me a liar (although something I wouldn’t suggest you do if I am standing in front of you) even though we all lie. You can throw logic and scientific theory at me till the cows come home (even though I think you loose on that end also), it doesn’t matter, I have an experience that trumps all that. You can talk all the smack you want about Christians and make fun of our Christ, but what good does it do you? You’re no more than a bully, a weakling, not to be applauded but to be looked down on. If God is what we claim He is, which is a disembodied mind and there are no good arguments to believe that other minds exit, then how else do we come to know of His existence? Experience, the be all end all.
So I issue this challenge, seek Him, earnestly, like a child seeks a parent. Let out your anger, your hurt, but also let Him know that if He is real then the only thing He is the cause of is your existence and to that we owe Him everything. Ask Him to show Himself, to open your heart and mind to His existence. Be vigilant and patient, He does this on His time, not yours (It took 7 years for Him to execute His plan to completion on me). What do you have to loose? Are you afraid of what you might find? Don’t be. You are finding purpose.
If you wish to insist that I am making this whole thing up as if to add you as another notch on my celestial bedpost then that’s OK, on that day of judgement (whenever that is) when we see each other, you can tell me then that I lied to. We are all on our owns paths, and as much as I wish for you to find the truth, I am not going to loose a whole lot of sleep over anyone who rejects even the possibility. In the end, all I can do is share my story, the rest is up to you.