Today I have reached the age of 65. My body belongs to the earth and will go the way of the earth. But my soul and spirit will soar away from this place at that moment. This I took hold of 42 years ago as a thirsty and starving soul in search of meaning and purpose in a greater existential sense. Intellectual despair had robbed me of all joy at being alive. It brought me finally to a point of numbness of will. An emptiness that was just that.
I took a break from the military and returned to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit Theta Tau friends met while attending an engineering school. What I really was in search for was a “hook” to rediscover that would give me something temporary to hold onto so that I wouldn’t go completely down the drain. At the school I had been an athlete and learned how fleeting such things are. Graduating as a chemical engineer of sorts also evaporated. But friendships went deeper, or so I hoped.
One evening a group of us went out to a nearby city to visit bars, etc. On the way we stopped to see a cousin of one of the friends. She was at a house party along the way. While we stood outside the housing talking, I listened to her describe a stressful circumstance unfolding for her. But then she simply explained how she would pray and meditate on Jesus to get her through the difficulties. After hearing this repeated several times, I broke into the talk and asked exactly what she meant and how it worked for her with “her Jesus”. How she was able to do this. How she approached this mystery Name and person. And she simply again said by “just believing in Him”.
Suddenly something pierced me, penetrated within my inner being. I asked more questions and then realized that I, too could believe in Jesus. A warmth, a strange confidence settled within me driving out the numbness, the cold despair. And as we walked away from the place, this change or inner presence remained. A dark cloud had lifted from me. An undefined awareness had settled upon me. A revelation of something supernatural, even though I had no understanding of what it was. But I felt an instant freedom. And a drawing towards something or someone in the Name of this Jesus.
Six months later, after a quiet, though intense search, I realized through reading Scripture and a few other books, that I had become “born again”. What I had begun to experience that night was the peace of Messiah. His Shalom that would meet all of my life needs while I remain on the earth. His reality from that moment on became the only reality. And purpose. And true existential meaning. And power mixed with authority to walk in the Spirit in this life. Power to face any darkness, any fallen angel, any human with corrupted human nature. I learned how to love others after learning how to love the living God. I’ve learned the difference between false religion and truth.
I, like many others, have had a second birthday. A spiritual birthday by work of the Father through His Son. I am able to look to my High Priest in Heaven on a daily, intimate basis by His Holy Spirit, because I know Him. He is always at my side, and in my heart. Nothing can ever separate us. I do not need a minister or priest to pretend to stand as a mediator or connection to what I already experience. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Our Creator who loves us.
So, today I celebrate two birthdays. One that is finite. One that is eternal. I write a little in these blogs to encourage others to do the same as I. Because, after all, this is for each and every one of us a Savior who is Reality, who is deepest and lasting peace.