Do you think that God pursues us? Does God tug at our hearts? There may be some of you who may relate to my experiences of God constantly nudging you throughout your life but not know it.
I grew up in a non-religious home where Jesus was only talked about on Christmas and Easter. My friends went to church every Sunday and I asked them why. Their answer was “that is what we do on Sunday morning, don’t you, and why not”? They may have said more but I probably wasn’t ready to understand what they were saying. I certainly had no answer to why I did not and felt there was something missing. I attended six Bar Mitzvahs as a teenager and saw the joy present in each celebration. In college, I took religious studies, but why did I take this class since I could have taken another? My uncle was a deacon in his church and gave me my first bible. Upon his passing, I learned of the many contributions he made to his community and church. I was beginning to understand why he had a peaceful outlook on life. Little did I know that as I was growing up my uncle was showing me how to live like Jesus and that God was giving nudges.
“There was still something missing in my life”Following my dad’s example, I worked hard, got married, and had a child. My wife was Jewish and I had many years of exposure to her religion but nothing made a significant impact. The most I gained was learning about Moses and Exodus. My career was based on improving people’s health and participating in many charitable events. It made me happy but it still wasn’t satisfying enough. There was still something missing in my life.
About ten years ago, my best friend Ray invited me to his baptism. I didn’t grasp how special it was but could see his joy. Reflecting, being in that church and watching him, I remember a new feeling inside me. During this time, I was still in my “scientific prove reality” mode but as I grew older I was increasingly touched by these kinds of experiences. Was God pursuing me? Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day….” (John 6: 44). The only thing I knew was this new feeling was growing stronger.
Not knowing why (at that time), I decided to go to church one Sunday a year and half ago. It was astonishing; I experienced a very strong emotion as the words were striking at my heart. Now my thirst for knowledge of God was so great that I began reading, and through my Pastor’s encouragement, church services and bible studies I grasped a new understanding. God was nudging me throughout my life. He was tugging at my heart. The Spirit was slowly transforming me too! Now instead of being tugged, I was pursuing Him. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mathew 7:7).
“Everything made sense, I couldn’t deny God’s love any longer.”
I was in a service listening to testimonies. The Pastor gave us an opportunity to trust Jesus for our salvation through a prayer during worship service. Everything made sense, I couldn’t deny God’s love any longer. Jesus died for my sins. At that moment, I pledged my faith to Jesus Christ, who has promised to cleanse and forgive me from my sins. I now recognize what has always been there, the Holy Spirit lives in me. On the Easter 2016 service I was baptized and declared to everyone that I have accepted Jesus as my savior, and as my Lord, the one I will follow in every part of my life.
Day to day challenges were growing harder and my life had fallen apart, no job, no home, no car, addiction to alcohol and scrambling for food. God was there, watching out for me and opened doors that I didn’t know existed. I discovered Open Heart Kitchen, getting food stamps and even got a part time job just walking by a business and talking with the owner. Then a significant health problem caused me to go to the emergency room and stay in the hospital for two days. I had a blood clot with trembling and severe breathing problems. I would have expected to be in total fear but it was the opposite, I was calm and at peace. I said to God if it is time then I am ready. When I left the hospital, I cried because everyone looked out for me. The Holy Spirit was at work within them and me.
Along came Arukah House, it was dropped in my lap or so I thought; He has a plan. Room and board is a gift, all that I must do is study His word and follow in Jesus’s footsteps, to be a disciple. Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24). The Spirit was already working inside me. I had already given myself to Christ and now have the opportunity put this into action.
“There is something special taking place in the Arukah House.”One of the many blessings being in the Arukah House is developing a closer relationship to God. We continually read and study His word, talk about it between ourselves and those we have contact with in the community, and pray to his glory. There is something special taking place in the Arukah House. Three days after arriving in the house a prayer was said asking God to heal my heavily swollen leg caused by the blood clot. When I woke the next morning, the swelling had gone. He is at work for me, again. I can feel the Spirit growing stronger inside me. Every day I learn more, and every day I am more humbled by God’s greatness and the sacrifice Jesus made for me to cleanse my sins and have eternal life.
My life is now calm, peaceful and my vision has become clearer. In the past I was serving myself, now I am serving God by living like Jesus. In the past I prayed for God to help me, now I pray for others, thanking God for what I have and the sacrifice Jesus made. When speaking with my brother and daughter I talk about God and share with them verses in the bible. Maybe this exposure will give them a nudge like I received.
I am excited about continuing this journey with God expecting challenges and failure as well as growth, blessing, and success. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). You might think my transformation was fast. It took a life time of nudges and has culminated in a wave of understanding, faith and my love in Jesus Christ.
By Peter Robinson, March 17, 2017