Monday, March 17, 2008
At the Day of Prayer Saturday we encouraged folks to think about times they had encountered the Lord personally. We heard a variety of stories, starting, for many, with the encounter of conversion.
One of my most memorable encounters came when I was twenty years old and was in my 1957 Ford Fairlane heading as fast as possible for a dance hall and tavern eleven miles south of my home in West City next door to Benton, Illinois. West City was a notorious village where gambling, dance halls and booze dominated the economy and it had a history of violence and underage drinking.
Just south of my home on Route 37 while driving I experienced an encounter with God. I was just passing the Clabber Girl advertisements and headed into the Burma Shave signs when it happened. Not a very likely place or condition for God to break into my consciousness.
Many people talk about the importance of "Deciding to follow the Lord". I had decided a few years earlier to follow Lord Gary. My plans that night proved it. But God had another plan. He chose to interrupt my misery and false sense of importance and bring me back to following Him. I was drawn to faith in Christ at age ten but circumstances and teenage rebellion tempted me to "fun". Now God was reeling me back in.
The car filled up with a heavy, fog-like presence of the Spirit and I distinctly heard His voice. "Gary, choose this day whom you will serve." I was stunned but I knew it was the Lord. My shock came from hearing it so clearly while driving to a gambling and drinking party. That did not fit my theology.
I had been in churches and prayer meetings all my life. My Maternal Grandmother, Mom Taylor, went to house church meetings and often heard the Lord speak. I was around such people so I knew that God was not silent. So, when He spoke, I answered. "Lord, to whom else can I go? Only You have the words of life."
When God chased me down beside the Burma Shave signs it was the beginning of a great ride. It occurred fifty years ago this summer and I have been radically different ever since. Soon afterward I began hunting for a Christian wife and God supplied her. We have over 46 years of bliss together. God is good.
What is your story? Can you remember times when the Holy Spirit showed up in a dramatic or gentle manner? I will relate other times but I want to hear from you.
Sweeten Life Systems
P.O. Box 498455
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249
A lifetime of great relationships