I was recently reading in Matthew 3, where John first meets the One he has been prophesying about. The very One who was to come after him. I can’t imagine what that meeting must have looked like, or felt like to John. Here was the Messiah who he had been speaking of asking John to baptize Him. He wasn’t even fit to untie his sandal and neither are we. But that doesn’t stop Jesus from coming to us where we are.
As I began to process the scene, I began to think about my first encounter with Jesus as Messiah. And so please allow me to write my memoir of the Savior:
When I first met the Messiah I felt so small (not just in stature), shaking, filled with trepidation and yet there was a deeper longing for something more. I knew there had to be more to this life… more that could not be comprehended with just our human eye. Something greater that was unimaginable to me at that moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I had sat in church and heard the stories. But they were just that, stories. The stories had little significance or meaning in my life.
But this day there was a deeper longing in my spirit. If I’m honest, there had been a deeper longing much of my life. But, this desire could no longer be pushed away or ignored. It was partially due to the fact that my life was spared by some “freak accident,” some “crazy coincidence.” But I knew there was more. I knew it was in fact, not a coincidence at all. Something told me that the stories I had heard were a lot more than stories and were about to encounter me in a way I couldn’t imagine.
So, there I stood outside of the church. Knowing I was surrounded by people, I suddenly felt so alone. It was as if everyone else was a blur around me. I walked, each step feeling like I was walking with concrete shoes… each heavy step almost painful. I don’t remember how I got to where I was sitting. I’m sure I probably smiled meekly as I walked past the crowds. And this time, instead of sitting in the back I found myself in the front of the church. Once seated, the nausea raked my body as did the chills that started as soon as I got out of the car. My palms were sweaty, my heart raced and oh did my body feel as though it was shaking. I tried to calm my racing heart by breathing deeply, hoping and praying no one noticed my countenance for they would surely think I was crazy or had too much to drink the night before.
I wish I could say I remember exactly what the preacher said, but I don’t remember anything. Nothing except for this aching in my Soul and the desire to race to front. And this time I couldn’t talk myself out of needing or wanting to be there. Oh, don’t get me wrong; the sins came to mind like a flood. But for the first time the sins didn’t outweigh my need to meet with the only hope I had to be saved. There was no turning back, the altar was calling out to me and I couldn’t refuse to answer. Everything in me was pushing me forward and so I answered. I don’t remember the actual altar call; don’t remember the walk to the front; all I remember is getting up there and meeting the Messiah.
You see, it was so very little about the wonderful servant of God who prayed with me and all about encountering my Messiah. And there He was, welcoming me with open arms. He showed me how He had been calling me all along. As I wept upon the altar, I felt as though all my tears fell right into His lap. Because, in essence,He wrapped me in His arms. I felt the fullness of His presence, the weights of sin being lifted off as I choked out the words and the sorrow being replaced with joy.
It was at that moment that I encountered the perfection of the love of Jesus. And it wrecked me forever. There is no going back for me. The puzzle piece that was missing from my heart was replaced. He now encompasses all of me. I get lost with my Savior, my Messiah and I love every minute of it. In Him I found true love, acceptance and forgiveness. He made me new that day and boy am I glad that I didn’t stop myself from meeting Him there.