On January 17, 2001, I sat in my car while rain beat down on the windows and I considered what a dear friend had explained to me about salvation earlier that evening.
I turned off my windshield wipers and my headlights and sat completely still, watching what was in front of me disappear as the rain obscured my view.
It wasn’t until very recently I realized that even that was the Lord speaking to me. What a precious way to teach me, even then, that He was in the most intimate of details. Quite simply, it was much more of a surrender than it was a conversation.
Pitch-black night, rain-soaked windshield, and the sound of a song I had never heard before playing on the radio.
Looking back, I understand that when my fingers reached for the dials and buttons, I was learning the heart of discipleship. It didn’t have much to do with the car, or even the day of the week or the fact that I was crying.
But it had everything to do with admitting that there’s no sense in fighting over the windshield wipers with the God who created the rain.
The follow-up realization is that if I’m afraid of driving in the rain without my wipers on, it’s a little absurd to be unafraid of the One who is letting it spill. Is it a bad thing to fear Him? No, it’s actually a whole lot scarier to dismiss His majesty.
Fear and love are inextricably bound up in the true worship of God, and one without the other is, at best, man-made religion.
I listened to the words of the song playing and something in me broke. I was weak and messy and devastated as my shoulders shook in awareness of Him. I called myself a Christian before this happened, but in retrospect I don’t believe I really knew what that meant.
I wholly surrendered myself to Him that night, and for the first time, I felt the gravity of what He had done for me. Not because someone told me about it or even because I read it, but because I experienced the truth of His sacrifice on such a personal level that I knew I could never deny it.
I feel things deeply and I always have; I guess I’m just carved that way. And the words I’m using here might make you think I was terrified or overwhelmed by guilt, but truly, that wasn’t the case.
I was undone by His hallowed love for me, His inexplicable affection for me despite the fact that I was so incredibly undeserving of it, and the simple and indisputable way I finally rested in awe of who He was.
I didn’t repeat specific phrases, but the posture of my heart toward God changed. To be totally honest, I don’t remember much of what I physically said or didn’t say, but I have no question that this was the point at which I stepped from death to life.
As I sit and write these words, I have on my desk a receipt from my car that night. On the back of it, I had scribbled all the lyrics I could remember from the song that was playing (it wasn’t a Christian station, by the way) because I didn’t want to forget them.
It’s wrinkled and weathered now, but the words are still as clear on paper as they are in my heart. They’re etched into me, undeniable in their poetic assurance of what I have found to be true since then. I love these words from the song:
I’ll take your invitation
You take all of me now . . .
He is a God who deserves the glory we offer in our meagerness, and He can be trusted with our lives. He is good, and He is a promise-keeper. He is all things He claims to be and He delights in us as His children. He is our father, our safe-haven, and our comfort.
But more than that, he is holy.
He isn’t defined by where we position Him in our lineup of priorities; He is fully defined by Himself.
Book excerpt from Chasing God by Angie Smith
Maybe you’ve never asked the question out loud, but you’ve wondered. You do the things that look good on paper: read your Bible, pray, attend study groups, and go to church on Sundays. But you aren’t convinced you really know Him. Three simple words changed everything for Angie, and she believes they can do the same for you: Stop chasing God. Click here to learn more.