After being rescued by God’s mercy from the captivity of sin (justification), most Christians learn gradually to trust God better as they grow in Christ (Sanctification). The personal experience I told of in my June 18th blog, which helped me learn to trust that “In everything God works for good for those who love him,” (Rom. 8:28), illustrated one step of this gradual growth.
In the June 20th blog, I told of the apostle Paul’s conversion and Isaiah’s encounter with God. These personal encounters are a more dramatic way that God teaches people to trust him.
I had encounters with Jesus, too. They were not as dramatic, but meaningful to me. At the age of 9 1/2, I stood in the dark outside a small country church and saw my parents shake hands with Evangelist Evald J. Conrad after a series of LEM services. They told him “We’re so glad we came to know the Lord this week,”
At that moment, it seemed like Jesus whispered into my right ear, “I want to be personal to you, too. Do you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”
I’d learned some about Jesus in Sunday School. My first grade Sunday School teacher three years earlier had looked directly into my eyes and told me, “Jesus loves you!” Since then, I had sung “Jesus Loves Me” many times. But I didn’t really know who this Jesus was.
When I heard Jesus say he wanted to be personal to me, I immediately said ‘yes’ but I didn’t know what it meant. I wondered If I had imagined the whole thing, so didn’t tell anyone about it.
However, beginning the next Sunday I noticed a difference. I was surprised to find myself interested in the sermon, and I could even understand it! How did the Pastor suddenly get so much better at preaching, I wondered.
When I look back on it now, it seems a light had been turned on in my soul. I became interested in reading the Bible and attended adult Bible Studies with my parents. They began the practice of family devotions and I loved it. I didn’t feel so lonely as I had previously, because now I knew Jesus was with me and I loved him with all my heart.
Throughout the rest of my childhood, we faithfully attended church, Bible Camps, etc. and there were many more steps in learning to trust God. But I didn’t have another encounter with Jesus until heartache became my daily companion and the Lord sang Comfort to me. I was 37 at that time.
I’m not sure if this was an actual encounter, but I was sitting at the piano feeling sad and playing random notes, when it seemed to flow into a song and it felt like Jesus was comforting me. As I worked on writing down the snatches of melody and words that I’d felt at that time, it eventually became this song:
(Jesus Sings to Me)
Let me sing a song to you; let me know if you are feeling blue.
Brush those tears away. Lift your eyes and pray.
I will be your friend, love you to the end. For I came to save you from the tyranny of sin.
Give your heart to me. Life abundantly is what I will give you
when you trust in me to set you free.
I will wipe away your tears; perfect love will cast out all your fears.
Yes, I gave my life, just to end your strife.
When you come to me gold is what I see. I know you are precious and I want you to be mine.
Clouded now by sin, dirt and dross within. Yield to my refining.
When the trials are done, how you will shine.
by Judith Vander Wege
What a gracious God we have, who meets us in our needs and teaches us to trust him and have peace!
Watch for more in this series of Learning to trust. At the time of the song, I thought I knew how to trust, but heartache led to anger at God until I slipped into a slimy pit.