I was asked recently to share my testimony. Initially I didn’t think it was worth writing about. It lacks all of those components that ‘exciting’ testimonies have: strange coincidences later seen to be miracles, encounters with angels or Jesus appearing in my dreams. I didn’t return to my Christian roots after years of rebellion. There was no addiction to drink or drugs to break nor any childhood prophecies of becoming a man of God to be fulfilled.
Truth be told, I was reading an apologetic in the bath (Frank Morrison’s “Who Moved the Stone?”) and it convinced me that the resurrection might have really happened, and if it really did happen then I probably ought to do something about it. I had a tract lying around so when I got to my bedroom I figured I’d pray the prayer on the back. It was a fairly standard example of the sinners prayer. Now, because I grew up in a charismatic church and had seen some pretty incredible things I expected my true conversion to be a lightning flash moment, with angelic choirs and fireworks going off. It was a shame, I thought as I knelt down to pray, that I did not have my tambourine with me ready for the party in heaven that was about to kick off.
It wasn’t at all like that. I said the prayer, felt no different, and stood up a little disappointed. Though I have since been privileged to witness many miracles and experience many incredible things, my Christian walk began on my knees with slightly disappointed expectations. (I’m not quite sure where I picked up the daft idea that Jesus was there to do what I expected.)
In one sense this brief and unremarkable moment was an omen for the future. My journey still involves a fair bit of “knee-time”, often in silence. It certainly still involves a lot of unmet expectations. In time I came to realise that what I had done that day was simply take my first step on a lifelong journey. My status with God had changed, and in that sense everything was different. But I hadn’t changed, I was no different.
Christ had come to dwell within me, but he wasn’t planning to live in my messy heart without rearranging the furniture, chucking some stuff and mending some broken things. I had habits to break, virtues to practise, discipline to be learned etc. He’s still moving in. Apparently one day my heart will be a temple like no other, truly unique and perfectly suited to house Him. Which is nice.
Like I say, I was reflecting back on my very undramatic testimony, scribbling some notes getting ready to share it, and this is what I wrote. I’d call it a poem but that would be giving it far too much credit. Enjoy.
On reflection, I think I had the impression
That saying the sinner’s prayer
Would release fireworks.
But I must say it right
And mean it completely
Or else picky Jesus
Wouldn’t save me
I remember when my knees
First met my bedroom carpet
When I said the prayer I had read
On the back page
Of a badly written tract.
I thought I had given you my whole life
In just under twenty seconds
I wasn’t aware that this clumsy prayer
Was really just the start.