How Easter Found Me
How in the world I ended up 3,000 miles from home was a tangle of events ranging from a broken home where my parents seemed to me as confused as I was. Adding in plenty of recreational drug use and my decision at 17 to move out on my own and you might begin to get the picture of how I ended up sitting in that pew owning nothing more than a guitar and two changes of clothing in a back pack.
The church service began with some happy singing and clapping. That was definitely something I had missed at the Lutheran and Congregational churches my parents had brought me on occasion.
Once the singing ended the pastor gave a message but the words of his sermon really weren’t what connected with my heart. What really penetrated was the love that I felt all day from the people around me. Here were folks who seemed genuinely concerned, not just looking for some angle to get something out of me. When I had traveled through California I had met others who had told me about Jesus. Some even invited me to church but I was afraid to commit myself. It all seemed strange and though the idea of believing in Jesus was appealing, it also seemed like too simple of a solution. Could finding the most important thing in life really be so easy? It would take a miracle to break through all my fears and excuses and regrets. But it was Easter and on Easter miracles happen.
After church we went out into the back where long tables had been set up filled with food. By then I was starving and happily gobbled down the ham potatoes and just about anything else they set out for us. I was having such a good time that before I knew it five o’clock rolled around and I began looking around for Barry figuring that he must be getting ready to leave.
When I found him, Barry smiled and shook his head “No we aren’t going till after church tonight.” He told me to my surprise.
“Church? At night?” I responded feeling puzzled. Once a week had seemed more than enough for me growing up, but here I was actually glad to learn this surprising bit of information. As we went back inside I saw that between those who had stayed for the afternoon and those who had just come for the evening service, the church was packed. There was singing again only this time I joined in the best I knew how. After the short message (which I also don’t remember) they asked if anyone had a testimony. I had no idea what that might be, but as one by one several teens stood up talking about how God had helped them with various things I began to get the idea. “. Someone else with anything to say?” the pastor asked. Suddenly as if a hand were pulling me to my feet I stood up. “I don’t really know what’s going on, but I can really feel the love of God here today.” I blurted out. Then I smiled. Shrugged my shoulders and sat down.
As church was ending I felt anxious as if I had missed out on something, but I wasn’t sure just what. I wandered up to the front where Barry and about five other young people were just hanging out and talking. “Hey Peter would you like to take a friend with you when you leave?” Barry asked.
“A friend?” I asked suspiciously. Wondering what in the world they wanted.
“Seeing my expression of confusion the others smiled. “No no, we mean Jesus. Would you like to ask Him to come into your heart be your Lord and Savior?” Barry explained.
It felt to me as if I had been running. I had not just been running for a day a week or a month. I had been running all my life and I just couldn’t run any further. Sure I had known about the trinity, the cross and the resurrection as bits of information in a catechism book. But here
was a real offer from a real God who for the first time I realized that He truly loved me. He loved me just exactly where I was and with all the problems I had. I wasn’t being brow
beaten, pressured. I had simply been run to ground by a God who had pursued me till the end. As I joined hands with my new friends that night, I invited Jesus to come in to my heart and a miraculous peace flooded in. It took an amazing chain of miracles to bring me to this God who had sent Jesus to find me. I had needed a miracle. But it was Easter and on Easter miracles happen!