Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Happy Anniversary

I am at that stage of life when I don't like to count how many years ago things happened because of how old they make me feel. The sole exception is the anniversary that I am enjoying today—10 years since God saved me.

On June 8, 1995, after 21 years in gospel-preaching churches and 16 years in Christian schools, my spiritual game came to an end by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Ironically perhaps, I was saved during staff training at a camp where I was preparing to serve as a teen camp counselor. That fact alone is not as ironic as the additional memory that Mike Manor preached that evening a sermon, not about what a wicked sinner in need of repentance I was, but about "Being a Servant" from Colossians. I look back to that counter-intuitive confluence of events as my first introduction to the doctrines of divine initiative and sovereignty in salvation that would later pervade my theology as I studied Scripture.

When I think now of the fear of man and pride that kept me from acknowledging my need for so long, I both laugh at my delusion and cringe at the seductiveness of such thinking. I fear for many who may be similarly self-deceived.

One of my most treasured memories from that summer is remembering how God worked in so many of my old and new friends' lives. God saved two other counselors that summer (that I know of), and He has graciously allowed me to stay in contact with them over the years. I've been constantly encouraged as I've seen their spiritual growth and how they have invested their lives in Romanian missions and leadership in children's ministry.

Most things that I remember from a decade ago (or even less) make me feel very old. Thinking about being a Christian for just ten years and seeing every day how much further I have to go makes me feel quite young. Too young. But I'll still give thanks for His grace.

May God be praised.

3 comments:

Paul said...

Thanks for calling to attention God's work of saving grace in your life! We need these reminders often.

I was priveleged to observe your public profession that summer and have witnessed the Spirit's sanctifying/transforming work in your life since. Evidence of true life abounds--keep running The race to the praise of His glorious grace.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

Praise the Lord for saving our wretched, miserable souls!

My 10 year day is coming soon on June 30.

Bob

Ben said...

Well I know I was wretched and miserable. But I always thought prevenient grace had better equipped your will to generate its own faith. ;-)