Pursued by God

I was raised in a religious family. We went to church every week. I went to twelve years of Christian school, but, as far as I can remember, I never heard the Gospel once. Maybe I just wasn’t listening. After I got away from home I quit going to church. At that point in my life I saw God as someone who was determined to ruin all my fun.
In 1976 I was a typical “party animal” college student. I was into girls, fast cars, rock music, drinking, and drugs. In the fall of that year I began dating a young lady named Sandy. After we had been dating a few months she was invited to a local Christian church, so I tagged along to check it out. That experience had very little effect on either of us, but (as I found out a few years later) the girl who invited her was part of a prayer group that began praying that God would “Do whatever it takes to save Sandy and her drug-dealer boyfriend.” That’s when my health started to deteriorate. I got so sick I could not enjoy getting high anymore and ended up with a nasty case of mononucleosis. Within a few weeks I was in bed with a high fever. After a couple of weeks in bed I started feeling better, so my doctor said it would be a good idea to go back to college, but to take a minimum course load and get a lot of rest.
I followed the doctor’s orders. I got at least eight hours of sleep every night. I was careful about what I ate. I took my vitamins. But a year later I was still sick. My doctor was having my blood tested every few weeks, so we knew that I still had mono. This prolonged illness led to depression, which led to insomnia. My doctor became very concerned about my mental state, so he referred me to a psychiatrist, who tried to treat my depression. In spite of their best efforts, my mental and physical health continued to deteriorate. I eventually got so sick I could barely walk. I was admitted to the hospital for a week of tests. At this point I had been sick, to one degree or another, for almost a year and a half.
Through these ups and downs, my girlfriend had stuck by me. But while I was in the hospital she came to visit me to let me know that she felt it was time for us to start seeing other people. To say this made my state of mind even worse would be an understatement.
The doctor reviewed the test results and told me, “We don’t know why this is happening to you, we don’t know what to do about it, but we do know you’re getting worse.”
They sent me home to get some rest. I had no energy, no girlfriend, I was flunking out of school, and I had an oppressive sense of hopelessness. This left me in constant state of mental torment. I just wanted a way out. I seriously considered suicide, but I figured if what those church people said about Hell was true, I was probably going there. The thought that I might end up in a worse situation was the only thing that kept me from blowing my brains out.
The depression got so bad that I quit showering, shaving, or even changing my clothes.
I spoke to my dad on the phone one evening and told him about how I was feeling about my situation. I had come to the realization that whatever I accomplished in life would be swallowed up by my eventual death, so why bother. He asked me, “Son, did you try praying about it?” My response was that if there is a God, he sure must be mad at me! (My exact words were not “family friendly.”) But that night I cried out to God. I remember telling Him, “Whatever is left of my life, you can have it.”
When I woke up the next morning everything looked different. I realized that life is a precious gift. I was thankful to God. I realized that He is holy and that I am not but that He loves me anyway. And, for the first time in many months, I had energy. I felt great.
Besides the sudden improvement in my mental and physical health, one of the most significant changes was in my language. It had been filled with cursing and swearing, insults and slander. But that was completely gone. It was another evidence that, by the grace of God, I was spiritually alive. Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)
One of my friends got me a Bible and I read the whole New Testament in about 3 weeks. I realized that God’s only requirement for eternal life was to trust Jesus completely. Of course, real faith meant turning from everything that was not pleasing to God. It did not make any sense to say that I trust Him while living in rebellion to His Word!
Another major revelation I had was that the church I grew up in was a far cry from the New Testament version. Sharing that with my parents got me in a lot of trouble at home. But years later they understood.
I went to see my doctor and told him that God had healed me. His response was skeptical. He said, “If you think you’re well you should start exercising. You’ve been laying around for the past 18 months.” My doctor eventually did some more blood work and he saw that the disease was completely gone.
I began running. I started by running half a mile, which was very difficult at first. But within three months I was running a 3.5-mile cross country course.
I went to see the psychiatrist and told him that God had healed me and taken away my depression. He assumed that I had developed a very serious religious psychosis.
I went to see my ex-girlfriend and when she saw how God had healed me she gave her heart to God. Five years later we got married. We recently celebrated our 35th anniversary.
One of my sisters was trying to account for this radical change in me. She figured that I had taken too much LSD and lost my mind. But a year later she contacted me and asked me how to become a Christian. She realized that God had changed my life. She surrendered her life to God two days later. She is still walking with Jesus.
Some of my old friends became Christians, but most of them tried to avoid me. That broke my heart, but now I had new friends that were such an encouragement to me.
When I read Romans 10:20 I realized that it was about people like me. It states “I was found by those who sought me not, I became manifest to those who did not ask for me.” I did not want anything to do with God, but He still wanted to save me. And for that I will be thanking and praising Him for all eternity