Concealed by the darkness of night, I hurried to the gathering located off one of the busiest intersections of the city. Down an unremarkable street, in a nondescript building, a forgettable room held a motley group of strangers. Proceedings began and as we formed a circle, I started to relax. “This doesn’t seem so unusual”, I thought. Then my eyes fell upon the object which tattled of the aberration of the meeting…the athame–the ritual dagger. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see this. After all, I was in a gathering of witches.
Only a couple of years prior to this night, I had believed our lives held no more merit than the life of an apple–we are birthed, fall to the ground, and then die. Except to survive, I had truly believed we had no purpose. How did I get from atheism to paganism? For that matter, how did I get from paganism to Christianity?
In my youth, I never searched for God or for the meaning of life. I loved philosophy and pondered the human condition (outside of theology, of course), but eternal matters were of no matter to me. I remember asking a family member whether she believed in heaven. The response was, “Only if there’s a hell”. Despite my lack of a theology degree, I sensed that this answer wasn’t really an answer at all; sadly, that was the extent of my deep and longing soul search for God.
Since eternal matters were of no importance to me, I was an atheist for my formative years. Since the theory of evolution was widely endorsed, I never thought to question it; also, the biblical alternative simply seemed ludicrous. It was beyond me how people could accept the notion that ‘God’ had created the ‘first’ woman from a man’s rib. I didn’t know why people kept clinging to religion; why they believed the fairytales of the Bible. Weakness? Gullibility? I thought Christians simply had a fear of death and wanted to believe in a heaven to counter that fear. All I knew was that religion, especially Christianity, wasn’t for me.
By 19 years of age, I had developed chronic pain in my hands and arms, and by age 22, I had exhausted all the avenues of traditional medicine in hopes of healing. Around this time, a popular television hostess promoted a New Age book, and despite my skepticism, I hoped it would deliver insight to my situation. I devoured the book and my worldview shifted away from atheism. I realized there was an alternate, invisible reality – a spiritual realm. I started to read more New Age material and sought like-minded people. I learned there were many unconventional healing methods, and soon I was involved in Reiki, crystal healing, astral projection, divination, witchcraft, and many other ungodly activities. You name it, I did it; I researched and participated in everything: Hinduism, pantheism, Wicca, but never Christianity. I was more apt to believe in fairies and leprechauns than in a man named Jesus, who had lived thousands of years ago. The only ‘bible’ I possessed was the Witches’ Bible. At the time, I viewed Christianity as the weakest of all the belief systems and definitely void of any power. I concluded that Christianity was just a bunch of rules and traditions for feeble-minded people.
I continued along my ‘spiritual’ path for five years. I was happy with my belief system and entranced with the myriad of mystical experiences that occurred in my life. Then, one night, I was on the phone with a friend I’d just met. During the conversation, he simply said, “God. Jesus. The Bible-it’s all true.” BOOM! That’s all it took. A missing piece inexplicably slid into place. I knew the truth! I could not deny my Creator, the true creator of everything, any longer. He had graciously revealed Himself to me. I instantly disposed of all my pagan material and began to study the Bible as well as apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith). I soon found that there was extensive evidence for the existence and the claims of Jesus, for the accuracy of the Bible, and for creationism; previously, I had not known that any of these things existed.
While this new knowledge was exciting, the more important truth was that I needed Jesus Christ as my Savior. I had done and said things that were against God’s moral code. (Our conscience tells us what is morally right and wrong.) I had broken God’s law many times – which made me an unrepentant sinner, and I needed forgiveness. You see, just like any fair judge would demand justice, God will punish whoever breaks His laws. Unlike our finite jail sentences, God’s jail – hell – is eternal. Gratefully, Jesus paid for my offenses, my sin, on the cross; He paid for yours too.
My presumptions about Christianity had been incorrect until God came into my life. True Christianity is not about a ‘bunch of rules’, because we can never earn God’s favor on our own. Christians don’t fear of death because they know – as I do today – that their eternal life is guaranteed through Jesus Christ. All those years I scoffed at Christians’ ignorance, while really, the ignorance was mine.
When I think of God’s mercy and how He freed me from all the deceptions, it brings tears to my eyes. I still have chronic pain, but I believe it has been a gift. Not only has God used it to bring me to Him, but He has also given me great comfort and joy while in agony, and I would not know these riches and gifts without my afflictions.
Once, my priorities were centered on a successful career, but now the most important thing in my life is pointing others to Jesus, so they too can be forgiven and have eternal life. I used to mock those who spoke of Jesus; now I can’t stop speaking of Him. If He can forgive me, He can and will forgive anyone who comes to Him.
God has revealed the truth to me, and the truth has set me free. Repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ – for “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Hallowed be His name,