"Unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of heaven."
John 3: 3
For many years I viewed Calvary from afar. Then one day I came and stood at the foot of the cross, looked up, and for the first time recognized that Jesus was hanging there in my place. I saw my sin and the hopelessness of my continued existence without Him. My soul was stirred and I reached out to Him in love and gratitude and asked Him to be my Savior. I sensed His acceptance cover me with love and cleanness. For a time I stood there feeling secure and very special. In the weeks that followed I came everyday to the foot of the cross. I called to others to come and see for themselves what Jesus had done for me and to glimpse what He offered them.
One morning I came as usual to the cross, ready to again thank Jesus for giving His life for me. But the cross was empty. Jesus was not there. Panic rose within me. I ran everywhere, asking everyone I met how to find Him again. "Keep returning to the cross", they advised. "That is the only place you are secure." So for many days I waited at Calvary but never again did I find Jesus there. I was lost and disillusioned, joyless and heartsick.
Many people were standing there beside me. I heard them telling over and over of many months, even years of coming to the foot of the cross. Their words said, "We see you, Jesus", but in their eyes I saw the truth. For them also, the cross was empty. For awhile I continued to stand there in emptiness and pretense, joining them in their hypocrisy. But one day I could no longer remain. I was constrained to move on. I had to find Jesus.
Everywhere was darkness. I no longer felt clean and loved. I was not clothed with the new but still shackled with the old. Many times I was tempted to return to Calvary just for the comfort of being with others for the road I was traveling was very lonely.
Then I read in the Word about the resurrection. My heart leaped in anticipation. I will look for Jesus at the tomb. I ran, a new hope surging within me. But the Word whispered the ageless reply -- "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. He is going before you. There you will see Him." I turned from the tomb, my disappointment was like a shroud. "O, Jesus", I whispered, "Where are you? How can I find you?"
Everyday I searched His Word for signs of Him. "Come to Me", Jesus had said. "Learn of Me." At first it seemed empty and fruitless but everyday I came to eat and drink of what He had said.
Then one day I came as usual and suddenly the words on the page were alive. They spoke to me. My soul sang; my spirit soared. Like a rushing stream the Scriptures filled my being. Sometimes they pronounce me guilty, sometimes they praise me, but always they promise me life if I will be obedient to what they say. Every time Jesus gave me a command through His Word, I said, "Yes, Lord". I felt my old self begin to fade and my new self become more prevalent. When He showed me a sin I faced it and asked Him to forgive me. I felt the new life that had been born in me at the foot of the cross stir and grow.
My being sought Jesus, following hard after Him. Others asked me, "Where are you going?" "Come and see", I replied. Wherever His Word led me I went, regardless of the consequences. I knew that my feet were now walking His Way, that I was "coming" to Him. The life that would never die encompassed my soul and spirit with eternity. His word became a part of the fiber of my being, opening my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my heart to understand.
Many years now I have been following Jesus. I have had great joy and great sorrow, magnificent peace and excruciating pain, death and new Life, want and plenty, confusion and enlightenment. I have experienced the depths and the heights, (the true life abundant) and found God more than sufficient for every circumstance.
Someday I will take my last step toward Jesus. My "coming to Him" will be over. In the distance I can see a new day dawning. On that great day, Jesus will be coming for me. O, praise God, He'll be coming for me!
It is not the person who is taught about God but the person who experiences God that grows into a spiritually healthy, happy, well adjusted Christian. Our present state of grace is the result of what we have "experienced" rather that what we have learned intellectually. God is an experience in reality and truth.