One of the readers at my blog shared a really powerful & moving testimony with me. I asked him if he would mind if I included it here in an article at my blog, and he said I could! I am sure that there are many readers out there who may very well relate to my friend Jake.
So I grew up in a culturally Christian home and hadn’t really ever been a true Christian. I fell asleep in church while pretending to pray all the time and pretty much only went for the snacks and a couple girls who I thought were cute. When I was 13 I got really into the occult. And 15 through 18 I spent my time at rainbow alley at a LGBT safezone funded by planned parenthood. It was pretty much a place to meet people and buy drugs or have sex whether you were straight, gay, bi or transsexual. But I digress. I read Edward Kelly’s work on necromancy and John Dee’s work on Enochian magic. I read the Key of Solomon and had also read the Satanic Bible by the time I was 16.
My father was very stern in his Christian faith even if he didn’t do the best job at teaching us why we believe what we do. But he wouldn’t let me have books in our house because they were based on witchcraft. So I took them to my friend Danny’s house. His mother was a very sweet women with a bunch of bad addictions but she would always tell me to “cut that devil worship bullshit out and come back to Christ“. However, my brothers and I had been in some trouble with the law: I for ditching and my brothers for robbing a house with my friend Danny. At that time we had all been smoking weed and drinking (we even did ecstasy and cough syrup for a while there). Then my dad died when I was 16, right after my dad died Danny’s mom passed away. I hadn’t seen her in months as we lost the house after my dad died and we were living in a hotel in the south side of town. I had a girlfriend at the time, a bottle of booze and a party to go to. Danny was in juvie and I hadn’t heard from him in months. But something on this day told me to go see Danny’s mom. I went to the old neighborhood where their apartment was, but nobody answered when I knocked. So I crawled through the window like Danny and I had done many times before. However, the house was empty. So I knocked on the next door neighbors door and asked her if Ms Beaty was at the store, however, it turned out that she had died two days prior. The following day was her funeral. Now looking back on this, after I’ve come to faith, that was a clear moment where God spoke to me; but I missed it at the time and remained an atheist for the next six years.
After that we had to send my brothers John and James to Virginia because the court would take them as they were under 13 years old. Wesley, Jesse and I were also all in trouble with the law; we used drugs which got my mom a neglect charge. After John & James went to Virginia I went to New Jersey with Jesse and Wesley; we went to juvenile hall. Here I lost any inkling of spirituality and became a full atheist. My dad was dead, my family split up; so why should I care if there is a God? Especially a God who would allow this?
Bu I ran away back to Colorado and I continued in my drug use and hard partying. I had a series of unhealthy relationships and a lot of one night stands. I cheated on girls and manipulated them for my own sexual pleasure. The sick thing was that no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that this was what I had always wanted I couldn’t help but feel how empty and lonely it was. I had three girls thinking I was committed to them and I could have kept the charade going for at least a year, but it just felt fake. So I ended it with all three and stopped having sex for the next two years (from 18 to 20).
Then in 2012 I became really involved in politics, and I was pulling hard for Ron Paul. Here I started having lots of political debates. However, after Ron Paul had lost the nomination I became disheartened, and after tons of conversations I decided politics was pointless; that none of it mattered. At this moment I realised that nothing in life actually mattered. Not sex, not parties, not occultism or fiction/fantasy. It was really scary and depressing but I felt free; I could do anything! But at the same time I was deeply depressed.
It was at this time when I really became involved in zeitgeist, and started telling everyone I knew that Jesus never existed. Inevitably I became involved in a lot of online debates with Christians; people who I had become well accustomed to belittling and insulting. I had grown up chilling at an LGBT safe zone, had tons of premarital sex, had paid for the morning after pill, and also supported a couple of abortions at that time. So I had always been pretty leftist which translated to me associating all Christians as republicans and Young Earth Creationists. But the thing that changed this perception was when I debated I started getting destroyed by not only theists but also by atheists. Even atheist would belittle me and tear my (zeitgeist’s) arguments to shreds. But I realized that all of them were just in it to make me look and feel stupid; none of them cared about me for who I was. It was then that one amateur Christian apologist provided me with some great resources. He was smart and kind and gracious but authoritative and genuinely interested in me learning & understanding.
But then over the next couple months (the latter half of 2012 and into the first half of 2013) I staggered. Being confronted with the good evidence I found forced me to change so much of what I had initially believed. At this time I fell in love with a Hindu girl; she would take me to the Hare Krishna temple where we would sing, dance and pray. But she ended up betraying me with a man I had called my best friend since 6th grade! He was never really my friend, he used me as an understudy and had a long history of stealing my girls or having sex with my exs. On top of this he had always encouraged me to sin, to cheat on women, lie to people, to steal from my family, to get drunk and high (usually on marijuana but towards the end he became addicted to coke and acid).
But after they had betrayed me my dog died, which only made things worse. And all the people I knew vanished because I burned the bridges between this so-called “friend.” He was the drug man and so they all ended up going with him instead. It was in that intense loneliness that, for the first time, I truly felt something there with me. I had come across a verse; it was John 16:33 where Jesus (who I before tried to convince people that he had never existed) said: “in this world you will face tribulation but take heart for I have overcome the world.” This really hit me, and I got down on my knees and prayed: “Jesus Christ please come into my heart, forgive me for my sins.” I prayed this because I knew the depth of my sins; I knew that living for myself had ever only hurt me.
Yet ever since that day I’ve had a small fire growing inside me. A renewing of the mind! The apologetics weren’t just an interesting side note in my life anymore, they were answers that I needed! For the first six months I became what I thought all Christians were: young earth presuppositionalists. But the apologetics actually helped lead me out of that and now I subscribe to theistic evolution. I now truly feel whole and balanced and my faith has become stronger every time I had to rethink my assumptions. I found that God has nullified and surpassed every assumption I have made; and here I am. I converted in 2013 and three years later I find myself in the apologetics certificate program from Biola University. I also intend to use this for six credits towards my master degree in Christian apologetics. Yet, all day & every day I am fully compelled out of love to know my Lord in greater depth even though I know I’ll never fully comprehend God. For whom among us finite men can comprehend his infinite ways? After all, God says that his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). Yet this further dedicates me to wanting to know my Lord for the rest of my days, to walk in his ways, and to live by his word. So, when I face tribulations I can know that my greatest friend has always been supporting me my whole life. Even when I sought his enemy for my counsel, spat in his face, and denied that he had ever existed.
He never left and he never will. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.