Thursday, August 18, 2005

Special Birthday

It was a Friday afternoon and Rev. Gilbert Thomas stood before the final assembly of the Vacation Bible School at the Bible Baptist Church of Gardena, California.

“Boys and girls,” pastor Thomas said, “two thousand years ago Jesus was hanging on the cross. He looked up into heaven as He was dying and said, ‘Father, I’m dying for…’” Pastor Thomas paused and looked down on the children in the church and said, “You can put y our name right there kids, for Jesus died just for you.”

When the invitation was given I stepped forward, along with my brother and my cousin. At the age of eight one wonders if a decision of that magnitude is valid. My brother is convinced that his salvation did not take place until over thirty years later. I have no idea about my cousin or the countless other kids that went forward that day, I can only speak from myself.

It was fifty years ago, August 19, 1955 that I embraced Jesus as my Lord and my Savior. I started my journey well. I remember running home and hugging my mom in the kitchen proudly declaring I was “saved.” I remember my first real Bible and how I had underlined almost every verse with dark blue ink, as every word was real and important to me. I went through a “prodigal” season and, like Peter, denied I ever knew Him. But even in my most rebellious days, I never forgot that August day. As a returning son in 1967, the reunion to my first love was nearly as wonderful as that day as an innocent eight-year old boy.

Tonight, alone with my thoughts in a motel room far away from family and friends, I reflect on that day. That summer day, fifty years ago, seems like another lifetime, yet, in other ways it feels just like yesterday. I have no way of knowing if that was the day I was redeemed, but it was the day I said, “Father, Jesus died just for me, and today I want to come and tell you that I’m sorry He had to go to the cross and I want to be a Christian.”

They say that when one comes to Christ there is rejoicing in heaven. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I wonder tonight if there is also rejoicing on spiritual birthdays? Happy birthday to me.

1 comment:

sara said...

i've never heard that story. amazing the things we don't know about our parents. That was a great blog.
Oh, and happy birthday.