While I grew up with the knowledge of God, and that He loved me, and my mother was a Christian and taught us to pray; and I went to Sunday School, it wasn’t until much later in life that I fully understood what it meant to believe in God.
I believe that God is always waiting for that moment; the right time for the realization of what it means. I went to Church, I prayed, I believed, but there was a moment of the beginning of a search for more knowledge. More than believing in God; and I received a little nudge to start looking further………….
One day while going to work very early, as I worked for communications at a hospital and had to be in by 7 am; I was about 5 minutes away, and at a stop street. I saw a man and noticed he was a member of the Salvation Army. He had just gotten out of a car going in the opposite direction, where it seemed he had received a ride. For some reason I waited till he crossed in front of me, and then he waved to indicate he was looking for a ride in my direction.
I must say, that I absolutely ‘never’ gave rides to hitch hikers previous to this time or since, but I had to make a quick decision. It was a blizzard and it was so early with little traffic, and so I asked him where he was going. He said if I could just give him a lift to the next main intersection, which was just past where I was headed; he would really appreciate it.
He had only been in the car for a couple of minutes, when he asked me if I knew where I was going when I died. I thought to myself; boy is he ever direct! But I answered him, and said that I hoped I was going to heaven. He said I didn’t have to ‘hope’, but I could ‘know’. He asked me if I would read a chapter from John, that night, and that he would say a prayer for me that day. I said that I would, and then dropped him off.
I couldn’t forget my promise to him and that night I read the chapter he suggested, and that was the ‘light bulb’ moment, to coin a current phrase.
From that time, I read and searched and asked questions, and came to the truth and the knowledge that once we accept that Christ was the son of God, and died on the cross for all people, all our sins are forgiven and I could ‘know’ and not just ‘hope’ that I would go to heaven.
I think for all of us the timing varies… but for me it was when a man, who asked me boldly a question, and gave me the place to find the answer… in the Word of God… the Bible.