It was perhaps the most incredible message I had ever heard, the God of the universe was seeking a personal relationship with me. I can still hear the voice of that elderly man who recited Matthew 11:28, “Jesus said, `Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.'” I sat up in my chair intrigued by what I had just heard. God wants to be a part of my life? The one who created the universe wants a personal relationship with me? In fact He cares so much that He wants to carry the burdens of my life and give me rest? I had never heard the Gospel message that He was deeply interested in my life, my deepest struggles, and that He wanted to give peace that I had never experienced in my tumultuous adolescent years.
Then the pastor read the second verse, “Jesus said, `. . . and I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age.' ” My interest continued to grow. Not only was the God of the universe interested in me, but He promised never to abandon me even in my worst moments. These words expressed a commitment greater than any I knew. The most significant promise we make in a lifetime is a marriage vow. Yet in a marriage vow the final words are, “Till death do us part.” God stated that not even death would separate us from Him. I was amazed that the God of the universe would desire to make such a commitment with one so undeserving like me. These two verses caught my attention and I began to reflect on what I had heard.
The pastor gave the invitation, “If you would like to have a relationship with God and receive Christ as your Lord and savior and have the assurance of eternal life with Him, repeat this prayer.” The pastor led us in a prayer to receive Christ. I remember sitting in my pew and saying to God alone, “God, if this is real, if these promises are true and you are the kind of God described in the Bible, I want to know you.” It is then I trusted Christ and became a child of God.
I did not grow up in church, but I attended an Episcopalian school. I had heard some of the Bible but never understood it in this way. So I reported this exciting news to my school priest that following Monday. With very little emotion, he acknowledged my story and then told me not to take the Bible that seriously. He pointed out there are many errors in the Bible and that many of the stories are not accurate and some are even fiction. His response was quite shocking to me. Suddenly, I began to question my new born faith. Desiring to learn the Bible, I enrolled in my high school Bible class. The textbooks assumed that miracles were not possible and instead there were naturalistic explanations for the miracle accounts of the Bible. As I read the textbooks and listened to the class lectures, the Bible seemed to be filled with historical errors, chronological errors, and stories borrowed from pagan mythology.
The evidence presented in these texts from history and archaeology appeared to be overwhelming…. All that I was learning in Bible class was casting serious doubts on the credibility of the Christian faith. It seemed that Christianity was another nice religious story but one with no historical basis. I searched for answers but no one seemed to have any. My faith began to wane. Perhaps new faith was just another emotional experience? I refused to dedicate my life to a religion that said, “You just have to take a leap of faith.” If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He was not the Son of God and Christianity could not be true. Like Thomas, I needed to see the nail prints in Jesus' hands and feel His side. Was there good reason and evidence for faith in Christ? I said to myself, “Unless I see, I will not believe.”
After months of questioning, I sat at a restaurant with Ed, a friend from church. I shared with him all that I had learned in class and that I had found no answers to these facts against Christianity. He looked at my discouraged countenance and said, “I do not have the answers but this book may be able to help you.” He gave me a book of Christian apologetics. I had never heard of the term “apologetics.” I came to learn it meant a defense and Christian apologetics was the defense of the Christian faith. I read it thoroughly. To my surprise, I discovered that Christianity was a rational and reasonable faith. There were indeed compelling reasons and evidences to support the foundations of the Christian faith. I found the material fascinating and when I was finished, I proceeded to read another book and another. My quest for the truth had begun. If you are questioning the truth of Christianity or wondering if there is credible evidence for faith in Christ, this book is for you.