As a new believer, I was encouraged by my pastor to “delve into the Word”. I took this to heart and rose at five every morning to pray and read the Bible. I met a friend at one of the Saturday prayer meetings and we started comparing notes on what we felt the Lord was telling us in our quiet time. It was amazing how often the messages were similar, even though we read from different parts of the Bible. This greatly encouraged us, as the Bible became more meaningful. I marveled at the way in which the Holy Spirit started revealing the Word to me.
Soon after my conversion, I had three significant encounters which convinced me that this was a serious matter. These experiences had a profound impact on my thoughts as a Christian and shaped the way I was to think about God … even in my business.
The first experience pertained to a question posed by a friend as to whether Jesus actually rose from the dead. “How do you know for sure?” he asked. I replied, “Because the Bible tells us so. In fact, at one stage Jesus appeared to 500 people after His resurrection.” My friend responded, “Show me.”
As a relatively inexperienced Christian, I had no idea where to start looking for this particular Scripture. [This was before the days of the Internet!] As I walked to our bedroom to fetch my Bible, I quickly said a short prayer asking the Lord to please help me, not for His sake but for mine, as I felt my reputation was at stake! I walked into the room, picked up the Bible and opened it, fervently looking for the passage. My eyes fell on the following verses: “I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold. He was seen by Peter and later by the rest of ‘the Twelve’. After that he was seen by more than five hundred Christian brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now” (1 Corinthians 15:3–6).
Wow! I literally froze, realizing that this was no coincidence. This was not some fluke, but our living God helping me in my ignorance, whilst my reputation was on the line. This proved to be a turning point in my life. For the first time, the Lord provided me with a direct answer from His Word. I intuitively realized that I could trust His Word. All that remained for me to do was to seek the Lord’s face, study and meditate on His Word, and its meaning and depth would be revealed to me by the Holy Spirit. In my next blog I’ll talk about the second experience of making a request to the Lord and how He spoke so clearly to me in my quiet time.