Hebrews 12:2 (HCSB)- …keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
The Bible tells us the story of a Jewish scholar called Saul of Tarsus. On his way to arrest the followers of a new Jewish sect known as “The Way,” he had what is popularly known as “the Damascus experience.”
Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus in the form of a light that was brighter than the sun. The “voice” called out to him, “Saul..Saul…Why do you persecute me?” Saul replied, “Who are you Lord?”
“I AM JESUS OF NAZARETH, WHOM YOU ARE PERSECUTING!” Acts 22:8
Saul of Tarsus was baptized into the Christian Faith 3 days after his vision… and immediately began to preach that Lord Jesus was the Messiah. He even began to use a new name: “Paul.”
I am no St. Paul…in fact, I would feel unworthy to serve him as a slave! Yet, the time for me to unveil my own Damascus experience is quickly approaching. Thanks to sudden changes in my life and ministry, I no longer have to hide the Damascus experience from persons who claim to believe in God, but who live like atheists.
For many years, I had become increasingly conscious of the deplorable state of the Christian Church- but I also lived under the illusion that if I worked very hard, that I would be able to “fix” the particular segment of the Church that I was pastoring.
I was wrong.
In 2014, I began to study a different religion as part of a personal assignment of ministerial enrichment. During that year I became very fond with this religion… but what attracted me the most was its strict sense of being a disciplic religion and its fostering of true love for one another. Almost needless to say…I became envious of them.
In 2015, certain ecclesial experiences brought me to the point of despair. I literally felt as if the Church of Jesus Christ barely existed in the present. Yes, I knew some disciples, but those of us who took the Faith seriously were far and few in between.
One day that summer, I went for my daily prayer-walk.
I was depressed and heart-broken… I longed so much for the sound of laughter! I did not want to leave Lord Jesus…but at that time, Christianity did not seem like a healthy option.
“Lord Jesus,” I prayed, “I believe that you are the Christ and I will always love you, but I cannot serve you as your follower in these churches.”
A cool breeze caressed the leaves that were still on the tree branches. The sun was shining powerfully and birds sang beautiful songs of joy, yet I was desperate for meaningful relationships with sincere, godly persons who loved Lord Jesus with their whole heart, soul and strength!
The pain and loneliness of my heart led me to make the resolute decision to leave Christianity. This was no casual thought. I literally had come to the point of no return, at least, from a human perspective.
I suddenly became enraptured with the songs I was listening to… My hands began to almost rise by themselves. Just as I was lifting my eyes in full surrender to the force that was calling me…I was stopped on my tracks.
I couldn’t believe my eyes… Right over my head, what seemed to be a sudden burst of wind pierced through the center of a cloud and formed a Cross!
BEHOLD THE FACE, BEHOLD THE CROSS!
I fell on my knees in awe. All the emotions and the bliss I was feeling suddenly came to a halt. The moment I saw the sign in the skies I understood its message.
Lord Jesus stopped me from converting to another religion out of despair. I came to understand the pain (to some degree) that Lord Jesus feels for His Church. But rather than allowing for me to abandon the Christian institution… The Lord wanted for me to remain right where I was so that I could become a facilitator of Christian unity among sincere disciples of different denominations and backgrounds.
I fell on my knees in awe and silent worship. Then after what seemed like an eternity, I noticed that the Cross began to dissolve. It was at that time that I pulled out my I-phone and took the picture that is in this article.
Dear Christian brother and sister… I want to encourage you in the Name of Lord Jesus to not lose your Faith. Strive to become a sincere disciple of Christ. Pray to the Lord for a Pastor-Teacher that you can learn under. Love, respect and revere your Pastor… who is the Angel or Messenger from God to the Church.
Seek for true disciples of Christ… Believe me, you will hardly find them in the churches. There are many, many disenfranchised Christians out there who no longer go to church because of the hypocrisy and politics that is so prevalent in institutional Christianity.
Christ Jesus truly resurrected from the dead. Call out to His Name night and day. Express to Him how you feel. Seek after Him with your whole heart and weep at the foot of the Cross…
The Lord will absolutely not abandon you. The Lord will lead you to true disciples with whom you will-
Behold the Face…Behold the Cross.