It seems funny that the first childhood memory I have of talking about God was in a church building. I remember asking my mommy (I couldn’t have been more than 3) where we were, and she said we were in “God’s house”. That really impressed me, and of course I started looking around for God. I saw a man in the choir loft, and thinking God would be higher up because people seemed to look up when they spoke to Him, I asked her, “Mommy, is that God?” She said it wasn’t, but really didn’t have answers for all the many questions that now were coming to my talkative 3 year old mind….
Years later in a different town, our family was attending a big church on the top a hill. It had a big choir and a huge pipe organ that filled the back wall above the balcony. The pastor was “Dr. so and so”, and was referred to as Dr. instead of “pastor”. I didn’t like going to that church because they had Sunday School police, who if they found you outside the Sunday School room when class was in session would take you by the ear (seriously) and pull you to class. I was maybe in second grade.
Then one Sunday while I was avoiding the Sunday School police, I found a map – well really a floor plan of the church building. The amazing thing to me was that according to this map, in one of the rooms which I discovered to be locked up tight, there were bags all tied up, stacked inside and labeled “God”. It must have been traumatic to me at the time because I still remember it in detail after all these years. I went and found the church janitor and showed him the map, and although he looked concerned, he didn’t open the door to let God out, or even investigate.He just took me back to my parents and let them deal with me. I still remember thinking, “Maybe they want Him in there”.
How much have these experiences motivated me life direction? A therapist could have fun with it I am sure – but you can be sure that I was determined to find God eventually. I did. He showed up in many ways through my youth, but I finally recognized Him with enough certainty to claim success when I met this guy named Joe.
I was in high school by now. My parents had divorced four years ago, which created another motivation in my life around relationships. But I was searching even more intently now. Joe was a Campus Life director at my high school. He invited me to Bible studies at his house with other kids, and eventually to a big rally in Minneapolis where I was happy to show others that I had found God through Jesus. It had finally dawned on me that God wasn’t living in buildings, or bags in a store room, or up in the sky somewhere, or even in black leather-bound books. But that ever since Jesus came to make it possible, He has been living in people.That’s were I finally met Him for sure, and I hope you have met Him too.