I became a Christian at a Billy Graham crusade when I was five years old. At the end of Mr. Graham’s sermon, he called for anyone who wanted to know Jesus to come to the front of the stadium. Thousands of people poured from their seats and down the aisles, and I told my dad, a preacher, that I wanted to go too.
Understandably, my dad held me back for a moment, asking me if I knew what I was doing, what it all meant. When I felt like he wasn’t going to let me go, my little heart began to panic. I burst into tears and cried, “I want to go! I want to know Jesus!”
With all eyes on him and his five-year-old begging to become a Christian, my dad gave in and took me down to the middle of the football field, where I asked Jesus to come into my heart.
It’s a story I am hesitant to tell, because it is not dramatic. I wasn’t a 25-year-old drug addict who was miraculously transformed. I wasn’t an 18-year-old atheist who had a Damascus road experience. I was just a little girl who knew God was real and wanted to know Him.
Over the years, He has rescued me from disasters of my own – bouts of depression, dangerous relationships, being a naive 21-year-old traveling through Europe and making stupid, unsafe decisions. And there have been milestones for me, ones I’ve talked about here and a few I haven’t, where I heard Him, I knew Him closer than ever.
But there is something unique to a person who meets Jesus as a child, who knows Him her whole life. Knowing him becomes second nature and, if she’s not careful, habit. It’s easy to coast when you know the lingo and the songs, from It Is Well to Better is One Day to How He Loves Us. To feel so familiar with Him that you forget to know Him, to really know Him. To find Him in the place His glory dwells.
That’s where I am now. I talked to my friend Kezia about it the other day, about how I coast. She has known Him her whole life, too, and she knew, and that felt comforting. She is an artist and creates beautiful pictures, even with her words.
Sometimes, she told me, He leads us into big pastures where we find freedom and comfort and we know Him better, and we think we’ll never get tired of being there, there’s so much to see and do and discover. But sooner or later we reach the fence, and we feel we’ve reached the end. We feel dissatisfied. We want more.
I’m standing at the fence now. Dissatisfied. Aching to know what I have never known before. To discover Truth in a way I haven’t seen it before. I feel so desperate I can only describe it as thirsty, though I know it’s a cliché. It’s like seeing a river in the distance and running and running but never reaching it.
I read in a magazine the other day about an experiment that a group of atheists were doing, where they planned to pray for three minutes a day for 40 days and to document their experiences, whether miraculous or nothing at all. And something in it inspired me, because I really believe that if you seek Him you will find Him, just like He said, but it’s a Truth I’ve often believed for everyone but myself.
I’m taking it for myself now. Saying, “This is it. I want to find You.” I started on October 31st, making room in my busy days – the days I can fill with the meaningful and the meaningless, the ones where excuses are plenty and time is short – to talk to Him. To say, “I really, really want to know You.” I jokingly referred to it as “Know-vember” to my friend Sarah, because I like to name things.
I know it’s November 8th now, but if you’re like me, and you’re coasting; or you’ve never known Him but you’ve wanted to; or you’re just curious, I want to invite you join me. To tell Him you want to know Him. To ask Him to show Himself to you, however He likes. And if He does, I want you to tell us here. And if He doesn’t, you can tell us that, too.
Meanwhile, every time I squeeze in my few minutes a day, I will leave one at the end to ask for you, on your behalf. I’ll pray He takes us beyond the fences, that He shows us how He loves us.