Through a series of events that God had put together, this atheist of nine years found herself praying. I was praying to the god I wasn't sure was really there. Life was a mess. I was hurting those I professed to love. I was drinking too much and making terrible choices.
My younger sister has changed tremendously. I had to ask questions. I scoffed and poked fun at her but underneath that tough exterior I was thoughtful. As soon as I put her on the plane, I found myself at the Christian bookstore getting the book on Bible prophesy she recommended.
Three weeks after reading the book, my husband and I had gone for a walk in a nearby park. I was crying but instead of release, the tears felt muddy as they dribbled down my face. Life was a tangled snarl and I was even more tangled..
Later that day, I found myself getting ready for work, taking a bath and talking out loud, to god, IF he was there. I needed help.
"I've made a wreck of my life. If you're there, I need you to forgive me and to have you take over." This went on for some time. I am not sure what I expected, but nothing "weird" happened. I felt calm and peaceful, like a huge bounder in a backpack was lifted off my shoulders.
"Hey, JO, are you ok in there, you've been in there an hour and a half now?" questioned my husband.
It was then I realized I was sitting in a bathtub filled with stone cold water. But I felt free for the first time ever in my life.
There was a born again nurse's aide at work. I spoke with her much. I began to read the Bible. I still had so many questions: How did I know this was really the literal Word of God? How could I believe every word? What was just "good stories" and what was real?
Did you really inspire these writers? Is every word literal? Can I trust this book?
I found myself reading in the Old Testament and came across Isaiah 40:22:
"It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in." (RSV)
Then it "popped into my head" that when we studied history "in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue" they all thought if he went too far, he'd sail off the edge of the earth this scripture was written way before Columbus. Yet, whoever inspired this writing knew the earth was a circle and it sounded like he was sitting above that circle.
Next I found Psalms 103:11-12: "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is his great steadfast love towards those who fear him, as far as the east in from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." (RSV)
I started thinking about this. If you go north pretty soon you are going south because the earth spins on its axis which is from north to south
However, if you go east you keep going east forever and never go west.
The lights were coming on just like the sun rises each and every morning.
The person who inspired this knew that the earth was a circle and rotated on an axis. Who but God?
Shortly after this I was reading in the New Testament and found two scriptures regarding end times: Matthew 24:40-41 "Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left."
And Luke 17:34-35 (speaking of the same end times event) Í tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left." (RSV)
I mentally checked this out too. It was too early in time for electricity in the fields, no night lights, so those in the field and grinding had to be in the daytime. And those asleep, looked like it was nighttime. Showing the concept of an earth with part of it in day and the rest in night when this event happened.
Again, who but the Lord God knew about this at the time in history when these scriptures were written.
Thank you, Lord God, for caring enough to help me with my "issues" about the Bible. Thank you for looking upon my converted atheist's heart and teaching me, answering my questions and giving me much to think about in the years that followed.
I no longer wondered which parts of the Bible were "just good stories" and which were literal. I knew from that day on I could rely on what was written within those incredible and wonderful pages. And I knew that I would have these examples to share with anyone else who was questioning, like I was.
How much more could I be loved? How much more personable could my Lord and savior be? I came to find out that this was just the beginning, the very beginning. All these years later I am still learning and growing, daily thanking my incredible raboni, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news