I was raised on secularism and materialism.
I was drinking from age 12, stealing from age 8. and doing drugs from age 15. I was first arrested at 15 in our middle upper class neighborhood. I was in Boys Town for my high school years. As a child, I went to church once or twice with my neighbors who were very kind, but I would rather have sex with them than go to church. I was homosexual from an early age.
After a few more years of terrible living, I was asked a question one day by a pastor. He asked, if I were to die that day, where would I go? I said “straught to hell” and started crying uncontrollably. I knew intuitively that I was going to hell, and it took no one else to tell me that. I also knew somewhere deep down inside that there was something much bigger than me out there. The pastor asked me if I wanted to go to heaven, and I said yes, crying more uncontrollably. He asked me if I believed I was a sinner, I said yes, and he told me about Jesus having died for our sins on the cross and that this is how much He loves us, that He would actually lay down His life for us, and then rise again, showing us we have power over the grave. I said a prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart and life, and I have never cried this hard, feeling the relief and forgiveness that immediately came upon this broken young man, sitting there in that jail cell with ten other guys in orange jumpsuits, bawling my eyes out. And at that moment, I could care less about heaven, because the desire to drink left me, and drug, and homosexual desires, and sttealing, were all taken from me in the blink of an eye! Nothing else could even begin to suppress these desires, but Jesus Christ, the Living God, removed them from me and reversed my whole moral thought process in the blink of an eye.
It is odd, that when looking at pictures of my childhood room at age 10, I see this sacred heart of Jesus statue on my dresser that I had prurchased for .25cents at a garage sale. I had remembered drawing a picture of the crucifixion at about age 5 from a brand new bible I had found in a drawer at our house. Today I get to make beautiful crucifixes for a living.
You see, I was always drawn to Jesus Christ and His loving sacrifice, even before I really knew who He was, or what He was all about. No one had to tell me, I was drawn. a few years back, as I was reading John, I came across this passage in John 12:32-33 where he says that he will draw all men unto Himself through His being lifted up from the earth, the way in which he would die.
so I can see today that I was drawn by his crucifixion, His sacrifice.
Heck, people in no man’s land are drawn to God without ever being shown anything about God by anyone else. It is intuitive. we drown it out with the materialism, sex, drinking, cars sports, temporal happiness. but death is the great equalizer, and when each person lies on that death bed, then they will truly understand the concept and reality of God, either before they die, or after.