Jesus Did It!
By: Ed Long
I had a good childhood. I was raised on a farm, a nice little Catholic boy ' I was content and happy. Life was good.
Suddenly at age 16, my dad died. After that our family's life became complicated; out of my control in many ways. I felt my world had rocked. I had lost the peace I'd grown used to.
The Bible says when a child is raised in the ways of the Lord, he will not depart from those ways. While I did not totally leave the Lord, I did wander off the path. I got lost in my work, finding it fun and rewarding. I let my hair grow long and had my share of fast cars, smoking, drinking and sex. These things provided some comfort but no peace.
My occasional watching church on TV or attending church once in awhile seemed to keep me in connection with God, but never produced a true relationship or real peace. During this time, God had me on His mind, even though I was neglecting Him.
While a passenger on a road trip, our car slid on ice, hitting a pole. Shattered glass filled my eyes, blinding me. In the operating room, they told me to count backwards from 100 ' 99 ' 98. I was out. Relief at least. But peace was not yet to come.
I can't explain what happened next.
Suddenly, I was standing before Jesus as He warmly and joyfully
welcomed me. But then He told
me I couldn't stay; that I had to go back and start over.
I said, 'No! Why? I love you. I don't understand. I tried to be good. Look at my friends. I did not do all the bad stuff they did (just some of it).'
He said, 'That's true; you didn't do some of those
things, but it wasn't because you loved me.
You only wanted to stay out of trouble and avoid earthly
At these words, I felt an emptiness and rejection that was indescribable. I felt farther away from peace than I'd ever felt before. Perhaps this was a lesson, a warning, a taste of what eternity would be like without Him. It WAS a warning! I woke up in a hospital bed clutching a borrowed Bible.
After a time spent healing, my left eye was okay but my right eye had 20/80 vision.
But every time that I couldn't see well to shoot, hunt, work on a car, or any other close-up work, I thank God that he turned this tragedy into a way of drawing me closer to Him. Sometimes a mule has to be hit with a 2 x 4 to get its attention. I just had to get hit with a pole. Thinking I was permanently blind certainly got my attention!
I never strayed so far again, but still found no real peace. I eventually got married, joined a nice church and had children. Our church offered Bible studies, and we often attended potluck dinners and other social events. I loved my church family and I still keep in touch with many of them. I found love, but not the peace I desperately longed for.
Once when evangelists visited our church to lead a revival, I saw fire in their eyes, and love and peace in their spirit. I told them, 'I want what you've got.'
As I became more involved in church, I also discovered things the opposite of peace and love, including cliques, rejection, conditional love and friendship; some people were even mean to my family. I eventually came to realize that sitting in a church doesn't make someone a loving Christian any more than sitting in McDonald's makes one a hamburger. I would think, 'God, this is not right. Do you not hear my prayers? Where is your justice? Where is your peace? Why doesn't it come to me? Please, just touch me.'
God not only heard me, but reached down from heaven and touched me. A lady pastor we knew saw a Godly gift in us and invited us to a special service. We were used to quiet, formal and reserved meetings. But this was not the case here! These folks clapped to lively music and raised their hands, giving God praise and worship. The pastor called it a Holy Ghost meeting. This was very new to us.
During the service, the pastor suggested raising our hands if we wanted a closer, personal relationship with God. I was hungry for more of the Lord, so I did. As I stood there, eyes closed, clutching the pew in front of me, I prayed, 'This religion thing ain't cutting it. I give up. I'm empty. This is it. If you don't touch me now, I quit. I've desperately sought you; now you find me.'
About this time, I felt the preacher's hand on my arm. I opened my eyes and agreed when he asked if he could pray for me. He said, 'I see an empty vessel. It's a good vessel, but it's just empty and dusty. It's been a long, dry spell. And so what we're going to do is take the top off this vessel and let the Holy Spirit fill it up.'
When I raised my hands, he asked, 'Have you ever been arrested?'
I said, 'No (but later remembered that I had ' oops!).'
He said, 'Well, you have now.'
He put his hand on my head and I fell to the floor like a ton of bricks, but it was a good thing. I felt love, rest and God's overwhelming peace. As I lay there, I felt the Lord's cleansing. It reminded me of the scrubbing bubbles commercial. The Holy Spirit scrubbed me clean just like those little foam bubble guys, creating a brand new me. I laid on the floor pretty much the rest of the entire service! My wife couldn't believe it ' this was really different for both of us ' although such things became more common as we progressed in our spiritual growth.
God had answered my heartfelt prayer and continued
putting mighty men and women of God in our path.
He started with that Holy Ghost meeting at a Christian drug and
alcohol rehab facility. From
there He introduced me to various minister, including a Christian
Motorcyclist's chaplain, a man with a worldwide shofar ministry, a bishop
Our motorcycle club's chaplain, Chappie, says if you want to get hit by a train, then you have to play on the tracks. And he's right ' if you want to have a close relationship with Christ, be filled with the peace of His love and the fire of the Holy Spirit, you must seek Him. Play on the tracks, in other words. Go where He is. Seek the fellowship of Christians and find a church with true Christian brothers and sisters. You will know them by their love; His love ' His peace. They will not be more concerned with church doctrine and the traditions of man than the Word of God.
Jesus spoke against this spirit of religion when He
talked to the Sadducees and Pharisees.
True Christians are not legalistic, self-righteous, condescending,
arrogant or judgmental. True
brother and sisters will receive you in His grace, peace, and love, just as
you are; even if you have tattoos and long hair; even if you have no money,
or nice clothes; even if you are bro
I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences since that first night on the floor. My wife and I love playing on the tracks! We, and our circle of like-minded believers, pray for folks. We see healings of the body and spirit and help hurting people find comfort in His peace. This is a far cry from our lives a few years ago.
We now understand His power and authority. Instead of longing for His peace, I know where to find it ' on the floor, surrendered to Him. When I worship, I find peace. When I sound the shofar, I find peace. When I pray, I find peace. When I help others in His love, I find peace. I now rest in peace ' His peace ' and ' so can you.
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I FINALLY FOUND THE PEACE OF GOD