Monday, November 13, 2006
Important things I've been too tired to write about...
I was baptized yesterday. :) I've been a Christian for pretty much my whole life, and I've had multiple opportunities to be baptized. Until the last few months, I had never really felt any sincere desire to be baptized. I figured...I'm saved and going to heaven whether I get baptized or not, so why embarrass myself by getting drenched in front of everyone? I thought...I'm a little uncomfortable with this, God, so I'm gonna pass. You understand, right?
And I'm sure He did. Just as swiftly as I became convinced of this, however, the Holy Spirit was quick to remind me that Jesus knows all about being uncomfortable and even humiliated in front of everyone. And, after all, being baptized wasn't all about ME...it was about a public confession of faith, honoring God.
So, I mulled it over. I thought...Okay, I can do that. Initially, I felt like I had an obligation to fulfill. I can't say I was excited about it, but it was something I knew I had to do. Initially, it felt very much like a business transaction. I was just holding up my end of the bargain.
With just a hint of reluctance, I signed up for the next baptism service. And then, things began to change.
As the day grew closer, I began to feel much more excited about what I was going to do. It began to feel less and less like a perfunctory duty, and more like a gift I was giving to God. I began to realize...this act of obedience was so much more than merely completing a transaction with God. This act of obedience was going to bring God tremendous joy. That realization made the event something sweet and beautiful.
Of course, I was nervous. After all, the second service at New Hope has a pretty hefty attendance, and I had chosen to be baptized during that service. Not only would I have to get dunked in front of all those people, but I was also instructed to prepare a testimony to share before I was baptized.
As I stood there waiting for my turn, I felt nervous. I thought...I'm going to forget what I want to say, despite the written testimony I have with me. I'll probably stammer, or worse, giggle because I am so nervous. I kept thinking...I just want this to be over. I kept praying...Lord, help me to remember that I am not doing this for an audience, I am doing this for You.
Then, it was my turn. I walked over to the baptism tank, feeling the butterflies in my stomach. Then the most amazing thing happened. One of the men doing all the baptizing extended a hand to me to help me into the baptism tank. I took his hand, and as soon as my foot first touched the water, I felt amazingly calm. There I stood, up to my waist in warm water,in front of who knows how many people, sharing what God had put on my heart...and not feeling the least bit nervous or business-like. It was all for Jesus. It was a very personal, very real moment. I am still processing it. It was the sweetest, most beautiful moment of my life to this point. It's going to be difficult to top. :)
There are other important things I could write about...a friend's laughter, the sweetness of companionship after thinking you had lost that friend forever, the good feeling that comes with having a cup of coffee after a good meal, or the simple comfort of a warm bed to sleep in. All important things. All important things that I am too tired to write about.
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