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The Encounter

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The Encounter

By Christine Bojahra

Cover by Christine Bojahra

 

 

Shakespir Edition

 

Copyright 2017 Christine Bojahra

All Rights Reserved

Shakespir Edition, License Notes:

Thank you for downloading this e-book. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy at www.Shakespir.com where they can also discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Dedication

 

This book is dedicated to

my wonderful family,

who continually support my faith journey.

 

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1. My Secret

Chapter 2. The Challenge

Chapter 3. Who is Jesus?

Chapter 4. Trust in the Lord

Chapter 5. Sacred Ground

Chapter 6. Valley of the Shadow of Death

 

 

 

Introduction

When my story begins, I was about ten years old, living in Wales. Our home was about three quarters from the top of a mountain in the area of Wales, known as “the valleys”. This name was derived from the fact that there are three valleys which run parallel to each other, starting at the south and proceeding northward for about fifty miles each. These valleys are named after the rivers that run through them. Ours was the Ebbw valley. The sides of the mountains are quite steep and the valleys narrow. As a little child walking up from school, it was sometimes necessary to walk bent over to keep my balance on the steeper sections. I tell you this only to relate the time and place in which I found myself when I had my first real encounter with God.

. My Secret

I was walking through a field on my way home. I do not remember where I had been at the time, but only that I was alone and frightened. I was frightened mainly because of the weather. It was raining heavily. Enough rain that I could hardly see where I was going. Since, as I have said, walking was normally hard, this storm made it even harder to continue.

I had just passed the small building where on a Sunday, I would attend Sunday School. I loved going there because I was an avid reader and loved stories. I was enthralled with the bible stories that we were given. Because of this, I knew the stories of Jesus and the miracles that he had performed. While suffering this “storm” of my own, I remembered that in one story Jesus had calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee when the disciples were afraid. I immediately said to Jesus, “You stopped the storm on the sea, please stop this storm for me.” Immediately the rain stopped! I stood there in shock! Gratified, but overwhelmed because of the suddenness that it had happened and the fact that it had happened! I said to myself,” He is real”! He heard me. He knows who I am. He did this for me!” I decided in my heart that I would pray to Jesus all the time because he answered prayer. On that spot, I promised Him that I would pray every day.

I was afraid to tell my family what had happened, because I thought that they would not believe me. I was even embarrassed to tell anyone. I was an adult before I told. But quietly in bed I prayed each night. In my heart, I felt loved and protected by Him. Even though it took a very long time for me to realize that a true relationship of salvation required more than this, knowing God and loving God was a major part of my existence. I tried hard to please God. I knew the basics of right from wrong and tried to live by it.

. The Challenge

I believe that everyone has an encounter with God in their lives. The apostle Paul said that God has made himself known to us in his creation so that none are without excuse A mere realization that the wonderful world in which we live is a gift from the creator, is an acknowledgement of the existence of God and therefore an encounter with Him. Any of these moments can be just as dramatic as the moment I had on the mountain. What a person chooses to do with that moment decides the place God has in one’s life. Some encounter God and refuse to believe that they owe him anything. They deny the experience as coming from God. They deny His existence. These people are few. Some have this encounter with God and then just ignore him even though they know in their hearts that they should be acknowledging Him and trying to please Him, but they choose to please themselves instead. But these, throughout their lives, feel empty and unfulfilled. They have a hole in their heart that is never filled. Some have this encounter and acknowledge God. They learn about Him and Jesus, acknowledge Him, go to church, but also feel that they need to be good, and in so doing, somehow repay God. They don’t know that Jesus is their Redeemer. They feel the need to win God’s favour by doing what is right, trying harder and harder to please Him and never doing enough in their own eyes. These people sometimes spend their whole lives trying to pay their way to heaven. They trust that if they are good enough, then God will let them in. These too try to fill the hole in their heart, but never quite manage to fill it. No one can be good enough. I believe that these people compose a large number of those who call themselves Christian, in North America and Europe. This is especially true for many who are sitting in church. I was one of them.

Although I knew Jesus and prayed regularly, did what I thought God wanted, taught Sunday School, belonged to different groups in my church, prayed often and gave of myself as much as I was able, trying to please Him by being “good”, I found out that this was not enough. Several people in my family knew Jesus differently. They knew Him as their Saviour, their Redeemer. As I just said, I loved Jesus, and tried to please Him. Was this not enough? What more than this did God need? These people, mainly my sister and daughter in law, were talking about Jesus in a way that I was not. They called Him Lord and God. They said that I need to be “saved”. That I needed to acknowledge his sacrifice and ask him to forgive my sins. They said that there was no other way to heaven. I said to them that I had loved Jesus all my life. But my sister who had had a dramatic conversion knew that I needed to do more than that and so persevered in her efforts. To myself I thought; she doesn’t understand that I pray and love God, that I try very hard to please Him, and I go to church regularly. Why should I need to do anything else?

. Who is Jesus?

At this time, I was also going through a very difficult time in my life because my husband was ill and I was praying constantly for help. My daughter in law gave me several books that she thought would help me through this trouble. As I read these I realised that the authors were talking about Jesus in the same way that my sister was. They said that He was the Redeemer and Saviour. For me this was a new way of looking at Jesus. What is a Redeemer anyway? I read the bible to find out. I read that through Moses, God set out the law for the Hebrews. Redemption was a provision whereas; a person could pay the price of freedom or debts for another. A person in a tribe was designated “the redeemer”. Quite often the oldest male in the tribe would be the one, and at a set time would pay for the debts of everyone in the tribe so that they could begin life again, free. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if we had that today! Also within the law of God, prices were set out for the payment of the sins of the people, in the form of sacrifices. The people would kill an animal as an offering to God as a payment for their own wrongs. These sacrifices were mainly pure unblemished lambs. So how did this make Jesus a Redeemer and Saviour? Acting in accordance with the law of God, for God does not change, a sacrifice must be needed for our sin, yours and mine. The sacrifice God demanded was the death of Jesus, His own Son, the Lamb of God. This sacrifice was to pay the redemption cost for all the sin in the world, not just mine or yours, and not just past sins, future sins also. Not only for the people of His time but for us! This is the final sacrifice, paid in full. He is our Redeemer.

I had no trouble thinking of myself as a sinner. I had done a lot of things that I was sorry for. Isn’t that why I was working so hard to desperately please God? By being good and doing all this work, I had been trying to pay my own sacrifice and earn my way to heaven. That Jesus was my Redeemer I now knew in my head but it seemed too good to be true. I believed that it happened but I couldn’t believe that I would be forgiven by just asking or that I needed to do the asking. I had a hard time believing that Jesus was able to do this “saving.” Had I missed this all this time? I think that pride in my own form of personal religion got in the way of my realizing that I had been wrong, and that the right way was clear. I stubbornly refused to believe it. I went through a crisis of faith. What if this was not the truth? Would I be pleasing God if I accepted this? I already knew God and loved Him, did I not? I began to doubt that Jesus was who the bible said He was. If I accepted this “saving” then I had to accept everything else about Jesus. Was he really God come to earth to save us? Had he really been resurrected and so lives now in heaven on the right hand of God? Is He the one who would judge me when I died? If I acknowledged all of this then Jesus would deserve all of my praise and worship. He would be God. He would be deserving of my devotion and trust. If Jesus became my God, would I lose the love of the God whom I had leaned on ever since a little girl?

You may smile at these questions, but for me they were very real. I didn’t tell my family that I was struggling with this. I guess I was too proud to let them know that I didn’t understand it. For four years, I struggled with these questions. No one but God knew the anguish that I was feeling. I read through the whole bible and the New Testament several times, noting everything it said about Jesus but was still unconvinced. I desperately tried to understand that God the Father and Jesus were one, as the Bible said, and that therefore Jesus was God. How could Jesus be equal to God the Father? I knew he was His Son, but could I trust the bible when it said that he was the Lord, the judge and ruler of the earth?

. Trust in the Lord

I had not thought so deeply about all of this before. I should tell you that I was a school teacher and so was not accustomed to just accepting things without studying them and being sure they were correct. I was trying so hard to understand so that I could believe, but still did not. And then one weekend I attended a church conference for ladies. The speaker’s text was based on Proverbs 3: 5, 6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

I do not remember all that the speaker said. During the whole time, I was digesting the words, “Trust in the Lord” and “lean not on your own understanding” and acknowledge Him.” What did those words mean? Did they mean that a person should not try to understand why God does something, but to accept and acknowledge and trust that out of His goodness, it had been done? Of course, the answer was yes!! This was so obvious to me in that moment. It was as if a light went on in my mind. After four years of struggle, the answer was this obvious. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand it; it was that I didn’t WANT to believe it or trust that it was true. I had not seen it before, but God in his mercy revealed it to me then. All I needed now was to acknowledge that Jesus died to save me and that he was and is God. I was still very scared to do this, I was afraid to lose the God of my own making. The God who demanded that I do good and be perfect all my life, to earn my way to Heaven. But I knew that I had to make a choice. I had studied enough. Did I want to be saved or not? Did I trust the God of the Bible, or not? The God who loved me so much that he became my Redeemer. This was the God I wanted to finally trust. There was no other way but to believe in faith. The decision was mine to make. I knew how to be saved and I needed to accept it. Then too at last I understood what I had been trying to understand, that it didn’t have to make sense, that it was a gift of love. God loved me so much that he did all of this for me. These are the words of Jesus himself. John 3: 16 and 17. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world, through him.”

. Sacred Ground

Later, at home, God gave me the gift of reassurance. He must have known how afraid I was to make this decision. That evening while still waffling, I was watching TV. One of my favourite shows was Star Trek. The episode that I watched was called “Sacred Ground.” In this episode, the crew lands on a planet where there is a temple run by a group of priests very much like druids. One of the crew members observed these priests going in and out of the temple gate. She followed them in only to receive a strong electrical shock as she entered. She was badly injured and in a coma. After trying to revive her, the captain decided to go down and ask the priests why this had happened, in the hope of them revealing how she could be revived. She examined the temple gate and used every scientific instrument available to her but could not detect anything that could have caused the shock. She became very concerned about the crewmate and begged the priests to tell her what had happened. They were difficult to deal with and ridiculed her attempt at having a scientific answer for a spiritual happening. They said that she would never understand. They said that she should even stop trying to understand. She realised that they were hinting that she should go through the gate herself to discover the secret. Back at the ship she thought it through and realised that she needed to put her own life at risk, to even sacrifice herself in order to find the healing for her crewmate. She decided that she would carry the crewmate through the gate and trust what the priests had said. With a great deal of trepidation, she carried her through. As soon as she entered the gate the crewmate awoke and was well. They returned to the ship and left. Later that evening the captain thought about what had happened. She realised that all of her scientific effort to understand had been useless. Only trusting and being willing to sacrifice herself, worked.

This was exactly where I was in my struggle! This was exactly what I needed to do! This was my story! The essence of this fictional story was the same as my own struggle, namely, scientific proof or trust and faith. The captain chose to trust. What reassurance! How very kind of God to use even a fictional TV show to give me that last push that I needed. God is Almighty and can direct us through any means. He is infinitely involved in our lives; in bringing people to Him. He is loving, and determined to give everyone a chance to be saved.

Within a moment of the show ending, and in the quietness of my bathroom, where I would not be disturbed, I cried tears of remorse for having doubted Jesus and for having put Him on trial in my mind, for trying to understand Him, of being too proud to trust Him. I asked Him to save me. I asked for his forgiveness for the person that I was, and told Him that he would be forever my God. I immediately felt peace and tremendous relief, because the God that I had always loved had not left me. The God that I had always loved WAS Jesus, and now my Saviour! I was so relieved to be free of the constant striving and doubt. I knew in my heart and soul that this was real and all I wanted was to praise Him. I knew that at last I was saved.

My life then became so different. I was so aware of the Holy Spirit, who comes to us when we commit to Jesus. His love and assurance gave me confidence. Because I had trusted Jesus to save me, the hole in my heart was filled with his love and acceptance. When I sang His praises at church it all seemed so right. I knew that now I was really in a right relationship with God. I knew that he no longer required me to pay my way to Heaven. Jesus had paid it. I still tried to be good. I tried to follow the example of Jesus, how he lived and loved everyone. He said that we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts and our neighbours as ourselves. When he loved me so much how could I not love Him? I still did and still do my part at church. I try to help others every chance that I get. I pray regularly and feel so close and protected. I regularly ask for forgiveness and know that I get it.

. Valley of the Shadow of Death

About ten years ago I went through a very difficult time in my life. Several members of my family died within two years, including my husband. He was ill for a year and I leaned on Jesus so much to get me through this time. I prayed regularly and read my Bible. I made a prayer journal and thanked God each day for his love and kindness in supporting me during this very hard time. God was amazing. I was able to do what I needed to do to help my husband. I must admit that each day is a challenge to be the kind of person he wants me to be but I no longer worry and strive to be good enough. Here is a poem that I wrote during this time…

Now a widow, I have only Jesus to lean on. He is faithful and carries me through. Jesus also requires that we go into the world and tell others how to be saved by accepting Him. If we love our neighbours and have experienced our own salvation, how can we not tell them how they too can be saved? You are my neighbour. I’m here to tell you. You have heard my story, is yours like it? Are you still unconvinced that you are saved but don’t quite feel ready or know how to do it? Are you willing to trust Jesus, or are you still trying to be good enough but never quite making it? Please remember the verse that convinced me. Please don’t try to lean on your own understanding or your good deeds or your fairly sinless life, please acknowledge Him and the sacrifice that He made. He will make your path straight. That path leads straight to heaven if you will only trust Him and ask Him to forgive you. It’s something that you decide to do, but you must trust and believe. Jesus Himself, in John 14:6 said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me”. He accepts everyone who asks. Just ask Him. You can do that right now.

Lord Jesus I accept you as my Saviour and my God. You are my Redeemer. Thank you for paying the price for my sins. Please forgive all my sins and send your Holy Spirit to guide me each day.”

Welcome to the family of God!

~~~~~

About the Author

Christine is a retired school teacher. She lives north of Toronto in a beautiful district of lakes and forests. She loves painting and sewing. She has two adult sons and three grandchildren who are scattered all over Canada. She is very active in her church and has many friends who love and support her, as her beloved family do.

She has written two books for children which are also available on www.Shakespir.com as e-books. She also illustrated these books, an activity she loved. Her books are entitled The Robin and The Monarch. These books are also available in hardcopy from www.creatspace.com

Christine has also written a book about her struggles during her husband’s death from cancer. It is entitled Valley of the Shadow. This book is written under the pen name May Mason. You may also find this at www.createspace.com and www.Shakespir.com


The Encounter

This book tells of an unusual circumstance and of the changes it made in a young girl's life. These changes took a long time to have an effect. She was well into her adult life before they were seriously accepted and acknowledged.

  • Author: Christine Bojahra
  • Published: 2017-06-09 20:20:12
  • Words: 3818
The Encounter The Encounter