Brian “Head” Welch came to our church and talked about how he met Christ. I loved his testimony, which you can read at I am Second. He “test drove the world,” and he had everything that the world could offer: fame, money, women, success, etc. But a “dark cloud” hovered over his life, and he lived in misery. He thought he was a “loser,” he was addicted to drugs and he couldn’t care for his little girl.
But Jesus changed all that.
After Brian told us his redemption story, he expressed the amazing gift that we have in God. He said that Christianity is the only religion that offers a “Piece of Paradise” here on earth. The promised gift of the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us once we receive forgiveness from Jesus Christ. Jesus took on our imperfection, so we could wear His perfection, and now we stand righteous before a perfect God. Because of grace we are sanctified, and the Holy Spirit can live in us. This beautiful mystery of faith is the ultimate truth of Christianity.
Brian couldn’t describe with words the peace and joy that flooded his life when he walked away from everything and followed after God. The world can give us its version of glory, but Brian explained that we were created to desire God. Nothing we consume will quench our yearning for God and His glory.
What moved me most about Brian’s Holy Spirit filled words was his delight and awe of God. Brian had found “paradise,” and it was better than anything he had ever known. His excitement reminded me that I dwell in this paradise daily. I rest in green meadows and walk by peaceful streams (Psalm 23). God’s presence is so much a part of my life that I think I sometimes forget what I have.
The Holy Spirit has been prompting me over and over again to remember what God has done in my life. I finally sat down and started from the time I was young, listing the amazing movement of His will in my mess. I thought about the times He protected and cared for me and when He guided and encouraged me. I looked at all the blessings in my life and saw how He has grown me and changed me into His image.
My transformation from an insecure 14 year old who was hopeless and lost to the strong Christian woman I am today is nothing short of miraculous. Changing from a person who hated reading and studying to becoming the learner and researcher I am now is shocking. God makes the fool wise and that is so obvious in my life. I am a fool who is wise only because God loves me, Christ died for me and the Holy Spirit guides me.
I don’t want to take the “paradise” I have today for granted. I remember how I felt with out Jesus, and I was miserable, purposeless and confused. Now I’m surrounded by peace, joy, love and hope that cannot be produced without God. I have paradise (a piece of God) inside of me, and that is a treasure worth selling everything for (Matthew 13.44).
“Remember the things I have done in the past.
For I alone am God!
I am God, and there is none like me.”
Isaiah 46.9 (NLT)