Christian Conversion: What’s it like?


Christian Conversion: A view from the inside

I thought I’d just whack down some thoughts about my own conversion to faith. It’s not expert poetry, it’s constructed with the simplest of metres and most elementary rhyme, but it suffices to carry the message.

Part I:

A mere man, in truth,

Quite normal to most.

Special to some,

But with little to boast.

The world, a setting in which to make a life.

Schooling, a job, a car, a wife.

Getting ahead, where others come undone,

And learning from those who have had a good run.

When suddenly, facing an impossible stare,

I’m before the throne, where none should dare.[1]

“Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin”[2]

“It is so”, I confess, embracing despair.[3]

“But that’s not why I’ve brought you here”,

Says the voice of the One, reaching heart before ear,

“Seek my Son”, he said, “I have work for you”,

“Here am I”, says the wretch, “what you say, I will do”.[4]

And seeking, I find, as he promised I would.[5]

And I find in him all in a man which is good.

I ask and receive, my knocking is heard,[5]

I’m swept up in the flood; [6] the living Word.[7]

 

Part II: 

He is clean, and I know that I am not,

But his love, not my shame, is what I’ve got.

“Do you want to be well?”[8] He then asks, and I hear it:

This is the Word that divides, even soul from the spirit.[9]

He asks me the question; a mortal blow.

I hear myself dying, “to whom else shall I go?”[10]

My weakness of faith makes a drawn out affair;[11]

I was granted my freedom but took months to get there.

But the one who spoke was faithful indeed.[12]

I am cleansed and made worthy to be in the Seed.

“It is finished”,[13] I cry, “healed, and made free!”

“But purchased with blood; you are mine”, replied he.[14]

“Yours indeed, take me home”, the sojourner sighs.[15]

“No, son. You have yet to open your eyes”

“It is so, my Lord, people walk ‘round like trees”[16]

So he touched my eyes;[17] I was brought to my knees.

One like a lion was prowling, and willed to devour.[18]

The people were helpless, without any power.

The wicked were getting away with it all,

and the people were stuck in the shame of the Fall.

 

Part III:

“What is this you are showing me, Sovereign and True?

Aren’t all of these people depending on you?”

But his silence bound me to look on and learn,

Pulling right and then left, but unable to turn.[19]

A garden, a gift, but squandered in sin,[20]

But the people were saved, and clothed in skin.[21]

Then violence began and it grew all around,[22]

With Abel’s blood telling it all from the ground.[23]

A promise, a rescue, a land filled with honey,[24]

But people were turning to sex-gods and money.[25]

A vineyard, forsooth, but the tenants uprising,[26]

Killed prophets, and even the son were despising.[27]

And now its the same, as the godless are scoffing,[28]

“Where is your God”, they all taunt,[29] “and why says he nothing?”

Their gods are their bellies, they glory in shame,[30]

And they curse all their problems with God’s holy name.

I retched and I writhed, and I sobbed in disgust,

“Help them, dear God. They are all doomed. You must!”

Then I saw something new in the good lion’s mane,[31]

He was there all along: the Lamb who was slain.[32]

Part IV:

Many, who don’t know their left from their right,[33]

Were living in darkness when dawned a great light.[34]

The light was the life of mankind and was shunned,[35]

Though for them who believed, a new life is begun.[36]

The father of lies[37] has been sewing his weeds,[38]

Wealth and worries abound, to choke the good seeds.[39]

But a gardener fears neither weed nor weather,

Loving his garden each day, and protecting forever.

He has sent me thus, to care for his own;

To tend the shoots, and to harvest what’s grown.[40]

The wicked still prosper, leaving grief and strife,

But there is hope for us yet in the Words of Life.

The Spirit of God is upon me to say:

“See thou, ye blind men, and prisoners away!

Hear all ye deaf, and walk ye, the lame.

God’s favour is mine, wilt thou have it the same?”[41]

I start to perceive, though dimly at first,[42]

Why the words that I speak seem to satisfy thirst:[43]

My God is not idle, but in me, and speaking.

A scandal for sure, wrought for those who are seeking.


[1] Hebrews 4:16 exhorts believers, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” But for those not in Christ, this is the sense of the throne room: “where none should dare”.
[2] As written by the hand of God for Belshazzar as condemnation for his sin: “Here is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Parsin: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” – Daniel 5:26-28
[3] As did Isaiah: “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” – Isaiah 6:5
[4] Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8
[5] “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10
[6] “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38
[7] “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
[8] When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” – John 5:6
[9] “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
[10]  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:67-68
[11] He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. – Matt 8:26
[12] “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23
[13] When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30
[14] “you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Cor 6:20
[15] Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and sojourners, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul – 1 Peter 2:11
[16] He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” – Mark 8:23-24
[17] Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. – Mark 8:25
[18] Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
[19] Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. – Numbers 22:26
[20] Genesis 3
[21] The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. – Genesis 3:21
[22] Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. – Genesis 6:11
[23] The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” – Genesis 4:10
[24] Genesis 12; Exodus 14; Exodus 3:8
[25] Ezekiel 23
[26] He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.” – Luke 20:9-10
[27]“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!” – Luke 20:11-16
[28] Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. – 2 Peter 3:3
[29] My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:10
[30] Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. – Philippians 3:19
[31] Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5
[32] Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. – Revelation 5:6
[33] “should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” – Jonah 4:11
[34] The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2; Matt 4:16
[35] In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind… The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. – John 1:4,9-10
[36] Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. – John 1:12-13
[37] You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44
[38] Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. – Matt 13:24-25
[39] The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. – Matt 13:22
[40] Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matt 9:37-38
[41] “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners  and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4:18-19
[42] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12
[43] “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” – Isaiah 55:1

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