More than 45 years have passed and yet the memory of what happened that day is firmly etched in my mind. I could not tell you the date but I can take you to the place and point to the spot where I heard the whisper of love. I had heard about it before. I had even asked about it once, wondering if I would recognize it. I was told, "You will know." They were right.
I heard the whisper early one Sunday morning before church began. As the tiny congregation began to gather, someone felt led to pray for the families of the children that my mother would faithfully pick up for Sunday School every week. She would do so once again on Wednesday evenings. My mother, who could easily strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere at anytime, would see children on the streets of Minneapolis, strike up a conversation with them and before you knew it she would be meeting their mother and inviting them to Sunday School. It was not unusual for her car to be filled with tightly-packed little bodies. When I say tightly-packed, I mean tightly-packed. Those who sat on laps had other children on their laps. Once there were 17 children crammed into an old four door sedan. I have sat scrunched down between the rear window and the back seat on more than one occasion. Mom always said there was room for one more and somehow, there always was.
I was seven years old that day, sitting a pew, swinging my legs back and forth when I heard God whisper and I recognized Him right away. It was The Whisper Of Love. I was only seven but no one had to tell me who it was. I knew. Oh how God's whisper pierced and burned within my heart! How I wanted to run to Him but ... I hesitated. I... how could I run to God? I was a little girl and... suddenly I felt an overwhelming sense of shame followed by grief. I couldn't come. I had heard the whisper but it wasn't for me. It must have been for others. It could not be for me. I was too... well... I didn't know how to put it into words but I felt too small, too "dirty". I was miserable. God didn't want me.
Then I "heard" The Whisper of Love once again. "Why won't you come?"
"Because I can't."
I could? I could come? Oh! I could come! But wait... no, I couldn't. I didn't know what to say or do. I couldn't just get up out of my seat and walk up the aisle and knee at the altar when there had been no "altar call" let alone no "message". People were taking their seats after praying for the families of their children. The Sunday School Superintendent would dismiss us to our classes in a minute or two. I couldn't just get up and walk up to the altar. My mother would yank me back into my seat and I would get into trouble for interrupting church.
The God who understands the fears of little girls loves them despite their fears. He loves them despite their filthy rags and longs to transform them from beggared orphans into His very own children, clothed in robes of righteousness that have been washed in the blood of The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
God whispered to my mother who was still praying and when He did, she turned to me and said, "Do you want to ask Jesus to forgive you?"
I nodded but then whispered that I couldn't because...
My mother smiled at me and said, "Oh, but you can. It doesn't matter where you are or what anyone else says. You can always come to Jesus. Would you like me to come with you?"
Yes, I would and hand in hand I walked down the aisle with my mother who introduced me to her Savior, Master and very best friend, Jesus Christ. I fell down at His feet and began to cry uncontrollably for I had encountered God's love, mercy and grace. How could I possibly be in His presence? Surely He would turn me away but He didn't. Instead as I brokenly told Him I was sorry and to please forgive me, He whispered, "I have" and wrapped me up tightly in His arms, letting me know that He would never, ever let me go.
And He never has.
Image courtesy of Nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
"He whispered, "I have" and wrapped me up tightly in His arms, letting me know that He would never, ever let me go."
God's grace is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this lovely memory that brings a tears to my eye as if it were my own - as Beth M (@blest) says, so personal and so perfect for each one of us.
"Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"
There are a lot of people who are doubtful of childhood conversions. People who came to Christ as children often add to that idea by saying they didn't know what they were doing and so forth. Perhaps they personally did not. They were merely doing what they thought they should do, copying someone else and so forth. However, anyone who says or believes that a child cannot be born again because they can't "understand it" must also believe that NO ONE can be born again because if the truth be told, because none of us can fully comprehend God's love, mercy and grace. No one. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals this to us and He is just as capable of revealing this to a child as He is an adult.
On the day I became a Christian, another incident happened that afternoon. One which I also have never forgotten. There was a family that lived at the other end of the block that none of the other children played with. They were "mean" and so none of us had anything to do with them. The family was all boys except for one girl who was my age.
That afternoon, she and a couple of her brothers confronted us on a street corner, wanting to pick a fight. To her amazement, I suddenly stepped up to her and told her I didn't want to fight anymore. I wanted to be her friend and I told her what had happened to me that morning. There was a "truce" on our block that day which remained until the family moved away a few months later. We cannot truly encounter Jesus Christ and remain the same.
I was just reading in Chronicles, and when I read the verse about Jehoiachin, I was reminded of this blog.
II Chronicles 36:9: Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem; and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
If an 8 year old king can do evil in the sight of the Lord. ...EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD...
Then why do people have a hard time believing a child can have a conversion experience?