The Hour I First Believed

I have a very strange memory. I don’t remember people’s names. Unless I already know their names – then I never forget them. I don’t remember a movie unless I’ve seen it more than three times. Or unless it’s about World War II. And I have a hard time remembering the timeline of recent years, but I remember many specific details about my childhood. Things I said. People I met. Clothing I wore. Sunday School teachers. Children’s radio program jingles. Addresses and phone numbers.

And I remember the day I knelt in shorts {with tucked-in T-shirt and side-ponytail, I’m sure} at the side of the green leather couch in our little house in Memphis and asked Jesus to save me from eternal destruction. I can picture it now . . . Mom and dad sitting close by helping me with the words . . . But it was something I wanted to do. {Which shows just how “of grace” this thing really was. A five-year-old doesn’t just come up with this stuff on her own.}

I know without a doubt that in that hour, I believed.

And while nothing major may have changed on the outside – no glow, spasm, or shout – a crazy transformation happened on the inside. How do I know that? Because my inside is currently not what it should be otherwise.

But what I don’t remember much was how I read the Bible.

I’m sure I did read it. I’m sure it was familiar to me as it had been all my five-year-old life. But I don’t remember anything radical or extensive or informed or heavy or clouded or overwhelming.

Maybe that’s because it was simple. And fresh. I had no decades of junk filling my brain and little to no sermons, debates, books, or conclusions to get in my way. I just had the Bible. The pure, straightforward immensity and beauty of Truth on a page.

And my five-year-old little heart, by consciousness not its own, dared to believe.

And that’s where it all begin.

So I go back to that hour now and then, and I dream.

How I’m jealous for that hour! When my heart was an empty, newly-washed slate. When my mind knew nothing more than to say, “Yes.” When I looked at those Pages with newborn eyes and wondered at the Light.

And every day, I pray to open the Bible, as if for the first time, and relive the precious grace of the hour I first believed.

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