Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is He Still Chasing You?

In my email this morning was a link to Amber Haines' most recent post. At the end of it is a video of her oldest son getting baptized. I'll admit to getting a little teary-eyed when I watched it. The angels rejoiced and I cried. 

I get that way at baptisms sometimes - either teary or just all tingly. It is harder when attending mass baptisms because everything is going so fast - people in the water then out of the water. Next! But I know that they are having their own teary/tingly experiences and it is good. 

While watching that video this morning, I remembered the photo I carry in one of my Bibles. It sits on the page that has Acts 2:38 on it.
Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (KJV)
We didn't have camcorders in every hand back in 1979, so you will have to be satisfied with a photo of my big event. It happened in the Medina River while I was at church camp that summer. David Cudd dunked me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and my life changed forever.

I'm going to call myself out here on part of this. My Mom and Dad were at camp with us that year. They were serving as cooks in that sweltering kitchen where we took turns at KP duty. Once I told my counselor that I wanted to get baptized, I was immediately sent to the kitchen to talk to Daddy. He wanted to be the one to baptize me. And I said that I really wanted David Cudd (the camp director) to baptize me. Which was true. But what I didn't say to my Daddy is "you scare me too much for me to want you involved in this." I don't think those words exactly describe the feeling, but that it the best I can explain it all these years later. I know I must have broken my Daddy's heart. Seeing that video this morning of little Isaac having his Daddy baptize him made me think of it more. Just this year, Daddy and I started saying "I love you" to each other when we walk out the door. It took us so long to get here. But we weren't anywhere close to that back in the summer of my 10th birthday. I'm sorry, Daddy.

Now that that confession is over...

I remember hearing preachers and devotional leaders read Acts 2:38 when I was young and knowing that my time would come to make that decision. There was not really any romance involved, as such. No flowery or emotional declarations. I just knew inside of me (I don't remember ever not knowing) that Jesus was always going to be part of my life, so I might as well obey the call to baptism and "get on with it". This is remarkable in that I was a very emotional child, so making a decision in such a pragmatic way was most likely surprising to the people who knew me best.

Looking back, I feel like something was missing in the way we went about it. In John 16:33, Jesus says,
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (KJV)
Some smart person even put that verse to music, an upbeat little tune that would help us remember the scripture. When reflecting on the scripture or the song, I think most of us skipped right over the part about "tribulation" and went straight to the "be of good cheer" exhortation. Yep, not paying attention to the whole scripture is always a way to get tripped up. Especially when you have a catchy tune running through your head. 

I point that out to say that I wish David Cudd had issued me a warning when I came up out of the water 32 years ago. Something along the lines of, "put on your seat belt because this ride could get wild and bumpy" would have been helpful. 

I'm not going to go into a full discourse on the teachings of the church I grew up in, but I will say that between what they were telling me and the details that my vivid imagination filled in, I thought that the life in Christ that I had taken on offered me some form of protection. For instance, if the Bible had said, "people are going to try to hurt you", my mind would fill in with, "but they won't succeed because Jesus is going to jump in there with His sword of justice and cut them down." Yeah! Take that, you big bully!

What a short trip down the road of disappointment that was. Jesus and His avenging angels were notably absent during the painful times in my life. I am not saying that Jesus was not there. I'm just saying that the Savior that I thought Jesus was did not come and rescue me. 

It has taken years of the real Jesus chasing me down  - just as I somehow knew He would - to get me to understand better how this is all supposed to work. The declaration I made at almost-ten-years-old was true. He has always been part of my life. I did not understand for the longest time what His presence and involvement was supposed to look like. It is becoming clearer now (still some work to do there). I'm glad that - with my incomplete understanding of Jesus - I did not know how "life just being life" was to play out. Being the type of emotional and fearful child that I was, I might have backed out. 

That is the amazing thing about my Savior. He made it possible for me to come to Him and accept Him into my life, even with my very limited and skewed understanding. He gave me the faith that I would not have had otherwise. And every time I have wanted to walk away from Him because I was hurt or disillusioned, He has come after me. He loves me that much. 

Awesome, isn't it? Do you know that feeling? Is He still chasing you?

I would love to know your story of making the decision to share your life with Christ. Was it pragmatic, like mine? Was it emotional? Were you young, old, in-between? Did you get sprinkled as an infant or dunked in a muddy river when you got baptized? If you feel comfortable, please tell us your story with us in the comments section. Sharing can be so encouraging!

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven and the rest of the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.
(click on photo to go check it out)


  1. I laughed at part of this post, my apologies if that was not your intent. And for some reason it brought to my mind a video that I have cried many tears to. Not because Jesus "delivers" everyone from all that life has to offer, but in the time and space I and my life was in, with Jesus, is when this video became available to me.

    In this video I see, not only myself, but the Father Who is so anxiously awaiting my turn around. And in the moment He sees my desire, He starts working His mighty work.......until, well, just watch it:

    With its 17 million views, you may have seen it already....


  2. I identify with this post so much. I love your honesty here and thank you for the comment on my blog today.
    My entry into christianity was pragmatic and logical at the age of 8 with water baptism happening in m early teens. I remember being very aware of the cute boy being dunked after me! Ha!
    I think God gets that.

  3. I was baptized as an infant, but gave my life to Christ at a parish retreat when I was in 6th grade. For me, it wasn't an emotional decision -- I remember being "pulled" up to the front of the room, where those asking for prayer congregated. And I remember, as I prayed and then the people around me prayed for me, bits of their words for me that I have carried around in my heart all these years.

  4. It brought back great memories of my baptism. Thanks for the great post! And yes I smiled today : )

  5. This is so real Carolyn - so honest and therefore so encouraging. I, like you, was very young when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. And, like you, it took me a lot of years to understand what that really meant. I am still learning because the depth of Him is just unfathomable.

  6. I was baptized when i was 13 along with my brothers and sisters in a pool when we were going to a Baptist church. I was kind of mostly because my father wanted us to do it, so we did. The spiritual connection happened later in life - youth groups, then in college. So it all worked out for good!

  7. I was just reading old comments on my blog today and read yours about the loss of your mom and plans for this Christmas. I am so sorry for your loss. It is so normal to be exhausted right now, I was. Just wanted you to know I am thinking and praying for your as we head into lots of holiday times.


    ps. you don't have e.mail enabled on your site, so sorry to just throw this comment here in the middle of your post.

  8. Beautiful story, Carolyn. Thanks for sharing.

    I don't have a picture of the event, but I have one of the day: https://picasaweb.google.com/104233766791788878262/Tray17#5656138917338381394

    It was my sister's birthday, and I was nine-and-a-half. I resolved that morning to be a kind big brother to my sister on her big day, but within 30 minutes, I had irritated her to tears. I ran to my room crying, "I can't be good on my own!" It was a Sunday, and that morning, I came forward to be baptized, much to the surprise of my parents, whom I had not consulted. My Dad and Dwain Evans, the preacher, helped me get dressed, then Mr. Evans offered the baptizing privilege to Dad, who refused. It was okay; it was between God and me anyway.

    And yes, it did make "being good" easier, knowing I had the divine Helper bearing His fruit in my life. And yes, there were also many trials and disappointments along the way - even a few years when I questioned everything I thought I knew about Him - but he has remained faithful.


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