When I look back on my life, I realized that God was trying to get my attention long before I reached out to Him in a prayer of desperation. Long before I met my wife and she invited me to church, there were numerous ways that Jesus presented Himself to me through others – although at the time I missed Him.
My best friend from elementary school through high school was a Christian. Most years, his church had a friendship Sunday where the members were encouraged to invite a friend to church. I attended many of these Sundays, but at the time found church boring and did not engage much. Jesus’ message was there, but I wasn’t receiving.
Later in high school, another friend in my social group went to a church youth retreat for a weekend. He came back changed. Convicted of his faith in Christ, he removed himself from all the partying we had been doing. God was trying to get my attention then, but instead, I wrongly responded with teasing and disappointment that my friend had “wussed out”.
In my college years, I developed a closer relationship with my grandmother. Going to school in Santa Barbara, I was close enough to drive to have Sunday evening dinners with her. We spent long evenings discussing life, and she revealed to me the impact a new church family and her faith in Christ had in her life. When she faced and eventually lost her battle with cancer, her church family was there to support and help her to the last. At her eulogy, the pastor even shared that she had prayed often that I would find a good Christian woman to marry.
A few years later, my roommate, a fellow guitar player, got a gig playing with a Christian band. Being a full-throttle heavy metal guy at the time, I teased him endlessly about the wimpy music I felt he was playing. He accepted the taunts with grace, happy to have a gig and knowing that I was mostly just jealous that he was in a band and I was not.
As I look back, I see that for most of my life, God was pursuing me. Each of these contacts was a point where Jesus and his truth were there for me to find. I could have asked questions, paid attention, or been curious, but instead, I ignored the signs that God wanted placed before me. In fact, I often responded with contempt.
But now, I look back with regret. Jesus wanted me to find him. At any point, I could have opened my eyes to what was around me and found the truth. I could have seen that Christians weren’t just around me by coincidence. I could have realized Christ being around me was His invitation for me to discover the love He has for me. But I missed the signs.
Thankfully, God in His infinite grace left the door open, and to my shame I took my life much lower before I looked up to Him. I share this to encourage you. If Jesus is putting out the signs pointing to Him in your life, don’t miss them. Don’t ignore them. Ask questions. Look deeper. Be open-minded. He is there for you.