So I sit now, writing this last excerpt on my thirty-second birthday, July 20th, 2013, thirteen years removed from that climactic moment when the Lord of the Universe made Himself known to me as I made myself known to Him. I’ve been married for what will be nine years this August to an amazing, talented, wonderful girl named Sarah. We love each other more each day, even through the trials that we face in life. We have an amazing firecracker of a daughter named Charlotte, who just turned one year old on July 12th. I have been officially off of drugs for twelve years, if you count a little relapse I had in the summer of 2001. I have actually never even been legally drunk, because the last time was at the age of twenty. If you want to see my spiritual story in a nutshell, check out http://benjaminbradfordwhite.wordpress.com/about/. There you’ll also find other blogs that I write specifically about topics centered on Jesus which also deal with culture, philosophy and other such things. Obviously you’ll see that it wasn’t a candy-coated journey after my initial “conversion”, because I had so much more to work out and understand.
And I could say the same now and forever. I haven’t figured God out completely, nor will I ever until eternity arrives in its fullness. But He has brought me joy that sustains itself through darkness and happiness. He has given me a hope and meaning that carries me. It makes me the husband and father I had always dreamed to me, and makes all the negative temporary “highs” that happen in this life, whether from money, kicks, substances, feelings, recognition, power or control, revealed for what they really are- worthless. The only thing that is of any value is what He has given us, and He has truly given us so much on this earth to be joyful about- like good music, married sex, coffee, and sunrises to name a few. His power at work in me has truly produced love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in me that isn’t a fabricated, plastic, Ned Flanders phony façade. They’re rather genuine virtues that have unveiled themselves through suffering and being molded by His power to move my character away from itself and towards His (John 15:1-17). And like I said, I have so much further to go- in all of these areas. But I know this one thing for sure, that I can’t wait until I am given a new body that doesn’t desire to destroy, devolve and devour, or as the Bible would describe it, sin (1 Cor. 15). I know that Jesus will one day return and establish a perfect Kingdom. I long for this beauty and perfection to be known, and desire to live a life of love and service to His people and all people until it does.
And potentially the greatest freedom of all is knowing that I no longer need to numb myself with drugs or other things to avoid reality. I have found that the Bible actually explains reality as it is, and though I know I’m viewed as being insane for believing it and embracing it, I have actually found a greater clarity, peace, and love for everyone I encounter because of it.
I love the words of Paul. He was a man who was once such a religious whacko that he went around trying to murder early followers of Jesus. He thought they were blasphemers and polluters of the ritualistic Judaism that he thought he perfectly kept. Jesus got a hold of him, and he became a man who was willing to suffer, be beaten, and driven out of town for his love for Jesus. I’m not Paul, but I relate somewhat to what he was saying, and I think in most ways he was a normal human being like all of us, not some super saint. These words prove that. I’ll end the story with them:
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17)