In which there is a personal “fullness of time”

by Craig on August 31, 2011

Jesus arrived at exactly the right time to save all who would be saved...source

Alone, in the darkness I prayed…

If what these people say is true…
and if you really are God…
and if what it says in this Bible is true…
and if you are the God of it…
but only if you are…

then I ask you into my life…
to forgive my sins…
to be my Lord.

But only…

“if.”

An “if” salvation prayer, in a car, late in the evening, alone.

I didn’t arrive at that moment by chance.

It was, as my friend Dawn, from Dschondog’s Blog, said brilliantly in the comments the other day, a personal “fullness of time.”

Just as our Lord arrived at exactly the right time to save all who would be saved…
and just how all of history seemed to converge…
to make that one moment as completely unique as it was.
Does our personal history converge on a point…
where our time becomes “full”…
and the path opens perfectly?

Does our personal history converge on a point ... where our time becomes "full" ... and the path opens perfectly to the Cross?source

I think I’ll take a little time and ponder the convergence of my personal history on that one moment that led to the above “if” salvation prayer. There were an awful lot of ways to not arrive at that moment. What “history” converged to get me to my “fullness of time.”?

And maybe you might consider the same thing.
What brought about your “fullness of time”.
You don’t have to of course – but it might be pretty enlightening – and even a little fun.

As for me…

•    There was a father who provided financially, but didn’t love, and constantly evoked fear – which left me with a huge empty spot reserved for a perfect father.

•    There was a heart that always wanted answers to things hidden and seemingly magical: why cogs in a watch made the hands spin, why there was a moon, why bubbles existed, why some balloons had to be tied to your wrist to keep them earthbound.

source

•    There was a TV show I watched before my mother remarried. So I was 6 or younger. It was called Davey and Goliath, and was about a boy and his talking dog, and there was a mention of God in every show, and a lesson, and I never missed an episode. Davey was always making mistakes of judgment, and the talking dog, although not knowing exactly what was right, seemed always to know what was not right. Why were right things right and wrong things wrong?

•    There were the movies at Easter: The 10 Commandments which made God seem pretty magical. But more so, one called The Robe, which never once showed the face of Jesus, but showed the effect he had on the people around him, from a soldier at the foot of the cross, to slaves, to emperors. And it caused a spark, but there was no one to ignite a flame.

I’ll continue tomorrow…

I’ve kept you long enough today…

please come back.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn August 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Dear Craig,

Yes, a personal “fullness of time” is quite something to ponder. My only reservation would be those who have no set time that they remember specifically asking Jesus into their hearts. They would, then, have no specific convergence point. I am no physicist, but doesn’t convergence demand a point? Anyway, although I came to Jesus much like you did and have a set time I asked Him into my heart, I think there are others who were always with Him and simply grew in their faith as they grew in all other ways.

There may be still others who, like my second son, accepted Jesus at such a young age they can’t remember it. My second son was only 3 years old when his newly reborn older brother, then 7, hounded him to do so. When second son was in 5th grade he asked me if I thought God would be mad at him if he asked Jesus into his heart at the Good News Club we were having at church because he couldn’t remember doing it when he was 3. That night at Good News Club he walked forward to profess Jesus as his Savior. I know Jesus wasn’t mad ;^)

Yes, lots to ponder…
Some are herding horses, some are tracing paths to God and some are just wondering what is going on here.

Thankful for the gifts you share with all of us,
Dawn

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Craig August 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Hmmmmmm. so now you bring up questions by your questioning. Like, is one saved when one “says the prayer”? And, how can someone “always be with him”? Always means from birth right? You don’t have to answer the first question of my question about your questions – but I do need you to clarify the second question of my questions about your questions ツ

and about the convergence of events leading to the personal fullness of time – which by the way I remind you is YOUR term ツ I’m thinking there will always have to be on point before which one was “not saved” and after which one was “saved” – even if the person doesn’t know exactly when that moment was. So that brings up another question – you’re quite the question bringer upper today my friend. How does one know that one IS saved?

And lastly, are you one of those who’s wondering, “what’s going on here”? ツ

God bless you Dawn!

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Cora August 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I love this idea of a personal “fullness of time.” Circumstances and events in my life lead me to that point — My mother had died, so death was now a reality to me, and I had overheard whispers by some adults who wondered if my mom had been a Christian and was in Heaven, or if she had gone to Hell. That was a scarey thing for an 8 year old. When abuse came into my life, so did darkness, guilt and shame — all of which I took as “bad”, sinful, and something God could not look upon. (So much mixed up theology for a youngster to figure out!). We had Pioneer Girls meetings in our church at that time, and it was there that guilt burned in me. Every time the leader would talk during the devotional time, I would feel my face getting red hot with guilt, and I would say that prayer over and over, week after week. I never had that assurance of a new life — when abuse continues, so does the wrong thinking of guilt and shame and dirty and dark. So, my “fullness of time” happened many, many times during those years. It wasn’t until many years later that I really wrapped my arms around Him and I knew that I was His and He was mine in a real, living way.

I, too, wonder about what Dawn brought up. Those who have no set time and date of that convergence. I’m one who would have to give you about 52 dates. At which of those did I
“really mean it!” Did He accept the very first cry of my heart. . . or the last??? Doesn’t matter to ME, as I know I’m His. But it seems to matter to others that there is not a set date written down somewhere in my Bible. It is true that some of us “brought up, brainwashed, born in the pew Christians” have trouble finding that pinpoint on the map of our lives. Again, I wish I had that “WOW!” moment where I heard for the first time and ran down an aisle.

This is so great, Craig. I love reading about the journeys that others have taken and how God uses such original and wonderful methods to draw us all to the same place called Calvary. Thank you for opening this up for us to share!

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Craig August 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm

first, me saying I’m sorry for the abuse is a very, very small thing. And the way the guilt burned into you at the Pioneer girls meetings – that hurts my heart. I do know that I went up to at least 20 different “altar calls” – after the prayer in the parking lot – because I didn’t “feel” saved. I do have a very clear idea now of when someone is actually “saved” and how one can know that they are indeed “saved” – but that’s a series that’s going to have to wait – I have this series, and I still have to finish daisies = works, and sooner or later I’d like to get back to the Book of James – besides, writing about such topics can be very, very controversial. So we’ll see ツ

in short though, just for you Cora, my opinion is that the “one” that really counted was the one where you couldn’t maintain yourself in sin without that tug on your shoulder. Remember the parable of the girl in the arrows that I wrote a while back? I think you can’t keep shooting arrows into the woods, and have no conviction, and conviction is different from guilt by the way, you can’t do that with no conviction and be Christian. See how controversial something like this could be?

And about “born in the pew Christians” – I think the same applies to them – although I have no personal experience there.

And by the way, I have never had that “wow” moment either.Whew!!!!! really deep comments today! My head is kind of spinny!! ツ

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Cora August 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Thank you for such thoughtful comments, Craig. I do understand the controversy about the true salvation experience and I agree with you. When rules rule your life, it’s difficult to separate true guilt from false guilt and then separate guilt from conviction. I do remember the time when that all changed, and the fear of Hell was gone and the desire to know God better and become more like Him became the focus of my life. And you are right, there was more of a conviction and sadness over sin rather than a “going to burn in Hell” guilt. and even though it seemed to be an uphill, three steps forward, two steps back, kind of journey, there was always progress beyond that one point. I think my real moment of “knowing that I know I know” came when someone did actually question my salvation. I don’t think I was just being defensive, but something in my heart just burst with that kind of confidence that only comes from someone who knows who their Father is and that they have been washed and forgiven. I carried a lot of extra baggage with me that has gradually been dropped by the wayside, but I never questioned my salvation after that.

Yes, deep stuff here! Good stuff!!!

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Craig September 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

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Andrea Dawn August 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Going to share some of my journey here . . . grew up in the Baptist Church, heart to the LORD at 3 yrs old (don’t remember but I was always very God-conscious). My dad was the Sunday School Superintenant and ruled our home by the book. Though there was little grace or affection, we truly did have miraculous interventions from a very gracious God. One time when there was no food in the house and 7 mouths to feed, there was a loud knock at the door. When Dad opened the door there was no one there but there was a big box of food. When I was about 6 yrs old my dad moved us to Vancouver so he could go to Bible School, where he attended full time for four years while working 2 part time jobs. In the summer months between semesters we would travel all over with a tent trailer and he would preach at a different church every weekend. When at the end of the 4 years he was denied his degree because he hadn’t graduated from high school, he was devastated and walked away from the LORD. Within a couple of years he abandoned the family on Christmas Eve to take up with another woman. My mother and my siblings and I felt like a bomb had gone off in our home and nobody really knew how to help each other. We were pretty much ostracized at our church, too, and very shortly stopped going at all.

I married young . . . I was 17, he was 21 and not a believer. Two kids and 10 years later, I’d been cheated on, separated, back together and my mom was dying of pancreatic cancer. I’d made the 500 mile journey with my kids to see her one last time and I was losing it. My kids safe at their other grandma’s house, I was on the freeway trying to get to my sister’s house. But they have changed all the routes since last I was there and I kept missing exit after exit. I was hysterical with grief and panic and I took my hands off the wheel and said “God, IF you are there and You care about me at all, You are gonna have to get me off this freeway or I will just drive until I hit something.”

Well of course He was there and He cared and almost immediately I was off the freeway and at my sister’s. My mother died about 2 weeks later and as soon as I got back from the funeral I started attending the little gospel chapel out in the country where I lived. I had been given her Bible and the first time I picked it up, it fell open to Eccl. 7. I knew the LORD was speaking to me . . . “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.”

It’s been a long journey since then but my “God, if you are there” prayer was a fullness of time moment for me. I’m sorry this was so long-winded but I really felt like I needed to share this and thank you for inspiring me to remember once again all that He has brought me through and forgiven me of and restored to me.

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Craig September 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Andrea Dawn, originally I made this just a comment – so you might not have seen it. I’m fixing it and making it a reply now – so you hopefully can. I’m honored that you would share all of that – and my spirit is quickened hearing your story. So full of twists and turns – I know well the roller coaster ride of life – you’ve been on that roller coaster. I don’t have much to say about the story – a little speechless – but you are obviously much braver than I bet you give yourself credit for. That’s a lot to go through. So again, thank you my friend. And God bless and keep you!

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Dawn August 31, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Andrea Dawn,

What an incredible story! I am so grateful you shared it. Knowing what you’ve suffered makes your words all the more powerful because they are not glib statements made by someone whose lived in a closet, but spoken by an almost-crushed seeker who called out to the only one who could save her. It was your personal fullness of time and you haven’t looked back. You started to follow Him almost immediately and have followed Him ever since no matter what the circumstance.

We’re having church here, Craig! Halleluia!
Hugs to you Andrea Dawn,
Dawn

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Dawn August 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Dear Craig,

Incredibly, but oh so like God, I had someone post to my blog today who had the kind of spiritual experience of always knowing God that I spoke about. http://confessionsofanaveragehousewife.blogspot.com/2011/08/bubbles.html
I don’t think she believes she was born a Christian, but somehow there was no WOW moment. I really don’t know what God does with this, but I believe there are many believers in this situation.
And did you notice, Andrea Dawn accepted Jesus when she was 3 years old, but her “fullness of time” was much later? The knowing seems to be very important. It was to my son, and I hear both you and Cora say that, as well.

I am not wondering what is going on here (as in Deep into Scripture), but I am wondering what God does with so many different definitions or ways of looking at being “saved”. Of course He sees the heart, we don’t.

This is definitely a controversial area. DANGER! DANGER! Will Robinson! (I may not have seen A-Team, but I did see Lost in Space.)

Havin’ fun here, Craig,
Dawn

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Craig September 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

There have been so many, and such deep comments lately – that I’m spending hours each day replying – and I’m really tired – and so I’ll just say really quickly – I get everything you said – and I had such a crush on Will Robinson’s oldest sister – not Penny Robinson – but the blonde one – had a crush Catwoman too – the Julie Newmar Catwoman. And I think I was all of about eight at the time. And Dark Shadows – if you can remember Dark Shadows – I was in lurrrrrrrrve with Angelique. Wow. This didn’t make me less tired – but it did make me smile. God bless you Dawn.

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Cora September 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

These stories are incredible and have lifted my heart to the Heavens!!!! One thing, though, that I should have explained a little better: When I meanted “born in the pew” Christians, I didn’t mean that I felt I was born into Christianity or was automatically a saved Christian just because I had Christian parents. What I DID mean, though, was that I was in church from the cradle roll on through my youth. I had spinal menengitis when I was three months old. An older, loving pastor from another church came and sat with my father day after day in the hospital and prayed with him and with me every day for hours and hours. It was my father’s “fullness of time” — a time when he made a real commitment to raise his family the best he could in a Christian way. Lots of stuff happening in different people’s lives at the same time — all bringing me to where I am.

Andrea Dawn, thank you for sharing your story. How wonderful!!!! Just amazing how God works through all these things that seem “wrong” and “tragic”. And look at the wonderful trophies of God’s grace here. Yes, it is like having church!!!!

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Craig September 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I’m really exhausted as I write this Cora – so I’ll make it quick – it really makes me happy that this is becoming a place filled with “church” members like you, and Andrea Dawn, and so many others. I heart that! God bless you Cora!

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