(Photo: Dan Delzell)
Last night I had an incredible visit with a good friend from our church as we sat at McDonald's for nearly three hours. Scott and his family all love the Lord and serve Him in wonderful ways. Scott shared with me how he came to know the Lord about 20 years ago after having been a real skeptic for years and even somewhat critical of Christianity.
When Scott was 24 years old, he was getting adjusted to marriage and to the fact that his wife was the daughter of a pastor in the Nazarene church. Scott was already a scientist by that time with degrees in biology and journalism. He was working for a small town newspaper and doing everything from writing articles to developing film for the newspaper photos.
Scott was actually at a point in his life and career where he was experiencing the desire for he and his wife to do three things: (1) Get a new job; (2) Move to a different city; and (3) Leave the church they were attending where Lori's dad was the pastor. Scott had started to read the Bible, but he certainly was not yet convinced that God's Word is the absolute truth.
One night Scott was working late in the dark room while developing some film for the next day's edition. Scott surprised himself when in the darkness of that room he reached out to God and said, "God....if Jesus is your Son and He really is the way....and if He really is everything the Bible says about Him....then I will follow Him." This was especially startling since Scott had only been to church a few times with his wife and he certainly was not sold yet on the whole "Jesus thing."
While Scott did not yet have saving faith in Jesus, he did decide to make this bargain with God and to "test the theory" of Christianity in this way. Little did Scott know that he would almost immediately have a revelation from the Lord in that dark room. Scott describes it as being an experience of great light....not visible to the eye....but light in terms of God giving him a definite response to Scott's proposal.
Scott says God made it clear to him that he was not to get a new job....or move to a different city....or leave that church. Scott was blown away, and he immediately called his wife who was already asleep. He told her that God had spoken to him and that they would not be leaving the community or his job or the church. Scott's "bargain" with God was put to the test right away....and sure enough, Scott stuck to what He had told the Lord.
That was the beginning of a journey for Scott which has continued to this day. Interestingly, a part of our discussion last night was a sense that Scott is now having that the Lord may be calling him to give the rest of his life to serving as a pastor for God's people.
There is so much to be learned from this supernatural experience which Scott had in the dark room. One of the biggest lessons is for anyone who is an open-minded skeptic. If that skeptic would do something similar to what Scott did....who knows how God might respond? But a person would have to be serious about it.
Think about this, especially if you are a skeptic. Wouldn't you admit that you would follow Jesus if you came to know that He truly is your Savior and the Messiah? I mean....you wouldn't turn away from Him if you knew that He is God....and that He is your only path to eternal peace and joy. You would follow Him then, right?
Try admitting this to yourself....that you don't know for sure that Jesus is a fraud....and Christianity is false....and heaven and hell are mythical places, but not real places where people spend eternity. You are not 100% sure that there is nothing to it. You are not absolutely positive that it is untrue. You may think it is false....and you may even hope it is false....but let's admit it....you don't know for sure.
So what would it hurt you to go all in? I mean, you would if you knew Jesus is the One you will stand before on Judgment Day. So why not tell God that you will follow Him if Jesus really is the path to salvation and peace. What have you got to lose? Scott did it....and look how it worked out for him.
Scott felt led to reach out to God in that dark room. There may have been something about the complete darkness which made him feel a bit vulnerable. But for whatever reason, he decided to do something "scientific." He tested the theory. The result....God immediately gave Scott something to do....something concrete....something that would allow Scott to demonstrate his sincere desire to go with God if Jesus is the real deal.
You would go with Jesus if you discovered Him to be the real deal, wouldn't you? I mean, you wouldn't reject Him if you knew that rejecting Him meant spending eternity is a "dark room," would you? If you are an unbeliever, then Christianity is still just a "theory" to you. Why not test it? Why not bargain with God....just as seriously as Scott did that night 20 years ago in the dark room. You don't want to miss out on heaven do you?
From your perspective, if the Bible is true....then Jesus truly is your Creator and your Savior. Only He can save your soul and rescue you from sin, death, and hell. That is, if the Bible is true. And you don't know for sure that it isn't true....so, the smart thing to do is to go all in.
Overcome your fear....and your prejudice....and your stereotypes. Forget all of it. Consider Jesus....the way Scott did. Consider what it would mean for you if this is all true. Consider what your mind and heart could become....once you leave that dark place of doubt and enter the light of truth, biblical revelation, and faith.
You see my friend....there really is a way out of your dark room....but only if you will be honest with yourself about all of the implications....and serious about beginning the journey of faith once God reveals Himself to you. Those who live life without "going for it" will spend eternity regretting their decision to be ruled by fear and unbelief.
There in your dark room....in the midst of spiritual darkness and uncertainty....right now....what, if anything, will you say to God?