Psalm 34:3 says, Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
We love to hear stories of God’s saving grace. It helps us magnify the Lord and exalt his name together! Several weeks ago, Taylor (pictured above) shared his story & we wanted to share it with you. (Note: while Taylor & his family’s Wild West outfits are quite impressive, sadly it is not their usual attire!)
Why are you alive? This question exploded into my mind for the first time the summer between 10th and 11th grade. Our family had recently moved from South Florida to the town of Dayton, TN where my dad took a new job. During this season of transition, I began to feel lost and isolated and my vulnerability led to some deep introspection. And one summer evening, the question came, “Why are you alive?”
Having grown up in church my whole life, you would think I had all the answers ready. However, even with knowing much of the Bible, believing parents, attending Christian school and church, praying the sinner’s prayer, and getting baptized, this question—Why am I alive? —sent me down a 2-year road of seemingly endless dead-ends. I found myself facing many other questions, like “What do I really believe? Am I just a product of my environment? What is truth? If there is truth, how can I know what is true? If I was born in India, would I be a Hindu or if I was born in the Middle East, would I be a Muslim?” Although I maintained the façade of a “good church kid,” I began to inwardly despair.
By my senior year of high school, I was tired of chasing (what I thought were) unanswerable questions. I became spiritually numb and detached. I decided to base my life on two certainties: I was alive and I was going to die. Suicide crossed my mind, not as a way of escape, but as a way to finally get the answers about purpose and meaning that continually haunted me.
Then, the summer after graduating high school, God came for me. I wasn’t listening to a sermon. I wasn’t at a conference, or revival, or rally. In fact, it is difficult to explain exactly what happened, but I believe God gave me this picture to show what He was doing.
In the picture, I was standing in front of a large, double-door trying to open it up. I knew that on the other side of this door were the answers to all my questions about life, but it was locked. I tried to open it, but I couldn’t. I slammed into it with my shoulder and kicked it until I felt completely drained of energy. I began to weep, because I assumed I would never get to the answers.
At this point, a hand reached over and presented me with a key. I was so overjoyed to have the key that I never looked up to see whose hand it was. I instantly opened the door to find an infinite hallway lined with doors. I knew that each of these doors represented my questions. The answers I was seeking could be found on the other side. My excitement returned to despair as I realized that each of these doors was also locked.
As my inability to open a single door became increasingly clear, I realized what God was trying to show me. Up until this moment, I had been trying to understand and interpret life on my own. I never acknowledged the “key-giver.” I had been trying to figure out MY purpose in MY life according to MY own understanding. I had failed to look to the God of the Bible and listen to what he wanted to say about himself, life, and meaning.
Up until this moment, I viewed Jesus as someone there to serve me. Hell seemed really painful and miserable. I didn’t want to go there, so I believed in Jesus! I consulted the God of the Bible from time to time but failed to see him as the Creator and Master of all.
But God would not let me just be casual with him any longer. God graciously broke me and began to transform my life. I began to see my sin as an affront to this gracious, loving God and found forgiveness in Jesus. I realized I could never understand the purpose of my life until I submitted completely to him. I no longer wanted to go to heaven to get away from hell; I wanted to know the living God. I was a new creation. I began to see with new eyes. I hungered to read and know more of the Scriptures for the first time. With God at the center of the story, Christianity finally started to make sense.
I can’t say all my questions have been answered. I still have quite a few left, as my wife and friends can attest! Nevertheless, I have learned why I am alive. As Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”