Growing up, I had a superficial relationship with God at best. I attended Catholic Mass with my parents regularly and was enrolled in a Catholic grade school for a year. At the time, I probably would have stated that I believed in God. However, I only rarely prayed, and never read the Bible. When I did pray, it was much more of a ritualistic endeavor than a personal dialog, citing words that held no significance to me. I had no meaningful relationship with the Lord.
Over time, I stopped going to church entirely and had very little Godly influence in my life. Although I claimed to be a “good” person, I was mostly self-focused and living life for myself, doing whatever I thought was best for me. Such was the case when I held my first “real” job after graduate school as a postdoctoral researcher and became involved in the first serious romantic relationship of my life. When we broke up, I was devastated and in desperate need for something to fill the hole in my heart that she left behind.
Mercifully, God was right there to pick up the pieces and fill that hole. One of my best friends invited me to church, and I went since I knew I needed something to try to heal my emotional wounds. The message that day, which was all about how God loves and cares for the broken hearted, couldn’t have been more perfect for me at that point in my life. It literally felt as if I was the only person in the church auditorium and that God was speaking directly to me. As tears were streaming down my face, I distinctly remember thinking that if God loves me so much to design the perfect service for me that day (the first time I had attended a church service in over ten years), He must be worth following and worshipping. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and turned my life over to Him soon after that day. It was an amazingly powerful experience. Looking back, I can see how the Lord orchestrated these events to draw me into a personal relationship with Him.
From that point forward, I was very intentional about learning as much as I could about the Lord through His Word, His church, and fellow believers. I remember reading the book of Matthew while attending a physics conference in New York City, about three months after my conversion, and was amazed at the words of Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount. I felt like I just couldn’t get enough of Jesus’ teachings. The mentoring that I received from the friend who invited me to church was also invaluable to my spiritual growth. Other church friends, and later my believing wife, have also helped me to grow in my love for the Lord.
Now, almost twenty years since accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, I consider myself a devoted follower of Jesus. I desire to be in the center of His will and become more like Him each day. He has changed the trajectory of my life and my eternity, and has brought me a sense of peace that transcends understanding.
May my story bring you hope and encouragement as you face your own challenges!
"It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." (attributed to Yogi Berra and others)
Sports (playing and watching)
Fantasy dinner guests
Marie Curie, Tony Dungy, Enrico Fermi, Billy Graham, Abraham Lincoln, Reggie White
Best advice I ever received
Almost any book written by Mark Batterson or John Ortberg
Star Wars trilogy (the original)
Study of atomic nuclei at the limits of spin and binding using gamma-ray spectroscopy.
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