I grew up in the church but never paid attention or had any interest in going to church. I heard the name Jesus in Sunday school, but I had no idea that He was God incarnate or anything about Him paying for sin on the cross. I thought people went to church because they were good people. So, I made the decision that when I left home, I would no longer need to go to church. I could show my goodness in other ways. When I got to college, I remember thinking, “I should get involved in helping the environment. That can be what I do to be a good person” or something to that effect. That was in 1989.
At the end of my first semester, something emotionally devastating happened to me, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. When I returned to school in January 1990, I was still struggling to cope, and one day at my worst, I wrote a letter to God and told Him that I couldn’t live this life on my own anymore and that He could have my life if He would help me live it. That next Sunday, I began attending church on campus and continued every week after that.
Shortly after I graduated from college in 1993, I began to pursue my goal of being an economics professor. One day when I returned from class, I turned on my t.v. and heard Charles Stanley for the first time. He was talking about “Giving Thanks in All Things,” and I was captivated by his message. Around the same time, I felt a desire to buy a Bible, and as I began reading it, I heard God speaking to me personally through it.
I had the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant in graduate school and discovered I hated teaching, so when I graduated, I had to find a new career. For some reason, I was drawn to apply for only one job in the “Lehigh Listings”, a Management Consultant position (which was a computer programmer). Years earlier, I had said I would take any job, but I would NEVER work in the computer field. But that was the job I felt strongly to apply for.
Somehow, my resume was submitted to the New York City office instead of the Philadelphia office. I used to visit my friend from kindergarten, Shelly, who worked as a nanny in NYC, and every time I left, I felt grimy and said, “I could NEVER live in NYC.” so I tried everything to get my position switched to the Philadelphia office but by February 1998 I was moving to NYC to be a computer programmer.
My first project was at the United Nations. Two coworkers of mine used to talk about their churches in the office. Melissa was zany and fun. Alice was impatient with us new people and a little mean. One day when they were talking, I approached them and asked about their churches. I had been feeling that I should find a church in NY and was hoping Melissa would invite me, but instead, Alice did. That Sunday, I dreaded seeing Alice but went anyway. She had invited me to Redeemer Presbyterian church, and for the next six weeks, I cried hearing the Bible unpacked and explained by Pastor Tim Keller. That was Spring of 1998. I continued attending and was richly blessed by Tim Keller’s Bible exposition and teaching. I wanted everyone to hear him!
In December 1998, at the end of one of Pastor Tim’s messages, I began to realize that I wasn’t actually a good person. I began to see the sinfulness in my heart. Moments later, I heard and understood who Jesus was – the perfect Son of God who was slain to pay for sin – and then received Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I could physically feel my mind opening and expanding at that moment, what is described as a “veil lifting” (2 Corinthians 3:16) in my mind. From that point, I began to notice myself changed in one way after another, through no effort at all. I was just different. And that was the start of my new life in Christ! Later I learned that Melissa’s church was not a Biblically sound church. So, God had used the two “Nevers” in my life, and a least-likely person, to bring me to the point of my salvation.