I grew up going to church every week, but for a long time that was all that being a Christian was for me—going to church for one hour a week. But God started putting some events in my life that made me realize that being a follower of Jesus is not a once-a-week thing, it’s an all-day-every-day thing.
At the time, I felt like my life was perfect: I was at the top of my class academically, I had a very successful football season, and lots of colleges were offering me full scholarships. I felt like I was invincible. But one summer night, God reminded me in a big way that I wasn’t.
First, God planted a verse [from the Bible] in my mind when I was listening to a Christian radio station in the car with my father. A pastor was preaching on Galatians 6:7 which says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” I remember hearing it and thinking that it made sense that our actions had consequences and that we would get what we deserved, but I never thought about what the verse meant in regards to my life.
I was like many teenage drivers in that I drove way too fast. I finally saw the consequences of that behavior one night when driving on a windy Pittsburgh road. I was going too fast around a sharp turn; I hit the guardrail, swerved back and forth for awhile, then went down a hill and ended up in someone’s backyard. No one in the car was hurt, but the car was totaled. As I stood around waiting for the tow truck and police to arrive, I had a lot of time to think about what happened. The verse from Galatians immediately came to mind. I thought I could mock God by doing what I wanted, but on that night I finally reaped what I sowed. In reality I received not justice from God, but mercy, as He protected all of us in the car from injury, and he stopped us from ending up in the lake that was only fifty yards ahead of where we stopped.
That’s one of the great things about God that I learned from the experience: God either treats us exactly how we deserve, which is called justice; or He treats us better than we deserve, which is called mercy; or He treats us so much better than we deserve that it almost defies logic, which is called grace. And grace is what God offers us for eternity. Due to our sins, we deserve death for eternity. But if we believe that Jesus died for our sins and receive the forgiveness that comes only from Him, we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.
Ever since I accepted His grace and committed my life to serving Christ, I have seen God at work in my life in so many ways. The four primary ways that God brings me closer to Him are through reading the Bible and applying its principles to my life; through prayer; through friendships with other Christians at Penn State; and through attending a great church and some Bible studies.
Christ is now a part of my life every day, and my relationship with Him has given me a purpose, it has given me strength, and it has given me peace.