I pointed to one of the windows, upstairs on the right.
“See that room?”
Heidi said that she did.
“That’s the room where the LORD made me His own.”
We were driving across North Texas and I took a bit of a detour to show Heidi the house. In that room, upstairs on the right, is where I came to know the LORD back in November of 1990. I can’t remember the exact day, but I do know it was probably about 2 or 3 in the morning. It’s what I did when I got off work from the newspaper. I would go home, eat a quick meal, go upstairs to my bedroom and read the Bible. I couldn’t get enough of the Bible, to the point that it was causing me problems at the newspaper, and even my family.
My brothers would say, “Timmy found Jesus.” Or “Timmy got religion.”
Christ found me.
Up unto that point in my life, I wanted nothing to do with Jesus, or His people. But here I was, reading the Bible, doing word studies as if I were some great scholar, learning whether or not the dang Baptists were right about the many things they said. They were.
And I believed every bit of it. If the Bible said green frogs were actually made of cotton candy, I would have believed it. Not that the Bible makes such ridiculous claims. The gospel itself is ridiculous enough for some people. In fact, the Bible even says some would call it foolishness. I couldn’t believe that people felt that way about it because after Christ laid a hold of me, I knew I was a Christian because of the gospel. Christ did indeed die for me. Not for me in the general sense, like HE dies for everyone in some vague way, but for me, Timothy, specifically.
That was monumental. Why me?
I certainly didn’t deserve such grace, such kindness, such love. The Baptist, and their declarations to me over the years that I was a sinner, were spot on. I never agued with them on that issue. I was a sinner. That wasn’t something anyone had to convince me of. I just didn’t believe there was anything to be done about it, pass the debauchery please.
But then there was that one Baptist-leaning cousin of mine. He had the audacity to show me the love of Christ in a real way. Worse than that, he and his wife were actually praying for me. The LORD was quite gracious to them, and answered those prayers. And He was even more gracious to me.
I discovered this rich grace toward me the more I read. I got a glimpse of the richness of God’s grace one night when I began reading the book of Ephesians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…
The words hit me with the love of Christ in a deep way. Paul, the apostle who wrote the book, showed that those who are “in Christ” are so because they have been predestined before the foundations of the world to be His. This was more than just “Jesus loved me.” This was that He, and the Father, loved me before the Triune God uttered those words in the beginning, “Let there be light.”
I wasn’t a new believer because I happened to stumble upon Christianity through the leading here and there of a few concerned citizens. I was a Christian because God planned it to be so, long before anyone existed at all. Christianity was no accident. Salvation was not a lottery ticket. Redemption, for those who received it, was part of His plan all along. It didn’t matter that I lived most of my life thinking Christians were idiots. His hand, His plan, was for me to come to know His Son and be redeemed. It was so because He had predestined me to be so.
I was overwhelmed by God’s rich love toward me, and still am.
Allow me to ask the silly question at this point: “didn’t He know who I was?” Of course, the obvious answer is that He did. This is why His selection of me to become one of His children is such a display of His grace and mercy. I certainly don’t deserve His love, grace, and mercy.
On top of all that, His selection of me before the foundations of the world are also where my assurance rests. I don’t look to myself to find assurance because I know my sinful heart. I see the “O wretched man that I am.” Which always drives me back to Christ and the promises we have in Him. And I look back to Ephesians 1. His selection of me is the greatest assurance because it is rooted in His wisdom and providence. He will do what He sets out to do. And redeeming me, is something that began with His decision in eternity past, was applied in the room, upstairs to the right, and is continuing to be worked out in me. It’s His decision, the Son’s accomplished work, and the Spirit’s application to me.
It was in that room, upstairs on the right, that I realized these great truths applied to me. Which is why I wanted to stop and point out the room to Heidi Ann one Sunday afternoon. Some people can pinpoint the date and time they came to know the LORD. I can’t. But I can tell you were I was. In a room, upstairs on the right.