Chapter 9: The Gift
After my release from jail I began my drug aftercare with a local drug and alcohol treatment center. I also began to serve my 200 hours of community service with the local Salvation Army.
It was close to Christmas so I volunteered to ring the bell at a local store. I only lasted one evening. I couldn't face the public in my hometown where I had operated my gym. The guilt was still there.
As it got closer to Christmas time I helped pass out food and clothing to those in need. It was a very humbling experience. Then the employees I had been working with invited me to their Christmas play. I decided to go.
I was warmly welcomed and chose to sit in the second row at the front of the room. The play had a cast of about 20 young kids and teenagers. Prayer was given and the play began.
I found myself staring up at the wall at a painting of Jesus. I was barely aware of the action going on in the play. I couldn't take my eyes off of the painting. I started thinking about Jesus, about his death on the cross for my sins. Tears began to trickle down my face. It was sinking in deeper and deeper - Christ died for me on that cross, for all the sins I'd committed - and he would have died for me alone!
I began to weep, then deep from the pit of my belly I let out a sobbing roar. There was absolutely no holding back; I didn't want to hold back. It was such a release and it felt great. The sorrow I felt had turned into an incredible refreshing feeling.
The play came to a stop because of what was happening to me. The pastor rushed to my side and asked if I would like to pray with him. I couldn't speak, but I nodded yes.
The feelings I was experiencing had begun almost instantly, the second I laid my eyes on that picture of Jesus. It was like a gentle rush of wind moving through my whole body. Ahhh! The feeling of renewal, of being swept clean! I just can't put into words the awesomeness of the whole experience. I wanted it to last forever.
As I walked up the aisle to leave that day I was greeted with smiles. "Wow, incredible!" I thought. I was suddenly aware of what had just taken place. God had just fulfilled one of His promises:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but what so ever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
- John 16:13
I had just received the Holy Spirit! Chapter 10: The Truth