This week, we were blessed to hear this God-story from Doreen Poehling:
Growing up, I was told about Jesus every Sunday. I heard over and over that Jesus died for me. I even professed my belief in Him every week in a creed. I loved saying that I believed in God. I went through all the motions but had no idea who God was. I was afraid someone would find out that I was secretly annoyed at the thought of God. I was told to love God, to follow His commandments, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I knew what was expected but had no idea how to get there.
By His grace alone, I ended up at this bible study at Lincoln Berean in November of 2007. Sadly, I did not come here seeking answers about my struggles with God. I only came for a break from my kids. I did not expect to find God. I thought it would be like every other church-like experience in my life: tolerable, but not really enjoyable. Honestly, the last thing I expected was an answer to anything.
However, when I got here I found myself intrigued by genuine Christians who cared deeply about the Lord and each other. It was obvious that none of this was superficial.
I always felt like I belonged here, though I never understood why. I never tried to emulate this faith within myself; I was dead to it. The world didn’t value it, so I didn’t either. Somehow the enemy blunts all emotion toward true faith. That is how I was that first year at this bible study. I was just numb to God. I loved being around this authenticity. I craved it when I wasn’t in this building. But it just wasn’t me.
I had never been told to read the Bible until I came here. Likewise, I had no knowledge of what being saved or born again was. That was never discussed in my church or by anyone around me.
It was in this very room that I started my journey to God. And it was through an encounter with His Word during my second year here. One day, Ephesians 3:19 was read aloud to me:
“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
It affected me deeply and made me curious as to what else was actually in the Bible. That’s when I found a checklist outlining how to read the Bible in one year.
Within days of this experience, something else occurred. I was standing at my kitchen counter one afternoon trying to figure out how to meditate in order to find peace. Though I had not consulted Him on the subject, God came into this pitiful endeavor and said, “There is No peace without God.” I was filled with an unwavering conviction that has never ever left me. If I wanted peace, then I needed God. The secular world’s attempts at peace are useless.
On February 25, 2009, I started reading my Bible. I read faithfully and never missed a day. I was hungry for God but couldn’t understand why. Where would that hunger have come from? I was so drawn to Jesus and His teachings. I remember when I finished the book of Acts, I was flipping around almost in a panic, because I had no idea what happened to Paul!
I eventually learned Paul was happy to die for Christ. And for the first glorious time ever, I felt myself understanding why. As I read, I began to sense a presence that I knew was God. I wasn’t doing anything to create it. I didn’t know at the time why I could sense Him; I just knew it was Him stirring within me.
As I read the book of Job, I learned that I am not here to seek my own happiness; I am here to glorify God. I felt such peace as I meditated on this. I was experiencing freedom from the world’s operating system.
Years later, I would find a definition of joy based on 1Peter 1:8:
”It is the sense of well-being experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord.”
When I was saved, God made my relationship right with Him. Now, I am a believer. God no longer annoys me. He has made me free.