DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET
Mary E. Adams)
ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall
search for Me with all
I know that I must now spend time to
tell you how this all began. No---not with some angelic encounter,
but a simple decision to prove the above statement God spoke through the
prophet Jeremiah. All the questions, the frustrations and wonderings
were put to an end when I set aside one particular morning to take up this
challenge. I wanted to know God.
It began while I was seated at the organ in
a nominal, Baptist church. I looked up and saw a young man come
through the back door, dressed in military fatigues and a parka, but with
a guitar slung over his back. At that time, we were living in
Alaska...North Pole, Alaska! My husband, Bob, was also in the
military and we had left Washington state for this assignment about two
years earlier. Both of us had stayed away from church for many
years, but concern for our children had convinced us to give them at least
There was nothing about this young man that
was attractive---indeed, the guitar was disturbing, as we did not allow
those instruments to be played in our worship services. And I heard
him once or twice say, "Praise God!" when the pastor
said something that he apparently agreed with. Many heads turned
when he did.
After the service, I noticed he had
attracted a crowd of young people at the back of the church and was
playing his guitar. I wandered up to them and listened---he was
singing about Jesus. I took note that the teenagers were enjoying
it. After he finished, I asked him who he was. He introduced
himself as "Jim", then began to explain what he was doing.
"I was once in a beer hall down in
California. It was hot in the place, so I stepped out the back door
to get a breath of fresh air. A couple of my buddies were with me,
and as we opened the door, there was a young girl sitting on the steps,
playing a guitar just like me. She was singing about Jesus. My
buddies began to mock her, and even poured beer on her head. She did
not react at all, but continued her singing. After they could not
get her angry, they left and I was alone with her.
Finally, she looked up at me and said,
am about to leave and go to a place where other young people are gathering
to worship the Lord. Would you like to come?"
shocked. "But I am a Catholic" I responded.
"It doesn't matter...we just meet Jesus there." And
so I went. There I was born again and received the baptism
of the Holy Spirit" Jim concluded.
I was not unfamiliar with that term...this
was back in the Jesus Movement days, and it was causing a lot of
controversy. In fact, just the week before at our regular Wednesday
night prayer meeting, the pastor had asked us to pray for a deacon in
another church who had 'spoken in tongues' ...something we were not to do
But Jim kept coming to our church--I could
not understand why he did not seek out another place that believed as he
did, but I am certain now that perhaps all of this happened just for me.
There was a strangeness about Jim...he never
ceased to talk about Jesus. One Sunday evening as we arrived at the
church, Jim was sitting on the steps waiting for the church to open.
It was about 20 degrees below zero! "Jim! you are
going to freeze sitting out here like this!" I said to him.
But that statement was completely ignored when he replied, "Oh
sister Adams! today I have had such a wonderful time. I have gone
from house to house in our little town here. I just knock on doors
asking them if I might come inside and sing about Jesus to the little
children, and people have let me in all day long." THIS WAS
HOW JIM SPENT HIS SUNDAY AFTERNOONS! There never seemed to be
an occasion where Jim would talk about any other subject---apparently he
was one of those "religious fanatics" I had always been warned
But there was something about this young man
that bothered me. Why was he so happy?
Weeks went by, and the more I tried to
figure him out, the more confused and guilty I became--for here was
somebody that seemed obsessed with Jesus. But what could be wrong
with that? Weren't we supposed to be that way? There just
seemed to be a great conflict between my "religion" and his life
in Christ--and indeed there was. The same old nagging questions I
had carried with me since childhood.
One day we offered Jim a ride back to his
army base. I thought to myself, this would be a good opportunity to
find out about this "baptism" he spoke about. And so I
asked him. But Jim startled me with his reply, "I will not
tell you, but I will give you some scriptures in the Bible that explain
it," and he wrote them down on a piece of paper and gave them to
me, smiling as he did. The next day I opened my Bible and searched
for them. I had never read them before to my knowledge, and two in
particular caught my attention:
"But ye shall receive
power, after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you: and ye
shall be witnesses unto me both
in Jerusalem, and in all
Judea, and in Samaria,
and unto the uttermost part
of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
"And these signs shall
follow them that believe; In my name shall
they cast out devils; they
shall speak with new tongues; they shall
take up serpents; and if
they drink any deadly thing, it shall
not hurt them; they shall
lay hands on the sick, and
they shall recover."
Power? Power to witness? I had no
power to witness to anyone...I avoided that deliberately, as I did not
like religious controversy---I would not even put a tract in anyone's
hand! But this Jim--it was something that seemed so natural for him. I
was supposedly a "believer," but I did not cast out devils, nor
speak with new tongues. And what was this "serpent thing" and
drinking deadly things without being hurt? and I had never laid my hands
on any sick person before.
Suddenly I had come face to face with
scriptures I had never read before--and I was now to either forget it and
go on down the road with "religion" or dare to change my life
forever...The curtain was mine to close or mine to open wider and wider.
My first idea was to go to
my pastor, which I did. After showing him the scriptures Jim had
given me, I asked him about them. He turned almost pale, and then
replied, "Er-r-r, Mrs. Adams, I will come to your house tomorrow
and we will discuss them. Ok?" I nodded, and late the next
evening he arrived, sat down and with a serious look on his face said to
me, "Mrs. Adams, I know you are a mature enough woman to take what
I must tell you---those scriptures do not belong in the Bible." I
was so shocked, I was speechless. "You see, the most
ancient texts do not include them in the Bible," he explained.
My mind was whirling. But if this was
so...why hadn't we been told this before? And how many more scriptures "didn't
belong?" Didn't they teach us that the Bible was the complete
Word of God? Why have they kept us believing that---yet hiding this
Questions and more questions haunted me all
that night---I was in spiritual turmoil....and very disappointed.
What was I to do now?
All that night I slept fitfully. I
would awaken and wonder at all these events. Why was this question
always coming up in my life?
Trying not to wake my husband, I lay there
contemplating things. Truly, I did not have power to witness...truly
it had never entered my mind that I should cast out a devil---I wouldn't
even know how. But yet, I was supposedly a believer. But a
believer in what? And then, there was the problem of Jim...he
possessed a joy I had never seen in anyone, and certainly did not know in
my own heart...a joy that caused him to want to share Jesus more than
anything else in life it seemed. And now--the devastating news that
the Bible I had been taught to believe in contained statements that were
in error. I wept.
The next morning I made a decision. I
would settle this once and for all--as soon as my children were off to
school and my husband to work, I would take my Bible and go upstairs to my
bedroom. There I would prove to myself if there was a baptism in the
Holy Spirit--for if there were, I would come out of my bedroom full of the
same kind of power that Jim possessed. If not, then there was no
such thing and I would drop the matter for good.
And so, when things were set, I went
upstairs with my Bible in hand and sat down on the floor and leaned my
back against the wall.
Now what was I to do? How did I go
about this? Momentarily, I waited. Nothing happened. Oh
well...maybe I should just read the Bible. So I opened it---and my
eyes fell upon Psalm 6:6:
"I am weary with
my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my
Suddenly I heard these words
in my spirit, "You have never wet your bed with tears for anything
you ever did."
I was shocked---and afraid. What was
this? Was this God talking to me? And if so, what was He saying to
As I thought on those words, a sense of
guilt began to rise....I had really never repented to God for
anything...in fact, I really had never prayed before. I didn't know
how to approach God, to talk to Him. Oh, how frightened I became.
Slowly, I went to my bedside and suddenly, a
flood of tears burst forth as I began to unload the heavy weight of sins I
had carried for so long. I had not really been saved---just signed a
card to become a church member---an unrepentant churchgoer.
But in that hour or so, I was emptied completely until there was not
another teardrop I could shed. Then I felt something wet on the
bedspread...it was my tears! I too had wet my couch with my tears!!
Suddenly what felt like a mantle fell
upon me---a mantle of such awesome love and power enveloped me as if I
were completely surrounded and caught up in a cloud of glory. I felt
accepted, forgiven...I felt so new and alive! I had never known such
a glorious feeling of power. I was literally trembling and it
lasted for quite some time---until the doorbell rang downstairs.
I ignored it for awhile, but it persisted.
WHAT A TIME FOR THE DOORBELL TO RING!!
I went downstairs and opened the door.
There stood two strange men. The taller one said to me, "We
are here to fix your furnace in the basement...your husband put in a work
order." Those poor men!...how could they have known that
that morning they would knock on the door of a house where a woman has
just had an encounter with the Holy Spirit? I must have scared them
completely. But as I opened my mouth to reply, nothing came
out the way I would have ever said it. I listened to myself
talking...but it was not me. These were not MY words! I could not
speak except to declare the wonderful works of God...just as had happened
on the day of Pentecost to 120 persons in the Upper Room.
They followed me as I led them down the
basement stairs, and all the time I am talking about Jesus...
When we arrived at the bottom of the stairs,
the taller man said, "You remind me of a preacher that is
always trying to get me to church, but I always run when I see him
I can remember my reply, word for
word--though they were not MY words: "Sir,
no one has ever loved you anymore than that preacher who has a burden for
your soul." Suddenly, both men were in tears...and
before leaving they said to me, "can we come back for you to tell
After they left, I was exhausted and
limp...still shaking with the power that had come over me. And when
I came to myself, then it dawned upon me----He had proved it...the very
thing I had required to settle it for all time in my heart: I now had
power to witness...just like Jim. Because now I had Jesus and His
Spirit within me! No more questions...no more fighting doubts and
fears. The matter was settled.
And still is to this very day.
FROM THE EDITOR: If you are questioning in
your heart what this Christian life is all about and would
like to know more about being
reconciled to God, please
to learn how you can do that. Thank you and God bless