A 14 year old boy went into a grove of trees to pray to God. What transpired from his experience was life-changing.
This is not someone else's testimony.... it's actually my own. It happened 43 years ago.
When I was 14 years old, I went into a wooded area as I did many times before. The peaceful surroundings was wonderful. I would spend hours within the grove of trees talking to my Creator. However, this time was different than all the others. God visited me.... That's right, He did. Now there was no pillar of light, nor an apparition or a tangible being or beings descending from the heavens. No, my experience was far more miraculous than that!
I was basking in the beauty of God's creation, watching the birds in the trees and the little animals scurrying about, and listening to the breeze blowing across the leaves of the tall trees. I closed my eyes, took in a long deep breath and exhaled. The cry of my heart was, "Thank You God for Your beautiful creation." Then it happened. A longing started growing deep in my heart that was greater than anything I've ever experience before. I found myself wanting to know my Creator. Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't just want to know about Him; I wanted to know Him; to be with Him, and Him with me... and not just after I die, but during my life here on earth. Was it actually possible? Somehow I knew it was. When I talked with Him that morning in the grove of trees, I knew He was not distant, but was somehow very close to me.
That morning God gave me an indescribable assurance that He Himself was not only going to lead me to experience His love for me, but that I would also come to know Him in a personal way; that the very cry of my heart to know Him deeply came from Him, and He was drawing me to Himself. I knew with no reservations that God was speaking to my heart and that He would guide me.
When I left the wooded area, I knew that I should speak to my uncle. I simply asked him, "Could you tell me about God?" There was no hesitation with him taking me under his wing. We spent some nights looking up into the dark sky to gaze at the twinkling stars. He described God as being more magnificent than anything I could ever imagine. I never grew tired of listening about how wonderful God is. But there was still that longing in my heart to know him ever so deeper and personal. There was no doubt in my heart that it would happen.
One day my uncle took me to a church in Toronto. A man named John Wesley White was speaking. I thought at the start, "This man has a bit of an odd sounding voice." But I was drawn to his message. He had a love for God and spoke like God really loved him. He shared how God loves me so much and wanted me to have a relationship with Himself. He spoke of how a Holy and Righteous God could never allow any unrighteousness to be in His presence. So He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for me to pay for all my sins, so that if I receive Jesus in my heart, I could have His righteousness, and God will live in my heart.
As this gentleman spoke, God was also speaking to my heart through his message.... drawing me to Jesus. Mr. White continued teaching from the Bible about who Jesus is. At the end of his message he gave an invitation for those who wanted to accept Jesus in their hearts, that there were counsellors that were ready to pray with us. Never did such an invitation come so powerfully to my heart as this did. This was the answer to my prayer in that grove of trees. I knew God was drawing me straight into His loving arms.
I received Jesus that morning, and the peace and joy I felt in my heart was beyond anything I could describe. My heart became holy ground. When I shared with my uncle what had happened, he said, "The angels in heaven are rejoicing in the presence of God right now." I thought, "If they have as much joy as I do, they must be singing really loud." But the people at the church were not finished. One of them came up to me, handed me a Bible and suggested I start by reading the Gospel of John. I took that Bible home and it became more precious than any treasure anyone could offer. Nothing I had was more important than my Bible.
God has never left me. When I have gone astray, He has gently led me back to Jesus. He still speaks to me today through His wonderful Word. I love spending time talking with Him.... and at times to say nothing, but just to rest in His loving arms.
If God can answer a 14 year old boy's longing cry to know Him, He can do the same for you. My prayer for you reading this.... yes you.... is that you would take the time to pray to know Him.... to really know Him.... that you cry out to your Creator:
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"