“Why don’t you join me?”
It was the winter break of my freshman year in college. During this period in my young life, I was an atheist. I did not know the spiritual state of my father during this same period but he never discussed religion with me as I was growing up. Thus, it was quite jarring to return home from college and hear my father speak of god, meditation sessions, and following the teachings of a peculiar woman who referred to herself as Divine Mother. He was inviting me to join him for his weekly meeting.
With great trepidation, I joined my father on what became a spiritual odyssey for both of us. This woman taught a pantheistic theology, that all religions were paths to the same god. Understandably, I was highly skeptical but I could not deny the changes that had so dramatically emerged in my father. As I became indoctrinated in the teachings, I found my disdain for god and religion melt away and replaced with a new age philosophy. God was the universe; I was in god and god was in me. It was the antithesis of Christianity and I embraced it.
During this period when my life was at odds with Jesus Christ, I never felt closer to my father. He and I were bonding over our shared spiritual experiences, but it was shortlived. A year later, God’s grace and mercy led me to a complete understanding of who He is and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My father continued in this cult for several more years but when this self-proclaimed prophet died, one of her disciples took over and soon declared herself the Divine Mother. A schism resulted and my father quickly grew disillusioned over the hypocrisy and petty emotions that were flagrantly displayed by the new leader and her followers. He left the cult disenchanted but still believed that a god existed, just not God as revealed by Jesus Christ.
For the rest of his life, I witnessed to my father about Jesus Christ, even in his last moments as he lay comatose in a hospital bed after suffering a massive heart attack. Only God knows if he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I pray that someday in Heaven I will be reunited with my earthly father. This last exchange with him still haunts and hurts me.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:13-15 (ESV)
My life is a testimony that God is able to use other religious pathways to bring seekers of the Truth to salvation and eternal life. I saw the changes in my father’s life and this motivated me to join him as God brought both of us to a partial understanding of who He is. God continued to nourish the seed of faith that He planted in my soul by using other believers to preach the Truth through the witness of their lives. When I was in college, God sent a classmate to witness to me who led me to call upon the Name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
For a brief period, my father and I were drawn together through a spiritual connection, closer than we had ever shared. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and have other family members who are not yet believers, you must continue to pray and witness to them of the changes that a relationship with Jesus Christ has made in your life. We do not argue anyone into heaven, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict everyone’s heart to lead them to confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Do not ever give up on God because He never gives up on you. Obey His calling to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. He can use anything and anyone to bring a seeker to Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.