Paul F Pavao
I was raised Roman Catholic. I was a very serious Roman Catholic child, but I was also painfully shy. I wanted to tell my schoolmates about God's way to live, but I was too frightened.
I pinned my hopes on the sacrament of Confirmation. Children raised in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) receive this sacrament somewhere around 12 or 13 years old. Confirmation hearkens back to the apostolic practice of laying hands on converts so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. The RCC baptizes babies, but they do not lay hands on them to receive the Spirit.
Since the laying on of hands is not done to babies, a time must be chosen for Catholic children to receive the Spirit. Somewhere along the line, jr. high age was chosen at the right time.
I was excited, and I was all the more excited when I saw the bishop for the first time. He was jovial, and he seemed delighted to be doing this holy duty. I had read that the laying on of his hands would make me a bold Christian soldier, and I was ready for that.
I was horribly disappointed when nothing happened. Not long after I gave up on Catholicism.
My mother didn't want me to give up on God, so she got me a book called The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. I was thrilled and challenged, so it appeared that it would be a Protestant path for me.
The problem was that the Protestant plan didn't work for me, either. I prayed the sinner's prayer and asked Jesus into my heart every night for a month. Nothing happened.
I read numerous tracts explaining what I needed to do, and the most frustrating was the ones that said I needed to open the door of my heart to Jesus. One tract explained that the door to my heart only had a knob on the inside, not the outside, so I had to be the one to open the door. Jesus could not.
I couldn't see a door, so I sure couldn't see a knob! I begged Jesus to come in anyway, but he didn't. Nothing changed.
So at the tender age of 13, I gave up on all of Christianity as powerless.
I spent my teenage years on a twisted road through various New Age and eastern philosophies and finally wound up an atheist.
Ironically, only then did God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, begin to chase me down. It was a long twisted road that led me away from Jesus and into atheism, but it was a short twisted road that led me back. From the time I joined the Air Force in October of 1981 until my conversion in July, less than a year later, God revealed himself from every direction until I confessed to an evangelist at an Assembly of God church that I believed that Jesus is the Son of God.
This time there was no lack in power. I was gloriously transformed. My heart was instantly filled with joy, and the whole word changed around me. My feet were not touching the ground at all. I was not only won over, I was bought mind and soul.