I mentioned in a recent post that I got baptized just a few days ago (okay, about 17 days ago)… it was a phenomenal experience! Before I write on and on about it, I want to share with you the video testimony that I made two weeks before the actual baptism. If you remember from my post about fear, this video played on the jumbo-tron for all to see, while I got situated in the baptismal pool. Remember how fearful and nervous I was about making this video? Of seeming stupid or tripping over my words or not effectively communicating God’s righteous works in my life? Well, you can judge for yourself, but I think my fears were unfounded. One of my good friends is the baptism coordinator/brilliant producer/editor of this clip… she did a great job! It turned out to be fantastic, if I do say so myself! (When you click the link, click twice on the arrow to the right of the three big pictures and it'll scroll to mine. Click on my picture and the video pops up!)
There you have it… my big day! It’s wonderful to have a copy of it to keep forever and show whomever I want to show it to in the future. Nice touch!
Since it all happened, I’ve been reflecting a bit on the experience and what it meant to me, to God and to others. I have a couple of thoughts…
First is that, honestly, I didn’t emerge from the pool feeling at all different from when I entered the pool… I mean, minus being a little cold and soaking wet. I didn’t wake up the next day to fireworks or lightening flashes… I’m not even sure that I feel any closer to God today than I did three weeks ago. At first this concerned me… I thought to myself “Um, okay… did that baptism not count or something? Why do I feel the same? I got full-body dunked!” Then it occurred to me… I think I should feel the same. Because, really, nothing necessarily changed in my heart or spiritual life the day I got baptized. My salvation was assured long before I was submerged… my relationship with Christ began some time ago… my heart was changed in the decision-making to do it, not necessarily in the doing of it. While baptism is a great and powerful statement of faith in Christ, it’s public nature making it an effective tool of Christian witness… it’s still nothing more than an act of obedience. And baptism doesn’t save. Obedience doesn’t save. Faith saves… Jesus saves. Getting dunked into a tub full of water doesn’t change that equation.
My second thought is that I hope and pray that God used and continues to use my testimony to reach some of His children. Truth time: I’ve always felt that my testimony is a little lame. Let’s face it… lots of people’s testimonies could be turned into big-screen blockbusters: the drugs! The sex! The saving power of Christ! Not mine. Nope. Boooooooring. There are times when I’ve thought that I’d be able to do more for Christ if I just had a moderately more exciting story to tell. It is what it is… and my hope is that maybe there was someone in the crowd who was lost like I was lost. The sneaky kind of lost that let’s the world tell you that you are, in fact, headed in just the right direction and doing a great job at it. My hope is that God can use my “boring” testimony to convince someone out there that we all need saved from ourselves… that we all have different breeds of self-destruction, whether it looks good or bad from the outside.
Lastly, if my aforementioned hope turns out unfulfilled (not that I’ll ever know one way or the other), I’m still 10000% confident that God called me to baptism, that I made the right choice to do it, and that God used it in my life for a purpose. I have been joking with friends that the whole process was such a great experience I would do it again and again if I could! Seriously, though. When I was standing in that pool, God granted me the precious gift of being able to see myself as His new creation. I cannot adequately express how overwhelmingly meaningful it was to me, to be able to see myself on film – a new, healthy, whole, happy, strong, faithful version of myself, and yet think back upon the old, sick, broken, empty, unhappy me that came out of that period of trial I mention in the video. Old me is a memory not quickly forgotten; the sheer terror at living each day physically, mentally, and spiritually unrecognizable to my own self is something that lingers in the back of my mind. And yet, what unspeakable joy to reflect upon how far God has brought me! My smile as I was watching the video, I swear, was the size of Texas. My heart was overflowing as I watched myself and it hit me like a ton of bricks: God is good. He delivered me. He healed me. He redeemed my past. He will continue…
Certainly these truths are not new to me. I’ve rested on them time and time again in the last couple of years. However, I was never more sure of them than when I was waist-deep in the water. I am confident that that’s exactly how God means it to be.