Last Week I wrote my testimony of meeting Jesus on a fateful day in November of 1995 (HERE). I have also written of the need that Christians have to better witness in a personal way to the faith, and to the relationship they have with the Lord.
The other day I read a beautiful conversion story, a witness story of a woman I have long admired, Kirsten Powers. She is a Fox News Commentator. And while I do not always agree with her political perspectives, she is a solid journalist, she gives fair consideration to all issues, and is, to my mind, a very classy lady.
She wrote recently in Christianity Today of how she met Jesus. I would like to share some excerpts of the story with you here so that, once again, you and all of us who are Catholics can see modeled how to tell our own particular story o faith, and what witness looks and sounds like.
Her full article is here: Kirsten Powers and how She Met Jesus What follows here are just a few excerpts with some comments by me in red text:
Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.
And thus we learn to stay in the conversation with people. There was a time in my life that I too was hostile to the Church and hostile to Jesus. No one, no matter how settled they think they are in opposition to God or the Church is a lost cause. Speak the truth, with charity and clarity. You just never know when or how, but some, indeed, more than some, eventually find the Lord. Thank you Jesus!
I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy….
Yes, some of us are in reaction to a poor experience with faith growing up. Perhaps it was perfunctory observance, perhaps we even experienced painful realities in the Church. But often such struggles send us afar. But in the end, the Lord does not cease to call, and He can even work the miracle of helping us to overcome tepid, bad or painful experiences.
Ms. Powers goes on to talk of how she began to date an Evangelical Christian who invited her to his Church and asked her to keep an open mind. She began attending Upper East Side Redeemer Presbyterian Church, an Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The Pastor Tim Keller impressed her with his thoughtful preaching. She says,
Tim Keller’s sermon was intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy. I decided to come back to hear him again. Soon, hearing Keller speak on Sunday became the highlight of my week. Each week, Keller made the case for Christianity. He also made the case against atheism and agnosticism. He expertly exposed the intellectual weaknesses of a purely secular worldview. I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn’t the real thing, neither was atheism.
So faith comes by hearing. The preaching task is critical. Pray that the Lord will send laborers, effective preachers and teachers to clarify doubts and sow the seeds of truth. Scripture says, 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?…As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”…So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.(Rom 10:14-15, 17). Yes, pray for good and effective preaching and teaching!
I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn’t feel any connection to God.
But someone must have praying for Kirsten. For soon enough, she met Jesus:
Then one night in 2006, on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, “Here I am.” It felt so real. I didn’t know what to make of it.
Hallelujah! Someone was praying. Thank you Jesus.
I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy….I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand.
It is interesting. Not everyone has an experience with the Lord and comes away serene. In fact most Theophanies in the Bible leave the recipient disconcerted, sometimes flat on their face to the ground! Yes, even Mother Mary was “troubled” at the visit of Gabriel (Lk 1:29), and even John the Evangelist who had been so close to the Lord in his earthly ministry, fell on his face to the ground when he saw Jesus in glory (Rev 1:17). There is authenticity in Ms. Power’s description of distress. It makes sense given her background of skepticism, but also makes sense given the Glory of the Lord.
She sought explanation by attending a Bible study, but in the end, the Lord connected the dots for her:
Everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.
But surely the World, the Flesh and Devil would not take this sitting down! She writes:
The horror of the prospect of being a devout Christian crept back in almost immediately. I spent the next few months doing my best to wrestle away from God. It was pointless. Everywhere I turned, there he was. Slowly there was less fear and more joy. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.
Yes, The Lord has won. And I pray that Kirsten Powers will grow strong in faith and deep in conviction that Jesus is Lord and the lover of her soul.
“But Father, but Father….!” I hear some of you saying, “She did not become Catholic! How can we praise this!?” Well, all I know is that we are all on a journey. And the Lord has surely led some of the best Catholics through the Evangelical denominations ultimately to the Catholic Church.
And I will add that their time there (in the Evangelical denominations) was not a detour or wasted. In fact some of the greatest converts to the Catholic Church bring many gifts from their time as Evangelicals: Love for Jesus, the understanding of a personal and intimate walk with the Lord, a love for Scripture, and a zeal for souls.
At a personal level I would love for Ms. Powers to one day find herself in full union with the Catholic Church. For now I am joyful she found Jesus and I trust Jesus to lead her. Rejoice with me, rejoice with her, Jesus is joy, he is Lord and Shepherd. He shepherds us rightly.
But Father, But Father, as a democrat, what does she think of abortion? As far as I know, she is against it. Consider what she has written HERE and HERE or HERE And and if you wish she were clearer here or there about this or that, stay in the conversation. Amor omnia vincet.
I rejoice that Kirsten Powers has met Jesus. I rejoice I have met him. How about you? What is your story? See her testimony as model and write your own. Your children and grandchildren, your friends and others are desperate to hear it!
Testimony is essential. There is no true evangelization without it.