The question leapt from the mouth of someone very dear to me when I revealed my belief in Christ Jesus in 2012. She suspected that I had changed my mind because either something horrible had happened to me, I had suddenly remembered some traumatic childhood event, I had been brain-washed, or I had simply lost my mind.
You see, I had been an atheist since early adulthood and had suddenly declared my belief in God at 49 years of age. My conversion happened over the space of nearly two years, but my faith journey occurred over a lifetime – and continues today.
I struggled with my response initially. My family had known of my unbelief, but I did not often discuss religion and faith with others. I always figured that most people believe in God, and it was not my responsibility to make them see reason. I was of the mind to simply agree to disagree. In my intellectual arrogance, I was not offended by their belief – though I was happy to point out the contradictions in their faith, if they preached at me.
So, when I came to faith in Jesus, it was a radical change – both for me and for other non-believers in my life.
Truth is – He chose me.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” Matthew 18:12-14
Jesus chose me and pursued me as I first wandered away, and later, dramatically fled. He pursued me with a relentless love I could not deny, try as I might. It was only after I felt God’s physical presence, only after I began to seek Him, that I realized He had been pursuing me throughout my life. Jesus left the ninety-nine for me. And He will leave the ninety-nine for you, too.