When I was 16 years old, I experienced a crossroads moment in my faith. Up until that point, I had never really questioned my beliefs, which were tethered to those of my parents. That changed when I realized that God – indeed Jesus – was not real for me. I was ready to walk away from the religious tradition in which I had been raised, but before I actually did I determined to test “God” one last time.I decided to go to a different church than my parents and give God three month stop prove Himself real to me before I would forever turn my back on the idea of a God who saves. Much to my surprise, well before the three months were up, I heard an audible voice speak into my spirit saying, “There is nothing you can do to make Me love you less.” This statement floored me and cut to the center ofmy very being.
Though I had expected God to be distant, foreboding and disappointed in me,
I was certain it was Him, speaking directly to me, and inexplicably knew that
statement to be true. I had now here to run, but more importantly I had lost all
desire to run. From that day forward, an intimate and personal relationship with Him grew as the sacrificial love of Christ became more evident and indwelling for me. When I first encountered Ashley Smith’s story, what most profoundly struck me was how nothing Ashley had done could make God love her any less. The stark evidence of that fact is the grace and unmerited favor she was afforded on that night of destiny on which she was taken hostage – and miraculously survived.Though Ashley’s “come to Jesus moment” was far more dramatic than mine, Istill see my 16-year-old self reflected in her crossroads experience.