by: Tyler Neely
While I had grown up saying I was a Christian, I never actually knew Jesus or recognized that he was someone who I could have a relationship with until my senior year of high school. The first time that I learned who Jesus was, and heard that he was more than some archaic religious icon that my grandparents made me learn about, was when two of my best friends, Nick and Nathan, sat me down one night and shared their experience and faith with me.
Young Life had just recently started at my school and Nick and Nathan had dragged me to go with them. We started talking about Young Life and what I thought about it. That is when they realized that, while I labeled myself as a Christian, I truly had no idea who God was. Over the next six hours, they shared stories with me about who Jesus was as a person, as an individual, and as a living God that loved me unconditionally. They talked about how he was not just some
figurative idea, but an actual living God that wanted to have a personal relationship with me. This news shocked me. At that time in my life, I had been struggling, hard. The idea of a God who was actually there and loved me, supported me, and had designed me for some specific purpose was revolutionary for me. I wanted to believe them right then and
there, but I couldn’t. I am a very hands-on person, and for me to believe something that sounded magical without being able to put my hands on hard evidence was impossible. But that conversation led me on a journey to figure out the truth and search for evidence. I am so blessed that God showed himself to me on numerous occasions and provided tangible evidence through archaeological research, stories, people I met, and most of all, by teaching me to have faith. That impromptu conversation that Nick and Nathan had with me that night has changed my life forever, and I am forever grateful that the Holy Spirit called them to be vulnerable with me that night. All they did was talk and be themselves, and they saved me.