When the Spark is Gone

It's not a sin to be ordinary.

Lillian Rosa Correa lives in Oslo, Norway, and is married to a minister. Together they do team ministry. Reprinted from the Adventist Review.

I was 16 years old when I decided to give my heart to Jesus. But I was exposed to the truth several years before that. It came through a cousin who had been studying with an Adventist she had met.

Being young herself, my cousin was fascinated with last-day events. In her excitement, she shared them with me.

The tender age of 12 is hardly an age at which one could intellectually decipher those frightening events and somehow connect them with a loving God.

I was, however, captivated by the explosive power of these messages I had never heard before—even though I had been raised in a Christian home.

My emotions were stirred, and I entered the exciting world of sensationalism, But before long the emotions died down, the sensationalism faded away, and I was back where I started.

Some years passed, and God called me again. This time it was through a Bible teacher who patiently and lovingly guided me on a fascinating journey through the Bible that took nearly two years.

He introduced me to a Saviour who was planning a mansion for me, and who would return, with all the residents of heaven, to take me to a place where a tremendous welcome celebration awaited me. And all I had to do was believe.

Once again t was overwhelmed with emotions. I was filled with a peace and joy that 16-year-olds rarely experience. I decided to unite with God's family. What a wonderful feeling! I now felt a part of those people who continually walk on clouds of exuberance. I remember s° well leaving the church building after my baptism. I felt as if all eyes were upon me, marvelling over the angelic glow that surrounded me.

On a roller coaster

Some years passed, and life quickly turned into a series of routines. Weekdays filled with work and weekends filled with church activities —everything from teaching the Sabbath school lesson to collecting the offering.

I faithfully attended most meetings at the church—especially the evangelistic meetings. Testimonies of fantastic miracles that occurred in people's lives always thrilled me. Some told of bright beings appearing in the middle of robberies and protecting them from gunfire. Others talked of mysterious ways in which God spoke to them and saved them from imminent danger. Still others shared the spectacular events that led up to their encounter with God.

It wasn't long before I began asking myself why God hadn't done something really miraculous in my life, something truly unexplain­able, something . . . something sensational.

What's wrong with me?

Wasn't I worth the trouble of sending a bright being to me in a moment of danger? Was I so mediocre that God didn't want to bother "wasting" a miracle on me? My questions led to doubts. And my doubts led to despair. Before long I was out of the church and back to where I started when I was 12, and wanting nothing to do with this so-called good news.

After a few years of empty days, lonely nights, and bitter emotions (not to mention the classic rebellion of one who has turned away from God). I began to ask myself why I felt worse than before. Why couldn't I be exuberant and happy outside the church?

Again and again my mind traveled back to that time in my life when 1 had "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7).

My misery and emptiness brought me to my knees and I cried out to God, "Lord, remember that wonderful peace I felt when 1 first me You? May I please have it back?"

Just the facts

My life changed once again. But this time! resolved I would not allow my feelings to dictate my emotions. I determined not travel here and there in search of the sensational, because I realized that all along something sensational had been knocking at the door of my heart.

If my story is boring to some, it's no wonder. My experience is not one that brings tears to the eyes or makes one's hair stand on end. It actually falls short of the ordinary. Yet I dare say it is an experience shared by thousands, and one I feel compelled to share.

You see God showed me that I was worth His persistence, As long as there was life in me, there was hope. He never gave up on me.

No longer will I envy others for their fantastic and miraculous testimonies. Because I know that God touched my life with the greatest miracle of all—the miracle of salvation.