Have you ever wondered how you got to where you are? Not just bad situations, but the good ones as well. If you are younger you may not have to think that hard because a lot of things are still fresh in your mind. As you grow older it becomes more difficult to recall the information about a certain event.
I wasn’t sure where to begin with this because my mind was bouncing around with so many different things that it was difficult to figure out what I wanted to say. I spent a lot of years on a roller coaster, at times I was chasing the Lord and others I was running from him. I grew up going to church every Sunday and I knew there was more, but I always seemed to hesitate before taking that next step. I always enjoyed volunteering or being involved with different things, but I would never really fully commit. I also spent more time hanging out with friends than looking for ways to help.
I was a struggling Christian most of my life and several years ago I was always looking for more interaction with God. I read the books, watched the movies, went to church, donated to a good cause, and volunteered time, but I never really felt a high level of joy, happiness, or peace. I would start, but soon found a reason to stop or put things off. What really started to reach me was Christian music.
I grew up with all the classics from the 50’s and 60’s and I still have a collection of .45’s that I listened to back then. I soon was into the rock music of the 70’s and the hard rock and metal of the 80’s. The only Christian oriented music I knew of at the time was Gospel and only one Christian rock group. Being from a small town in Pennsylvania it wasn’t cool to listen to either.
I started reading Christian fiction, but still was on the fringe of real discovery when a soundtrack came out to a Christian movie. I tried to track down other Christian music, but still didn’t have much luck. The internet was not like what it is today so I wasn’t getting anywhere and it almost became frustrating.
Someone told me about internet radio so I gave it a try. I searched Christian Rock and I couldn’t believe what I found. I listened when I could and tried to write down the groups and songs when I remembered. I searched music stores and the internet for more with only moderate success.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that I discovered a local Christian radio station. The music was so uplifting and inspirational. There were so many groups that I never heard of that I would spend hours searching for more. I soon attended my first Christian music concert. Though I had been to concerts before, I was not prepared for such an overwhelming experience. I spent weeks searching for new songs to listen to so I would know the music. The energy of the crowd, the powerful messages, and the whole experience was just overwhelming. I left there walking on air.
A few weeks later I attended another concert held in a church rec center. There were three groups that were scheduled to be there, but I didn’t know until later just how special the concert was. Three big-name artists on one stage. Then I heard the ad for an even larger concert. I could not believe that there were going to be 10 groups playing for a low cost. Like I said, I attended a lot of big concerts in the past, so not knowing what to expect I paid a little extra just so my wife and I could get in early and check it out. It is very difficult to describe the feeling of the crowd because you have 10,000 people singing and praising the Lord.
The guest speaker that night was amazing. He began talking about facing our fears, facing our problems, and no matter what is holding you prisoner, you could always turn to the Lord. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter your situation, you can reach out to Jesus and he will forgive you. I’m not sure how many people prayed for Jesus to forgive them and come into their life that night, but I was definitely one of them.
Now in the past I have written poetry, but most times it takes me weeks if not months to write a poem. That night I was so moved that I was inspired with a title of “Shackles”. The feeling that overwhelmed me can only be described as an encounter with the Holy Spirit. The words just started flowing and I finished my poem in less than two days.
I also have never been one to really share my poetry with people, but in mid 2015 I was asked if I’ve ever written anything and I did share “Shackles”. At first I was hesitant because of my own misgivings and where I work. I took the chance, but I was not expecting such a positive response. The person I shared it with, shared it with others and they even started making copies to share with their families as well.
I tried several times to contact the person who profoundly affected me at the concert, but I wasn’t successful. Well the 2016 concert soon arrived and as usual I was pumped about going. Every year is a new lineup of groups and you always get a different type of energy, but it’s always to sing praises to the Lord. I took a copy of “Shackles” with me I case I had a chance to meet him.
I saw him a few times, but he seemed to be always going in another direction. I said a prayer for God to present an opportunity to give him the Thank You if it was meant to be. A little while later it was announced that he would be at the merchandise stand during the next intermission. I nearly ran all the way there when it was time and I could see him as I approached.
It was hard for me to keep my emotions from spilling over as I gave him the poem and told him how he inspired it. I went on to explain how I recently shared the poem and it had been shared close to a hundred times. He thanked me for my words and explained that these are the things he likes to hear, because it embodies what the concert is all about. He presented me with a copy of his new devotional complete with personal message. I was in tears as we hugged before I went back to my seat.
I have no doubt that God answered my prayer and wanted this meeting to happen. When I got back to my seat I thanked God as I came to tears again when I explained to my wife what happened. The rest of the concert was amazing and I couldn’t wait to start reading the new devotional the next day as I seek the next path God wants me to take.
My first poem titled “Shackles”, that was inspired during a night of awesome Christian music, is posted under Poem tab. The Spanish version is under the SP. Poem tab.