“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” — 1 Peter 1:23
Today is my birthday. Fifty-two years ago today, at 6:30pm, I came into this world in a place called Chateauroux, France. It was not an auspicious birth, but for me, it was earth-shattering!
I celebrate this day by listening to family and friends sing to me on the phone, reading cards dripped in love and by generally getting to do whatever I want. It has already been a good day.
There is another day that is much more profound to me in my estimation. The day I am writing of is September 19, 1973. It is the day of my second birth.
I was not raised in a “church” environment. My father was in the military so we traveled a lot. Churches were merely museums of architecture and stained glass. I had neither heard of nor been confronted by the claims of Jesus Christ.
Local churches in Dothan, Alabama had organized an area-wide crusade meeting and invited a man named James Robison to come and speak. There was such excitement in the high school (I was a senior) that I decided to go and check it out.
That night, I heard for the first time, that I was a sinner. Mr. Robison spoke of how Jesus Christ came to take my place and die for my sins. He said that if I would turn from my sins and invite Jesus to take over my life, that He would come into my life and cleanse me of my sins. He also told the crowd that by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross, God would give the free gift of eternal life to all who believed.
My heart was crushed. No one had ever told me these things before! Now all the struggle, emptiness and frustration I had experienced in my life began to make sense. I was hopelessly and helplessly in trouble and needed a way out.
That night, Jesus became my way out! Without pretense or shame, I cried out to God and begged Him to give me this new life Mr. Robison was speaking of. Standing on the dirt floor of the Houston County Farm Center, I became a new person. I was born a second time—this time spiritually!
Every year, when October 23rd rolls around, I think back a month to September 19th. Without fanfare, cards or presents, I quietly slip away. With God alone as my company, I raise my hands in thankfulness and sing to myself:
Happy birthday to you,
Only one will not do.
Born again means salvation,
I’m glad I have two!