Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m guessing that, every once in a while, you stop and reflect on the change God has brought about in you since you entrusted your life to His Son. The transforming work of the Spirit in us is beyond remarkable, and we can neither plan nor explain the inner wonders He performs in silence. We can only marvel at Him.
Yet I think it is equally important to consider the work God did in and around us before we came to believe in Christ Jesus. How many people did He send our way with the message of salvation and life? I think of Dave and Barb, Gary and Sue, Pat, and countless others. How did He spare us from catastrophe, or how did He sustain us through it? Personally, I recall the moment when, through a dream, God turned the sting of my father’s early death into both the assurance of his never-ending life in Christ and a hope for my own.
Reading the Biblical story of Cornelius and his family, I wonder how often they looked back on the amazing things God did in their lives before they came to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. Though “devout and God-fearing,” these Gentiles knew nothing about His sacrificial atonement or the eternal life that is found in Him, but God was working in their lives, anyway. Through a breathtaking series of visions, He called Cornelius and the apostle Peter together for one momentous occasion with two astounding outcomes—the salvation of Cornelius and his family, and the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles.
God always inclines Himself toward us before we ever incline ourselves toward Him. He pursues us, He calls us, and He prepares us. Then when our hearts finally warm and open to Him, He pours His life-giving Spirit into us and saves our souls. And as God used others to reach us in our search for Him, so He blesses us to reach out to others with the life and peace that we ourselves have found in Christ. For in His time, God changes people’s “before Christ” into their “anno Domini”—their own personal “year of the Lord.”
Take a moment today to appreciate all the work God did in your life before you came to know Him through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Lord God, I remember my “before Christ” years and how you worked through so many people and events to draw me to yourself. Use me now to bring to others the hope and assurance I have found in Christ Jesus, the Savior. Amen.
[Read the story of Cornelius and his family in Acts 10.]