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Published:August 20th, 2009 13:45 EST
Born Again (part two)

Born Again (part two)

By Mark Frederic Jennings

     ... and so I was born again right after one of my night shifts at the hospital about five years ago now. I was living at the time in a one bedroom apartment by myself over in North Park, which is an area of San Diego not too far from the hospital. I was lying in bed there one morning, trying to get to sleep, which was often kind of difficult, especially after a night filled with bandages and bedpans, screaming and or bleeding and or out of bed and wandering down the hallway naked patients, I.V. pumps beeping, call lights ringing " you name it. All of which can get pretty stressful, as you might imagine, and unwinding can be difficult. So to help myself relax, hopefully enough to get to sleep, I was laying in bed listening to my little clock radio I had there, tuning across its dial, trying to find some soothing sounds ", as they say.

    As I scanned the dial I came across a station playing some of that old-fashioned religious music. You know, the stuff that sounds like a whole church load of people singing hymns. That oughtta help, I figured. That was probably about the least exciting type of music I could find, like I said, back then that is. So that would help me get to sleep I figured.

And it might have, except that then some guy came on the station and started reading from the bible. And he had quite a dynamic voice too, I remember noticing. So then I just laid there, sort of half-heartedly listening to one of those many stories in the bible about Jesus doing something or other, and still I was trying to go to sleep. But then the strangest thing started to happen...
At first I thought maybe something was wrong with the reception on the radio, because the words were starting to sound thicker somehow, fuzzy, like the reception had gotten a little off. But before I tried to tune in the station any better, I also started to notice that I was feeling a little funny inside. A sort of glowing and warm happiness was starting to spread from my chest and stomach out into my limbs. The feeling grew stronger and stronger until I could tell I was losing control. It was continuing to increase in intensity and there was no stopping it.

     Which considering it was a feeling of happiness, you may be saying to yourself, what`s wrong with that? But it was too much happiness, if you know what I mean. I could tell my heart was beating faster, and breathing was even starting to become a little difficult. Then I realized something was doing this to me. Just like in the out of body thing at the gas station before. Something was doing this to me!

     Then the happiness was starting to take on the stronger and deeper feelings that one might more easily associate with love, but like a deep and powerful love stronger than any I had ever felt before or would ever feel again. Which I know sounds crazy, but that`s all I can say. That`s really what it felt like.
But soon yeah, crazy became an even more appropriate way to describe what was happening to me. I was totally losing control. My heart felt like it was fluttering in my chest and I could tell too I was starting to sob uncontrollably. You know, like crying. And even breathing had become almost impossible. I remember gasping for breath.

    I started to notice too that my vision was being affected. I couldn`t see anything very clearly and the room was spinning or bouncing around in my vision. Why, I`m not sure, maybe because my head was thrashing back and forth on my pillow. Which I could then tell it was. And at the same time, I realized too, all I could hear was the sound of rushing water, or rushing wind, so loud it was hard to tell which it was, but it was everywhere and all around me.

    And I know what you "re thinking. Really weird. What can I say. I knew it wasn`t an anxiety attack or anything like that. I`d had a few of those before, a long time ago. And they were tame compared to this. But luckily too, and maybe the only thing that kept me from passing out, like at the gas station, I had an overriding sense that this would work out ok. There was an incredible feeling of joy mixed into it all. Just ride it out, was a message I remember holding onto in my mind. Just ride it out. You`re going to be ok, something was telling me. Something was helping me handle all this again. Just like when I`d left my body and flown around like a jet. Like you might remember.

Then things slowly started to calm down. The whole episode started to pass. I started to regain my ability to breathe properly, and stillness returned to my body. The room came back into focus around me as well and I could hear the radio once more. And still the man was reading from the bible. I just lay there and listened, too tired to move much, and then I just closed my eyes and before I knew it, I must have fallen asleep.

     Because the next thing I knew I was waking up. And again I remembered everything that had happened in great detail, and also, just like with the event at the gas station, I still remember it like that to this day. At that time though, I had no idea what had happened. Like I`ve been saying, I didn`t know the Holy Spirit from a holey t-shirt. So the whole thing just like totally boggled my mind, you know. And it was really too weird to talk to anybody about. Especially the part where I was crying, you know, big boys don`t cry, and all that. And so I pretty much just tried to carry on with my life as though nothing had happened. I filed this event too into the back of mind, right next to the out of body thing at the gas station.

     And that might have been that, as they say. I might have never figured out what either of those events had been about. But then another funny thing started to happen over the next few months. I slowly but surely started to figure all this stuff out. Which is like totally genius of God to do it this way. I mean, right along with doing all this other stuff, my OBE and now this latest thing too, at the same time He planted inside of me an uncontrollable urge to start "studying the word" as they say, to learn all about Jesus and the Bible.

     Which was when I learned that the bible predicted that this would happen. Just as it predicted the whole, born again, " thing could and would happen while I was under the hearing of the word, " as I`ve explained, it also predicts that once it has happened I would, " hunger for the word, " have an, "obedience that comes from faith" and that I would be "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Or as Jesus simply put it, "... they follow me..." no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

     They have a Christian t-shirt I saw that says brainwashed " on it. And that`s really what it felt like. But in a good way. And since they have a t-shirt that says it, I know I`m not the only one going through this stuff. Which is even another clue that it`s real! I mean, come on! How could I not believe! Not only was all this stuff happening to me like totally explained in the bible, but it`s also like happening to thousands if not millions of other people! Slam dunk, if you ask me. Case closed.

     And then my new girlfriend, now my wife, took me to her church here in La Mesa where I live now. Journey " church is what it`s called, and it specializes in helping new Christians come to the Lord and learn how to follow Him and everything. Which was like perfect for me at the time. And the pastor, a young man who`s totally down-to-earth, likes sports, and even surfs too, a guy like I might have grown up with, named Ed Noble, gives great, easy to understand and relate to sermons.

    Which I mention mostly because one fateful evening, during one of his sermons, Ed was talking about being born again. He noted that when this phenomenon began to become popularized in Christian circles as an actual experience, hence the term, Born Again Christians, " back in the bible belt around the turn of the century, or something like that, but Ed said those early Born Again Christians also referred to the experience as, being seized by the power of a great affection. "

     Well, the light bulbs didn`t just go off in my head, they practically exploded! That`s it, I realized! That`s what had happened that morning in my bedroom! I was seized all right! And a more powerful affection there probably has never been felt! I was born again! That was my born again experience, I finally figured out. 

     And slowly but surely I also started to put together a lot of the other pieces too, just like in that vision the Lord gave me! The pieces of a puzzle, remember? The baptism out of my body at the gas station " doing the Lord`s work at the hospital for years where they had all the crosses and crucifixes and nuns and stuff " being born again " and now seeing and feeling that I was indeed a new creature in Christ with my total outlook and desires completely turning around " all these things were obvious and huge clues that the Lord Jesus and His Holy Spirit were not only very real, but also very active in my life. There was just no way I could deny it.

     And still can`t.

     And then, as if all this stuff wasn`t enough, more and more stuff just kept right on happening! I mean ". well " you`ll see... you`ll see in the next installment.