It’s crazy that whenever we as humans are low, we call out the name of the Lord...
As in any relationship, let me start by giving you my name... but, first off I want to let you know that I am truly honored that you would take your time to try to get to know me! I never want to take your time for granted... so my prayer is that by getting to know me, you will get to know something greater than anything that I can offer...
My name is Jonah Fair.
Throughout my life, I was the type of guy who always smiled and laughed, and even to this day I hurt at conflict and will do anything I can to create peace... yet all of my life I had none. All of my life from the moments when I would wake to the moments when I would sleep, I lived life simply with the little peace of the thought that I was okay... Goodness... it's so easy to deceive ourselves to settle for less then the best when things are okay. It's so easy when everything is okay to be blind to the fact that something is not... Something is missing...
... Something is not right here.
But, let me start at the beginning...
At age five I prayed a simple prayer asking Jesus into my heart and truly believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and died for our sins... Including mine. As a five year old I believed in Jesus just as much as I believed in Santa Clause.
How was it that as time went on, I didn't feel any difference in my life? Why did I feel no different with such a BIG decision?
"What is going on!?" I would think...
... "Don't worry, everything is okay" I would respond.
Recently I read a quote from Martin Luther where he stated, “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in… is really your God.” I would find out June 2011, that I previously made a god out of all that was tangible around me... words aren't enough to reflect a thanks appropriate enough to our Creator and Savior for saving someone like me from a slow but real death...
... gladly surrendering my life to Him is the only proper response.
If I may, allow me to fast forward to 2011. This year was unlike any year of my life... For a series of events unfolded to help me seek an answer to the void in my life. All along I had a thirst for a Savior that I never knew...
...yet for all my life I was oblivious to that fact that thinking you know someone is VERY different than actually knowing someone. Sometimes it takes a collision for us to see that we truly don't have everything under control like we once thought. I believed there was a "god", a "creator" of us all in my head... but I lived my life as if there was not even close to one that truly existed.
The year was 2011
My life hit a wall. Out of nowhere to me, I became face to face with brokenness: I found out that my parents were getting separated and seeking divorce. I understood that for so many this is a norm; however, nothing can prepare you for the moment it isn't a statistic... But you and your family becomes another number.
Although I have been BLESSED with amazing and loving parents, I felt as if my heart was being ripped out. At the time I did not understand why this was happening to me, but now, I see that this event would give me the strength and the humbled heart needed to recognize my emptiness and give my life to Who makes us whole. Even though there was many, many, more things going on behind the scenes that hurt me to my very core, The next event, like the first, took me off guard...
It was a day after prom and everything was fine. I was happily in a year-long relationship with a beautiful girl...
But one morning I awoke and I couldn't shake a feeling that I needed to break up with her no matter how hard I tried to talk myself out of it....
There was a peace even though no part in me desired to do this, I was so puzzled! "Why would I ever do that?!" I wrestled and questioned myself...
... I remember that I had never felt so sure about something, even though it made NO sense to me then.
And as I know now...? That faint whisper was the same Spirit of God from Genesis 1:2 moving things into their proper position for use by the Creator Himself.
Somehow I gathered up enough strength to break up with her even though no part of me wanted to. This voice inside caught me off guard. Not only did it at that time bring confusion and heartbreak to someone that I cared about deeply, but it broke my heart and haunted me for a while just how we can truly never be sure of anything in this world. This event, mixed with the other, created the perfect storm for the next and final tipping point to come.
Only now do I see why You spoke to me that day...
You wanted me completely surrendered ....to You... ...And only You
Alone... Lonely... Confused... Angry... Sad... Depressed...Broken.
I felt as if I had lost all the things that were holding me up in a matter of three months...
But through this hard time...? Lord, You were working on me, You were secretly repairing me, You were preparing me... Preparing me for what...? You were preparing me for a new life...
For the first time in 17 years... During the month of May... I opened my bible... Not because I was told to,
But because I WANTED to...
What is funny now...? You were holding me...
...And I didn't even notice...
On that dark night in June, I was a wreck. I just found out that the person who I was dating months prior, started having a relationship with a coach at my high school. I felt that everything I once thought could never happen, happened. I was truly at a loss for words and realized for the first time in my life... I did not have control over my life.
I remember the tears that I cried very well. I felt as if everything was falling and breaking around me. I simply forgot what love was and I was done trying to find it... I was completely broken. I will never forget the events that occurred next, I remember around midnight yelling with all my lungs and heart repeating over and over: “Jesus! Take this away from me! Jesus! Take this away from me! Jesus! Take this away from me! Jesus, please! I am nothing without you. Come into my life!” Every bit of me wanted death; however, I did not want to cease living... every bit of me cried out for a Savior.
It’s crazy that whenever we as humans are low, we call out the name of the Lord.
I’ve found that even those who don’t believe You Lord still call out Your name. Why is this? ... I believe that the reason?
there is power to the name, Jesus...
I will never forget that on that night in June, I felt so overwhelmed by my brokenness, and I got out of the bed immediately falling to my knees speaking not to myself, but to the Lord alone. I spoke to Him with every shattered piece of my heart and even though I knew what I was saying... I heard nothing of what my sobbing voice was saying since my wailing was so loud. I was broken over my sins. I was broken over others sins. At that moment I realized that I have wasted so much time over the years looking for loving arms to hold me and the same arms that I once felt were holding me... my family, my friends, my relationships... I now felt were betraying and breaking me in every way.
I searched everywhere around me for healing arms, arms that would never leave... never fail... but nothing truly healed the hurt and damage inside my soul. NOTHING that I had given my heart to so freely could heal me, not my friends, not my loved ones, and not my family. But on that night, I found the cure to my broken heart mind and soul... I found that Jesus was alive and real right where I was at; I found the Lord as I kneeled and sobbed broken and alone... with arms up and tears down... on the cold floor by my bed. I truly realized for the first time in my life... Jesus did not stay dead like I felt at that moment on my knees... but that HE IS ALIVE and He has met me right where I was... broken in my room.
As I was on my knees I remember shaking and breathing uncontrollably. All my life I heard of testimony similar to this and for all of my life I would honestly laugh. I’m such a fool, because in that moment I was doing exactly what I would laugh at! I would compare my prayer on the floor to the prayer of the prophet Jonah that he made from inside the great fish (Jonah 2:2-9).
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banishedfrom your sight; yet I will look againtoward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But YOU, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. When my life was ebbing away? I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land."
I became born again.
I was born again because: I admitted I was a sinner (Romans 5:8, Romans 3:10), I asked the Lord to wash away my sins (Jonah 2:9), I believed that Jesus died for my sins on a cold cross only to rise three days later (Luke 23:33-34, Acts 16:31), and I asked Jesus to not only come into my life, but to completely control my life. Instead of a checklist... I called out with EVERYTHING as personally as I ever have spoken with someone before (Romans 12:1-3).
On that night I KNOW that I did not just rededicate my life to the Lord, but I was truly born again as Jesus talked about in Luke 3. I always knew of the Lord... But never knew Him. I asked the Lord to come into my life not because someone was telling me to (like when I was younger), but because I finally understood the strength and love of God.
I've heard Christian's say stuff about being "born-again"... but literally, I felt new! Like I was literally a new born child with a new mouth, eyes, mind, ears, and heart. I had a love for Jesus and I had a hunger to get to know who He was in the Bible and know who He says that I am and what I mean to Him! I started having a desire (that felt like a thirst and hunger) for His word, my ears started to seek ways to worship Him and share the good news of the abundant life that he gives, my eyes became open to the hurt and brokenness in this world but also the BEAUTY of His creations and the purpose of our breath, and my heart and mind became open to that gentle guiding of His Spirit that was in me and I began to find myself speaking to Him in my head almost 24/7... I desired, more than anything, Truth from the Bible and I started to become SO tired of wasting my life on the temporary distractions that truly didn't love me.
I was given a new body, new eyes, new mind! Lord, I have truly been born again! You have helped me over wave after wave of heartache. You have given me peace at the times where I’ve felt none. There is no doubt that it was you Lord… No doubt at all. For that reason, this is why my life is Yours!
I am honestly humbled when I feel You working in and around me and it seems like no one understands. My friends, my family, no one truly understands how You truly saved me… Lord you saved me when I felt no reason to save myself. It’s hard to say it Lord… But I… The person who always has a smile on his face… Felt like the purpose of my life was running out…
On that night in June, I felt more than purpose... I felt identity!
But that wasn’t the only time I felt You working in my heart and in my life… Lord, in a short period of time, I started to feel and see that you were transforming me.
I remember the next day... I felt so weird, I felt as if everything I "knew" about life was thrown out the window. I felt like a new kid at a new school, scared of the newness around me. Even though everything on the outside was the same, On the inside...? I was completely different.
Completely different in only ONE DAY after you came into my life.
I felt a burning desire for You on that day… And Lord...? You and I both know… That up to that point? I NEVER had one for You.
But I found myself praying to you CONSTANTLY that day. This is something that has carried with me… Even to this current day.
Many do not understand this change in me and to be honest…? I don’t completely understand myself.
Lord why me? Why have You blessed me so much?
That summer Lord, I realized what happened that night in June… I realized that I asked you to come into my life. The night I was born again… I can’t explain how truly new I feel! You have given me new life!
It just so happened that I had many trips planned that summer… trips where I had time to be alone. I traveled the United States. ...From Florida to Kansas City... Lord, You even had a job planned for me! A job that taught me so much about life! Through many hard and amazing times that summer,
I was being prepared for something, and this I can see now...
You used that summer to give me opportunities to find myself, and to also find your blessings. I grew spiritually so much… So fast! But through it all… most importantly,
that summer, you revealed your plan and purpose for me…
to spend the rest of my life ministering to those around me and afar.
Honestly…? I was TERRIFIED!
"Me? Ministry?! Lord I know I’ve given my life to You, but me?!"
At first, the more I thought about it the more I got sick in my stomach! I felt like I was going crazy!
I remember it was a couple of months after this, for the first time… I felt a pull.
I remember telling a close friend that the previous night I feel a pull to go into the ministry, but that I was terrified
And she looked straight into my eyes and said, "Jonah I don't doubt it… I think the Lord wants you to go into the ministry."
...I will never forget that moment as long as I live
From that week on Lord, you attacked my heart. You overwhelmed me! I felt Your hand on me again. I remember as I laid in my bed, in a one person dorm room at Coastal Carolina University… I remember hearing Your voice call to me, quiet, and calm me. (Click here for more background of this memory)
Quickly and almost violently I found my gift… Speaking to others about You. You reassured me that you wanted me to enter the ministry.
It wasn’t long before I was speaking in front of crowds full of all ages about your love. But still! I was scared… On the outside I am extremely outgoing and best friends to complete strangers, But deep down…? I am very shy and full of worry. So knowing this, I was scared…
Lord you are the only one that truly knows this.
During this time, and honestly even today, the Devil throws all he has at me. He tries to convince me that I only speak to bring praise to myself, he tries to remind me of the horrible sins I had committed against you, he tries to put chains around my neck, The same chains which I know so well!
...worry, lust, and anxiety.
Satan ultimately tried during that time to remove my faith, But he failed and STILL fails to realize that you Lord, are inside of and next to me… you are within.
The night I spoke from Your word, I realized what amazing God-given talent YOU have given me. Thank You Lord.
After that night, I was convinced in my calling. I went home and changed EVERYTHING! I erased my collection of music (and only You know how hard this was for me) and I dedicated EVERYTHING to You.
Lord, this was the beginning of the ministry You've called me to.
And this same ministry continues today.
Honestly… Lord you are the majority of what I talk and think about. You have seriously infected me. You have taken over me. You have given me new Life. And this new life… is Yours to mold. I am yours to mold. This type attitude is the driving force behind the Psalms in the bible… And it’s amazing that I feel what they felt over 4000 years ago.
Lord, I speak to you not for an audience, not for applause,
but as a young man with thanksgiving.
A young man speaking one-on-one with his father, which is you Jesus.
I pray that if there is anyone out there in need of your hand tonight, I pray that You may reveal yourself to them like you did to me on that night… The night that I realized that my life was Yours.
Father again I give my life to You to shape me into a revolutionary man, son, brother, husband and dad. I can't help but be honest with You and pray that You comfort my beautiful wife that is out there if that is in Your will for me. Let her know that a surrendered man of God will come and strive to love her like You love her by being a man who is led by You and You alone Jesus. We will worship You together Lord and point others to You. By Your Grace we will have beautiful kids that will genuinely worship you as well Lord. Let her know that it’s okay… I am real… but you are shaping me, You are shaping US so that we can glorify You with everything.
Thank You Lord for giving me the Holy Spirit… and even though I type this, You know the person behind this text, You know my heart, and You know my mind (Psalm 139).
Thank You Lord for allowing me to desire freedom from my addictions and giving me strength day by day to surrender the chains that hold me back from You!
Thank You for giving me opportunities to communicate and spend time with you Wherever… However… and Forever
You humble me. I am nothing. nothing without You.
Simply… Thank You Lord, Thank You for what You have done with me. Thank You for heartbreak. Thank You for storms. Thank You for pain. Thank You for tears.
For I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for all the above…
But more importantly?
Today, I know, With ALL of my being 100%... ...That I am truly loved
Thank You for showing me Love… Showing me love when I needed it the most.
And even though every, single, day, I am growing...
I will trust in You
You’ve taken care of me.
You have changed my life
Jesus… Thank You. I am Yours completely, I trust in You. I have faith in You. Use me for Your purpose.
In Your Holy Name I pray,