Yes to Jesus with 80 km/h...
While driving 80 km/h on highway A13, Niels prayed a prayer that led to a supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit. He experienced what the Bible calls being “born again,” and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
After this he had to slow down his car, put it in 2nd gear and drive through a roundabout. It almost became a symbol of what he experienced in his life afterwards.
On the 6th of December 2001, I drove away from my workplace in Støvring, driving along highway 13, and feeling rather sad. As I was heading to a board meeting on a Danish “efterskole” (a kind of independent boarding school for lower secondary students), I had no idea that my life was about to take the biggest and best turn it could possibly take.
During the spring I had had a pretty tough time, where my job as a developing engineer in the telecom-industry made up a big part of my life – working overtime day after day – sometimes until late in the night. One day after another just went by.
During that same period of my life, I was grappling a whole lot with the faith.
I had sought after God in a more or less intense way in periods at this point, and regularly went to “Folkekirken” (the Danish State Church) and KFUK and KFUK (a Danish version of YMCA), I had been teaching at a Christian, independent boarding school for three years, studied “Theology for the laity” for three years, but deep down inside, I really doubted the existence of God a whole lot. I hadn’t experienced any answers to prayer, and I shook my head when people would sometimes suggest bringing “this and this problem” to God. After all, in my own experience, we needed to take care of problems ourselves. I shifted from the one to the other, had one leg in each camp, and there was a non-stop contemplating about things that so characterized my life of faith.
I had tried to “turn to God” and live a life of purity on several occasions – without any luck. I failed every time, and was pounding myself because of it, because my conscience told me that I wasn’t living the way I was supposed to.
On the last weekend of October, for the second year in a row I had participated in the Århus Gospel Festival, where people sing gospel songs about Jesus for the whole weekend. The songs spoke a whole lot about the love of God, and it sounded like the songwriter had a daily, living relationship with Jesus. Not just as a religion, but as if though He was a living person. I clearly remember thinking the following thought: “Either these songwriters are lying their socks of (!!), or they’ve experienced something that I want to experience as well.” But I was already a Christian, I had no problem confessing this to my family and friends, etc., and I had shared a lot of devotions…
I happened to talk about faith with someone from a free church right after the gospel festival, and I curiously asked her questions about the difference between her background and mine. She told me that it was very normal for God to speak to you (!!), and that she had experienced a whole lot with Him, just like the songwriter… what was going on here??
I quickly found out what this was all about – I had heard about it plenty of times in the Bible: Jesus had told Nicodemus, the Pharisee, that you needed to be born again to see the kingdom of God… I needed to ask God to forgive my sin through the person of Jesus Christ and surrender my life to God. More than this, I was now told that we can personally be baptized/ filled with the Holy Spirit, and in doing this, receive the power of God to live out the Christian life in practice.
I had heard that there were people living today that possessed the gifts of grace written about in the Bible – but no one I knew – except perhaps for one of my friends, who in a short period of time had grown “annoyingly saved to listen to.” I was now told that it was possibly to receive the baptism/ fullness/ equipping of the Holy Spirit in two different ways – either by asking for it yourself, or by letting someone else pray for you by the laying on of hands.
On the 6th of December, I was willing to surrender my life. Even if it cost me everything, I wanted to have a living relationship with God. I prayed a prayer repeatedly for 10 minutes (10 km): “Jesus, I repent from my sins – I want to give my life to You. Jesus, give me Your Holy Spirit and come into my life.” When I had prayed for some time I thought: “Oh, perhaps I’m not good enough? This offer probably doesn’t apply to me.” I kept on going, however, and after some time I no longer payed any attention to what I was praying.
Suddenly I became aware that Someone was paying attention, because suddenly, I was filled by Something, which caused me to not know what was up and what was down. My eyes were racing around in my head, and I had no control what so ever. I thought: “Oh no, am I heading toward the fields upside down? This is amazing, but it’s not the right time – I’m driving!” In a few seconds I regained my conscience and found out that I was still driving straight ahead. I just had time to slow down before a roundabout, brought my Peugeot down to 2nd gear, and continued my journey in a wonderful mood and thanking God that He had heard my prayer.
After this, my life was totally changed. I had a strong and continuing urge to study the Bible, and there was no time to wait in getting to know other living Christians. In the time that followed I was super excited about what had happened and shared about what I had experienced everywhere – in places both suitable and not so suitable. I was greatly surprised that not everyone liked it, while some where also caught with a longing for God. The ones that were have later experienced a similar breakthrough in their lives.
Writing this, it’s been six years since these things happened. Looking back on my life, I do so with an indescribable thankfulness that my eyes were opened to the Way to God through Jesus. My life hasn’t been without its problems and challenges, but it has been the most exciting and eventful time, despite of several deprivations that I thought would make things hard. God has worked in my life and led me through a time of restoration and healing in areas where I was shattered, due to my past. He has led me to my wife, who I am married with today, and who I recognize it has been God’s wonderful wisdom for me to wait for. We serve God together in a varied and exciting daily life, that I could in no way have imagined before – because in every thinkable way, it is God’s grace and work in our lives – we just follow along. Best of all, I’m finding out more and more that the Bible works in practice. That’s why I don’t doubt that the promise of eternal life for those that are born again, believe in Jesus and follow Him where he leads you, is a sure promise.
My great desire is to reach many of those people that, just like I had, have written out God because of “sensible reasons” – but still desperately need to have an encounter with Jesus Christ and the good news of the Bible – the gospel. There is so much confusion in this area. But my message is clear: we NEED to be born again – and be baptized with the Holy Spirit – this is what the Bible speaks about, and when we suddenly have a living relationship with Him, our lives are all about following Jesus in a personal way.
Who said that religion is boring? This a living thing! However, I do recommend for others to keep it at 0 km/h when seeking God. By the way: the most important thing is not the experience that you have then and there. But if you seek God through Jesus with your heart, like I did, the Bible says that you WILL be saved, born again and baptized with the Holy Spirit. You’ll know when this has happened, by the turns your life will take.
Listen to a beautiful song as you're reading: