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Column: Five seconds

Have you ever had five seconds change your life? Not like you’re driving and you miraculously avoid an oncoming vehicle, or you save a kitten from a burning building or nearly miss a step walking down the stairs and see your life flash before your eyes.

I’m not talking about those kinds of moments.

I’m talking about those five seconds where you’re not doing anything in particular, but suddenly you have an epiphany: your eyes become unfocused, some dots connect in your brain, and some fairly obvious truth smacks you in the face for what feels like the first time.

Once your eyes refocus, you look at the people around you and wonder how they continue on like nothing has changed, like you didn’t just have a monumental experience.

I had one such moment recently. Those moments can seem so out-of-the-blue, like your subconscious suddenly smacks your conscious with a flyswatter.

But this time, I saw my moment of realization less like an out-of-nowhere smack and more like God tying a knot on a precisely orchestrated series of events He had been leading me through for a while. A little conversation with a friend here. A Bible verse there. A sermon here. And then, “boom”: in a moment, what felt like a jumble of rope before, pulled into a tight, logical formation.

My moment of realization came while my pastor (who also happens to be my father) was preaching on Psalm 119 over Christmas break. The verse was one I’m sure I’ve heard more than a handful of times: Psalm 119:72.

But that’s the amazing thing about such “sudden” realizations: God can take a verse you’ve heard many times, connect it to some new experiences and give the verse an entirely fresh meaning in your life.

Over break, a theme I thought and talked a lot about was what makes something “Christian.”

For instance, we talk about Christian singers and Christian authors, but not Christian plumbers or lawyers. Somewhere along the line in church history, there became a separation between the clergy and the laymen of the church. Basically, people began to think that pastors and other people in full-time ministry were on some special spiritual level and that everyone else was a step below.

I knew in my head this wasn’t right. We’re all called to be in ministry, no matter what our occupation. However, it took a while for that to really click in my mind.

So there I was, sitting in church when I heard the verse: “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” Like a chain of dominoes falling, in the span of about five seconds, a few key truths connected in my mind.

First, I realized that David wasn’t a pastor, and yet he considered the Bible more important than any other book or possession. There is no separation between pastors or Christian singers and other Christians. I may never be in full-time ministry, but even if I became a zookeeper, I can still be a Christian zookeeper. The Bible should be the foundation of my life, manifesting itself in every area of my life, no matter what my occupation.

I also realized that of all the classes I take here at BJU, the Bible classes are the most important. Sometimes I tend to devalue Bible classes because they don’t seem directly connected to my major. But if even a great king like David was dependent on God’s Word, how much more should I be in whatever my future job is?

Once this life-altering five seconds ended, I picked up my pen and went back to listening and taking notes for the sermon, as though nothing had changed.

But I wasn’t the same.