When I was younger, I never really thought about believer’s baptism being a special gift. In fact the thought of being baptized in front of a group of people scared me so much that I simply couldn’t work up the courage to be baptized at church.
But this changed as the Lord started to do a work in my heart, and I started wondering about the importance of baptism. A dear friend and I had a few discussions about what believer’s baptism was and why it was so important.
As I learned more and more, my desire to be baptized grew. I was desperate to find more power in moving the hand of God. Being obedient to the Lord’s command to be baptized was one more step I could take in deepening my relationship with Him.
For many, being baptized is as easy as signing up for the next baptismal service.
For me… well… my situation was a little different. I didn’t have a church that I attended and every time I tried to find a Pastor that would baptize me, God made it clear that it wasn’t the right time. In fact from the time I made contact with the man who would baptize me, to the day of my baptism, it took more than a year, because the man that God had planned to baptize me literally lived half way around the world. That man is Zac Poonen.
And so the story of how I was finally able to be baptized begins… What transpired is an amazing story, one which I could never have orchestrated on my own even if I had tried. Watch and see how God carried out His plan for my baptism.
7 years earlier, I had been praying for a Godly friend and the Lord lead me to my dear friend Louanne. Louanne encouraged me to be a helpmeet to my husband, and started encouraging me in this. We became best friends and I valued and cherished her insight.
A few years later I stumbled upon Zac Poonen’s website and I listened to many of his messages. As I listened to him speak on baptism, I became more and more convinced that I really needed to be baptized. I was seeking the Lord and had a deep desire to what to know Him more. I asked Louanne questions about baptism and read verses in the Bible that taught on it. The need to be baptized soon became a personal conviction.
About 2 to 3 years before my baptism, I started talking with my husband about my desire to be baptized, but he didn’t really want me to. I spoke with 3 different pastors, and due to various circumstances, it didn’t work out for me to be baptized by them (God clearly closed the door each time).
Then I started wondering if Louanne’s husband could baptize me. I wrote to Brother Zac and asked his opinion and then I spoke to my husband about this option. We decided to pursue it, with my husband in agreement, but he said I could be baptized only if it worked out in a convenient way.
Through various circumstances, we were not even able to make this happen (their pool was cracked and could not be filled, I got pregnant and my husband would not let me travel that far, etc.). Once again, the Lord was closing doors. When I learned that Louanne and Jim were going to move to Tennessee, we decided to try one last time for Jim to baptize me, but my husband was adamant about not wanting me to travel to their house and back in the same day.
From the moment I decided that I wanted to be baptized I pursued it… trying to find a way to do it. I knew that every time the door closed, God was in control, and if He wanted me to be baptized, He would orchestrate it to happen in His time.
What transpired next was truly something that only God could orchestrate. Remember how I mentioned that I did not have a church or a pastor? Well because of this, I have been blessed with many teachings that I’ve found online, and a lot are from Zac Poonen. Each week I receive an e-mail with the “Word For The Week” and I listen nearly every day to his messages. His wife, Annie, has written some books for women, and I have read those too. I have learned so much from Brother Zac that I view him as my shepherd, like Jesus was a shepherd to his followers.
So for 3 years, my heart’s desire was that Zac would baptize me. But on the surface, that seemed pretty near impossible. He was in India, and I was in America, and though I had asked for his guidance on a few things, he really didn’t know me from anyone else (he gets thousands of e-mails).
I did know that there was a good possibility that one or more of his sons lived in the United States, so I knew that there may be times when he was visiting, but I did not know when those times were, nor would I have wanted to be an imposition on his family time.
But God knew though. He knew that Brother Zac, and his wife Annie, visited an area in the United States each year, which was only an hour away from where I lived. Yet He kept this a secret from me, and I now know why.
You see, up until about 6 months before my baptism, my husband would very possibly not have allowed me to ask Brother Zac if he would baptize me. And if he had, he would not have let me pick Zac and Annie up and take them home, and he would not have allowed them to come to our house to do the baptism (he’s a very private person).
But God knew that my husband’s heart would change, and in 2005 my husband would allow Brother Zac to baptize me in our backyard. Whenever God changes someone’s heart, it amazes me and I am so very thankful.
I believe that by honoring my husband’s wishes earlier, and submitting to his direction, that God then honored me.
I was baptized by a humble man of God whom I highly esteem. And as if that wasn’t a big enough blessing, the Lord orchestrated everything (including changing my husband’s heart) so that my husband and children could witness my baptism and meet Zac and Annie Poonen. I’ll also mention here that my husband is a very skeptical person and it takes a lot to earn his trust. After meeting Zac Poonen, my husband now respects him and speaks very highly of him. There are only two spiritual people in this world whom my husband speaks of so reverently. One is Brother Zac, and the other if our friend Jack, who is another humble man of God who studies God’s word daily and spends a lot of time in Prayer. Jack will be 90 years old this year, Lord willing.
I was able to experience my baptism in a very personal, intimate way with my Lord. Before my baptism, I prayed that I would receive anointing of the Holy Spirit, and right after the baptism, Brother Zac laid hands on my head and prayed that Jesus would fill me with His Holy Spirit.
Since that time, I have experienced greater blessings and I have more of a yearning for God’s power in my life.
Zac’s willingness to follow God’s leading was an intricate part of His plan for my baptism. In fact I’ll share one more thing to help you see how great of a miracle this actually was. As we sat around the table having lunch together, Zac and Annie started discussing how long it had been since he had baptized someone. You see, many years previously, he had handed over the responsibility of baptizing believers to other elders in the church. So it had been 9 years since he had baptized someone, and it was the first time he had ever baptized someone in the United States.
But God knew that I needed a special blessing, and He knew that the best person to baptize me would be the man whom, by God’s perfect design, has impacted me the most in my spiritual walk with the Lord. Do you see the magnitude of what God is capable of doing? And He did it for little, unworthy, me. God uses and chooses “nobodies”, and it is my prayer that He will use my story to encourage you to have more prayer, more patience and more exercise of faith which will result in greater blessing.