My name is Ben Pertl.
I was a Christian.
I grew up in the church, in a good home, in a “Christian Community” in the Midwest. I went to school with classmates who were with me at Youth Group on Wednesday nights. They were with me at the 5th Quarter events at the local Christian Church after football games. I went to the Church Camps, Lazer Tag Trips, and Progressive Dinners. I memorized the verses, spoke the lingo, and most importantly, knew that I was a sinner and needed Jesus Christ to save me from my sins.
But I had my life under control.
I didn’t smoke, drink, cuss, or put people down (not too many at least). I was a “good kid”. Since I didn’t do “x” or “y” and I DID do “a” and “b”, I was a better person than others. School was simple, life was easy, I had it together. And God? Yeah, He saved me and helped me when times were tough, but overall, I had it.
Now, you’re expecting some radical/horrific/drastic event that turned me back to the arms of Christ. Perhaps the death of a loved one or close friend, a brush with disaster, some illness. None of the above.
I went to college, where people drank, cussed, slept around. It was the norm. Maybe you’re expecting me to say that I dropped off the deep end and drank myself away from God.
I discovered my need for God for the first time.
That’s the funny thing about grace, I guess. By all means, the shallowness of my faith should not have held me back. I should have been as lost as the next guy.
Even though I hadn’t pursued God, He had His eyes locked on me. Despite my ignoring Him, He continued to pursue me.
Through people placed in my life, little stepping stones dropped in my path where I couldn’t help but stumble into them, my eyes were opened. No longer was I a “good kid”, I was just as lost as the others, desperately in need of a daily savior, not just a one-shot sin forgiver. In comparing my worth to others, I had elevated myself, rather than comparing myself to the ultimate ruler of a flawless love and glorifying him.
God showed me His glory, and I was, and am, in awe. He opened the gates of my heart to my passion for children, my crusade for true Biblical manhood, and my desire to teach. He has me in Kenya for the summer, out of nowhere it seems. He put me in contact with folks who had a need for male youth leaders, fulfilling the passions he so carefully crafted in my heart.
I fully realize now that my life is not my own. I am not made to seek the pleasures of the flesh, but to bring glory to He who has brought life to me.
Despite my resistance and complacency, I was pursued. There is nowhere that I can hide, nothing in creation that can separate me from God’s unfailing love.
I am Ben Pertl.
I am pursued by Christ.
For His Glory.