Awake in the Dark

Every time my friend Mark brought up the J-word (Jesus), I’d fire off a series of “well-how-do-you-explain-this?” questions, and he’d quickly change the subject.

untitledBut what Mark didn’t realize was that I was genuinely searching. Just not in ways he would recognize. Like reading Autobiography of a Yogi, which attempted, among other things, to validate its westernized version of Hinduism by showing how Jesus-like it was.

For example, one venerated holy man showed “compassion” by allowing people to crawl into his tent and sniff his palms, which miraculously smelled like lotus blossoms. This, the author implied, was analogous to Jesus healing people and raising them from the dead. “Uh, no,” I thought, “one of these things is not like the others.”

Still, I have to credit Autobiography of a Yogi for introducing me to Jesus. Halfway through, I bought a Bible (at a remote store where no one would recognize me) because I wanted to read everything Jesus had said, and not just the stuff my yogi friend had quoted. Jesus’s words were like nothing I’d ever encountered. My heart began to yearn. I’d scoured and pondered the writings of other religions, but I couldn’t shake the conviction that Jesus’s teachings and character were utterly unique.

Finally, when, at a café, one of Mark’s Jesus-y friends asked, “So, Mitch, how long have you been a believer?” Mark cringed and started to warn him, “Oh, no, Mitch isn’t a—”

“About two weeks,” I answered.

I can still see the fork falling out of Mark’s hand. He’d long ago stopped trying to tell me about Jesus—but had never stop praying for me. He shouted, “Now I know there’s a God! You’re the last person on earth I thought would believe! How?”

I told him about my secret journey, and concluded, “I may have been miles away and knocking on all the wrong doors, but at least I was looking. So, in a way, I was closer than the guy who’s at the right house, but asleep on the front porch.”

Two years later, a musician friend named Keith Green released a song called “Asleep in the Light,” and I immediately thought about my convoluted conversion. I still choke up when I hear the song.

Are there people you know who are “asleep in the light”? Or “awake in the dark,” for that matter? Which of them is closer? Only God knows. So your best bet is to keep loving them all.

And never stop praying for them. 

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Awake in the Dark

  1. A special thought . It is much better to be looking than sitting smuggly thinking you are OK. A privilege to read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this so much Mitch!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mich says:

    Hmmm, interesting; my problem is I can’t find the bloody light switch — maybe the room I’m in doesn’t have one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Andi says:

    This is wonderfully enlightening. I am happy for your journey. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Great story Mitch… if we keep really searching we will find.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yes. It’s preferable to be a searcher in the dark, rather than someone asleep in the light. Thanks, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the encouraging story, Mitch. I like your conclusion. I have some people in my life that are either asleep in the Light or awake in the dark, and no, I will not stop praying for them. (I do get awfully tired, though. :/ )

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jesus works in strange ways! His teachings continue to be my guide in navigating this world’s challenges.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I wonder how many of your readers are still searching and have been encouraged by your accounts. Praise God for your outreach.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Manu says:

    Wow! Mitch. Thank you for sharing this and it encourages me to keep on praying.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gary Fultz says:

    I’m hoping-praying for a drop my fork Mark experience with a friend. Glad you shared this Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Inspiring article Mitch! I’ll never stop praying for the people I know that are awake but in the dark.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a friend and my oldest son are both awake in the dark. Been praying for them for about 20 years now.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What an encouragement to keep on praying and loving!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gpavants says:


    Yes, thank the Lord He takes all sorts of people.

    In Christ, Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Piano girl says:

    Great perspective. And I love that Keith Green song. Well, all his songs. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Long ago there was a humorous ad campaign (in MA at least) for a bakery.  Each ad showed somebody who looked stereotypically Irish or Native American or whatever.  The person was holding a sandwich and obviously delighted by it.  The caption read
             You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levi’s Real Jewish Rye.
    Maybe people are too prickly about stereotyping for such an ad nowadays, but it was funny at the time.  This post made me recall the old ads, but with a caption of the form
             You don’t have to be a believer to love Mitch Teemley’s …
    Dunno what sort of image would work, but stereotyping is (and should be) passé anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent post. Awake in the dark..Asleep in the light…the bible verses wake up you sleepers came to mind. Apathy is a terrible thing. We don’t realise it’s dangers.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. pastorpete51 says:

    As soon as I saw your title and before I started reading, I was thinking of those lyrics to Keith’s song. I am so thankful for a God who comes to us even while we are asleep and wakens us to Himself. Great testimony Mitch. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks for your story and one of seeking to be close to God. And Jesus was. I agree and like the awake in or in light. A friend of mine was a devoted catholic, just not my path. Am close at the moment to Quaker testimonies.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Maren says:

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I relate so much to this post! If you are comfortable sharing, I’m curious Mitch if upon looking back you feel He was with you the whole time?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Much of the Church in the West is asleep in the light as our loved ones surround us who are stumbling through darkness. May we all awaken to the light. Thanks, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. lynn__ says:

    Mitch, thanks for sharing this testimony…I love how God pursues each of us down meandering paths!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Mitch, I absolutely love it when people ask questions; my son did when he was young. He was already a believer, but over time he came to really own his faith. I also love it when unbelievers ask questions; my wife and I have seen several such questioners come to faith in Christ.

    I had to laugh at Mark’s exclamation: “You’re the last person on earth I thought would believe!”

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ann Coleman says:

    I do think that there’s a lot of ways to come to belief, and sometimes we don’t recognize it when we see it in others, because their path is different from our own.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Vortex says:

    Love this 💕.. Amazing story!!..

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Vortex says:

    Love this 💕…. Great story ☺️☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Great testimony. Sometimes the “seekers” may seem least likely to come to Christ, but as you show, sometimes the challenging questions show that someone is sincerely looking for the answers that only God can give.
    Also, gotta love Keith Green’s music. I have all of his albums.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Seek and you shall find. 🙂. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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