Dream changed best-selling author

Eric Metaxas
Eric Metaxas

Literary genius and best-selling author Eric Metaxas was once convinced no one could claim to know God, but an epiphany led him to devoting his life to this very claim he once rejected.

As a typical university student, Eric lived how he pleased but recalls feeling trapped "in the belly of a corporate whale" and unable to find a job after graduation.

Despite good grades, Eric was eventually forced to take the only job he could find: proofreading chemical manuals and other non-literary arcana.

In the drudgery he befriended graphic designer Ed Tuttle, a Christian believer who often engaged with Eric about his search for life's meaning.

One day when Eric's uncle had a stroke and fell into a coma Ed was there to comfort, saying he and some friends were praying for his uncle.

"I was astounded at the kindness of the gesture and at the idea that these people believed there was a God who heard prayers like this and could do something about it," he says.

"Around this time a slight shift was taking place in my mind, too."

Eric continued searching and sometimes prayed for God to reveal Himself in some sort of sign.

Then, just before his 25th birthday, he had a vivid dream where he says God clearly spoke to "the secret vocabulary of my heart".

His dream involved his favourite past-time, ice-fishing, where he recalls, "I looked into the large hole we had cut into the ice and ... [there was] a fish poking out."

As he picked it up by the gills Eric says he suddenly became aware that the fish was ixthys, the early Greek word of Christians from the acronym for Jesus Christ Son of God Our Saviour.

This symbol was important in Greek orthodox culture, Eric explains, which means "God was one-upping me in the language of my own symbol system."

In that moment Eric realized God had revealed Himself through the person of Jesus Christ.

"I realized in the dream that He was real," he says.

The next day Eric explained to Ed how God had spoken to him personally.

“A life with meaning is what we are looking for”"I said that I had accepted Jesus [as my Saviour who took my penalty for sin]. And when I spoke those words I was flooded with the same joy I had had inside the dream. And I've had that joy with me for the past 25 years," he says.

Looking back on his past beliefs, Eric says, "Just because somebody can't explain something doesn't mean that it's not a) explainable or b) true."

"I think the idea of that dream doesn't particularly prove anything, on the other hand it's either true or it's a lie."

Knowing Jesus is real now motivates Eric to commit his life to explaining his love for God through his gifts in writing and speaking.

Among many others, he has been recognized for his New York Times best-seller Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and has followed in the footsteps of people like Mother Theresa and Bono as the keynote speaker at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, an event attended by the President and other key world leaders.

In more recent times Eric has had key engagements where he makes a strong case that religion is the essential exercise of virtues, without which a society will collapse.

"We live in a culture that has bought into the patently silly idea that there is a divide between the secular world and the faith world," Eric shared with WSJ.com in December 2015.

"Some of the greatest minds I've ever met; people that are just extraordinary, brilliant, thoughtful, emotionally intelligent people are people of faith in Jesus."

In his personal life, Eric adds that while life can sometimes be difficult, ultimately God has given him the purpose and hope he had been lacking.

"Following Christ means I am going to follow Him wherever He leads me, and even if He leads me into suffering and difficulty there is joy in the midst of it," he says.

"That's the paradox at the heart of following Jesus – a life with meaning is what we are looking for."

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