I had been to Palomar Mountain a few times to get a glimpse of Southern California snow or to walk through the gallery of photos at the observatory taken by the 200-inch Hale telescope.
But forty years ago this week (7/30/17) I went up Palomar Mountain a drug using, long haired, disillusioned, young man and came down new, forgiven, transformed and in awe at the greatness of God and the goodness of His Son.
I left my house that morning desperate for answers, fed up with the myriad of rabbit trails I had hopped down in hopes to find real meaning to life and purpose of being. I realized I had been deceived now I was hungry for the truth.
I set out with my thumb in the air and after a couple of rides sat perched on a rock at the foot of Palomar. A white van turned onto the road that led up the slope. It stopped in front of me.
I got in, welcomed by the gray-haired, smiling man. “Where you going?” he asked. “To the top.” I said slightly annoyed at having to state the obvious.
“What are you going up there for?” For some reason I just laid it on the old guy. “To find the truth.” I thought such an ‘out there’ comment would silence him. It didn’t.
“Well son, the truth is right there.” And he pointed between the seats of the van. I looked down to see the worn, black book and on its cover the faded gold letters, Holy Bible.
“Oh no.”, I thought, “One of those people.”
He then simply stated, “Jesus said he was the way, the TRUTH and the life.”
It is hard to describe what took place at that moment. My heart seemed to leap at the words. My head, confused, kept repeating, “This can’t be it. This can’t be it!”
We reached the summit and for an hour Bob Hagan poured out more life-filled truths. Finally he asked if I wanted to talk with this God who loved me, died for me, and was ready to make me new in Him.
I did. And just as Bob said, my new life in Jesus began. I was changed without trying. Forgiven without deserving. Made Heaven-bound without buying or begging.
Not a mountain, not a man but “His name - by faith in His name - has made this man whole, whom you see and know.” (Acts 3:16)