I used to tell a silly story to illustrate a significant truth. It was about a man who, walking home in the dark one night, fell in a well. Though he was not injured, he was unable to climb out of the well. After yelling for help, he realized no one could hear him.

Helpless and afraid he would die in that well, he began to pray. The more he prayed, the more desperate he became. Hours passed. No help came. Praying more earnestly, he cried out to God, “Lord, I know I have ignored you for years and I am a sorry sinner. Please forgive my sins. And Lord, if you will send someone to help me get out of this well, I will become a Christian and live the rest of my life to please you.”

About that time a man walking by the well heard the poor man praying  and offered to help him. Finding a rope, he used it to pull the man out of the well. Thankful that God had answered his prayers, the man kept his promise to serve God. He spent the rest of his life pushing sinners into a well so they could get saved.

Yes, it’s a ridiculous story but I used it to make this point: It is a mistake to think that other people need to duplicate your experience of God in order to find a transforming relationship with God. That’s because God has a thousand stairways into the human heart. So when you seek Him with all your heart, He will give you your own unique experience of his life-changing power.

One day E. Stanley Jones began reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s book, “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”. His heart was set on fire as he read it. He wanted to find this life of freedom and fullness. He read only to page 42 when the Inner Voice said to him, “Now is the time to seek.” He dropped to his knees and said, “What shall I do?” The Voice replied, “Will you give me your all – your very all?” Stanley said, “I will.” The Voice replied, “Then take my all; you are cleansed.” Within minutes Stanley “was filled with a strange refining fire that seemed to course through my whole being in cleansing waves.” He felt his life was taken over by Life itself and thereafter his life was “on a permanently higher level.”

I share Stanley’s experience to make this point: As wonderful as Smith’s book is, it would be a mistake to start reading it in the hope that you might experience the cleansing power of God the way Stanley experienced it. However, if you truly want God to release his refining fire in your heart, surrender to Him and ask for that cleansing. Look then for God to give you your own unique experience of inner cleansing. That’s because He has a thousand stairways into our hearts.