“I was finished with God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, Christianity and anything that had to do with it. God truly found
me at a time when I was not looking for him...”
I was only six years old the day I decided
I wanted to belong to Jesus Christ. I went home feeling a sense of euphoric joy. A sense of joy that was not
I don’t remember the sermon topic that
day. Theology was not a concern at the time. I only knew that when the Pastor gave the invitation to “join the church,”
I wanted to. And as he counseled with me and prayed with me, my six-year-old faith connected with God through belief in his
risen son, and I knew that something special had happened to me.
I would like to say I was faithful to God after
that, but I wasn’t always.
My Mother made sure we were at Church almost
every Sunday, and I said my prayers at night sometimes, but I never made Jesus a real part of my life. I had no idea how to
As an adolescent, I went my own way and stopped
going to Church altogether.
A fear of dying and going to hell descended
on me and stayed there for the next eighteen years. The only thing I knew about being a Christian was that you were supposed
to go to Church and live a certain way, and I didn’t want to do that. To be perfectly honest, church bored me.
As a young adult, I began living a lifestyle
that I could not reconcile with my conscience (and with what I had been taught in Church and in Sunday School throughout my
In 1979 the guilt and fear became almost unbearable,
and I decided I did not want to believe in hell anymore.
The only logical way that I could accomplish
that goal…was to stop believing in God.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was very
serious about it. I reasoned with myself that if the scriptures were true and there was a God, then there surely was a hell,
and in spite of my profession of faith at age six, I was certain I was going there.
I could not think of a single reason why I
should be granted eternal life when I died. I did not understand that it was faith in what Christ did and not my own good
works that would save me.
I will never forget the first time I announced
to another person that I did not think I believed in God. The words shocked us both. But lightning didn’t strike, and
I felt encouraged to pursue my goal of becoming an atheist.
Between 1979 and 1981 I worked very hard at
it. Sometimes, during the day with all its distractions, I was somewhat successful. But at night, when the silence descended,
I could not squelch the conviction of the Holy Spirit that the scriptures were true and that God was real.
In 1981 I was invited to go to church with
some friends and family, and I went. I did not go to worship God that Sunday morning. My goal was to discount everything the
preacher said and prove that Christianity was a myth—a crutch for weak-minded people to lean on.
I successfully (to my own satisfaction) shredded
everything the preacher said that morning. I sat through the songs, prayers, preaching and altar call completely untouched
emotionally or spiritually. I walked out of church unchanged and very satisfied with myself.
I went back again the next week. I knew that
if I could sit through one more sermon and altar call unmoved, as before, that I would be free forever from this Christianity
thing that tormented me so.
I planned on walking away from God that morning
and never looking back.
I sat down on the very back pew, the one closest
to the exit, and waited for the service to begin. The congregation stood up, said a few prayers, and sang a few hymns, then
I felt nothing—so far so good.
Then the preacher (who did not know me) raised
his arm and pointed his finger directly at me and thundered the first words of his sermon…
“And God gave them up!”
When he uttered the last word of that sentence,
something seemed to come out of the end of his finger and slam straight into my heart. In that moment, all of my atheistic
defenses were shattered, and I became acutely aware of the existence of my God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I immediately cried out to him in my heart.
I told him I knew he was real, and I was sorry for ever denying him. I don’t remember anything else the preacher said
that morning, but I was the first one to reach the altar when he finished preaching.
I picked up my Bible that very afternoon and
began reading the New Testament book of Matthew. I have been reading my Bible daily for over twenty-five years now. I read
my Bible straight through, over and over, always picking up today where I left off yesterday. It has changed my life.
It took me almost twenty years to pick up where I left off when I was six, but I know that God allowed a little child
to come to him, and then held on to her and mercifully revealed his awesome presence, even
as she tried with all her might to deny him.