This is my Christian Testimony and how I came to believe in Jesus Christ:
I was born in 1952, the third child in what turned out to be a family of nine children: four girls and five boys. We grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania until we moved to California in 1964.
My parents were amazing providers, as far as our home and physical needs were concerned. They were also loving and sacrificial in many other ways. However, there was a lot of tension in our home, and perhaps because I was highly sensitive and fearful in nature, it affected me deeply
I also experienced some very traumatizing events during the early years of my life. The emotional wounds that resulted remained unresolved until recently. Nevertheless, as I look back over my life now, I am convinced that God was with me - even during those distressful and perplexing times. It is extremely healing for me to realize this, because it helps me to view the pain and turmoil of my childhood, through the lens of His love.
Sadly, I did not have an accurate view of God when I was a child. Having been educated in Catholic schools and attending church for many years, I did believe in Him. Interestingly enough, I often experienced a sense of wonder and joy when I sang in the choir at church. The problem was that I didn't understand and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
At school, I learned that Satan tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God, and after they did, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. However, I did not learn that God continued to love His creation, even after they sinned. I thought of God as being high and holy - and always mad at us. I knew that Jesus died, but I did not comprehend that His death was a gift of love. I just thought we were supposed to feel guilty because He suffered and died, and it was our fault
In 1982, at the age of 30, I prayed an earnest, heartfelt prayer. God graciously answered in a way that changed my life forever. I didn't really know "to whom" I was praying. The faith of my childhood seemed distant at the time, and I wasn't sure what I believed. However, I had been quite fascinated and involved with Eastern Mysticism and New Age religions, throughout my teen and young adult years.
The year before I prayed that prayer, my older sister and her husband were tragically killed in a car accident. They were hit by a drunk driver on their way home from a surfing vacation in Mexico. My sister and I were very close, and her husband was like a brother to me. I was devastated by the loss. It was sudden, shocking, and emotionally excruciating. My heart was broken, and I also became fixated on death and what happens to people when they die.
My grief and obsession led to months of intense searching through reading. I would go to the public library and browse the New Age section, checking out as many books as I was allowed. I was trying to find the truth, but instead, I was sinking into a deep, oppressive place of despair. Nothing made sense to me, and I was finding no peace.
I was often plagued by sleepless nights when dark feelings of hopelessness seemed to overwhelm me. One such night, I was staring at the moon and stars out of my bedroom window. There was a moment when I had the distinct sense that God was out there. I felt that if He would only hear my prayer and answer, I would believe Him and even give my life to Him. I said, "God, whoever you are, please show me the truth about life and death."
That night I had a dream: In the dream, I was holding a Bible and telling one of my younger brothers, "I found the truth and the truth is in the Bible.". This was particularly strange because I had no interest in exploring the Bible at that time in my life. However, upon waking that morning, I knew that the truth was in the Bible. I cannot explain it, but I knew it for sure. I also knew that the dream was not a normal dream; it was God's answer to my prayer. I woke with the most joyful feeling I had ever had in my life. Pure Joy is the best way to describe it.
In all the years since I have never once questioned these two issues: The knowing and the Joy. The sense of knowing was like nothing I had ever experienced. The joy was beyond explanation.
I stopped reading the books I had been reading, and I started reading the Bible. I learned that all of history has a purpose, and God has a grand plan to restore His relationship with mankind. I began to study Bible prophecy and was amazed at how, from Genesis to Revelation, it all beautifully and miraculously fits together.
I asked God many questions as I prayed and read. He just kept answering my questions in unique and various ways. God is true to His Word, and He promises to be a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) He said, "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13) I have no doubt that any person who is truly seeking the truth, will find Him.
According to the Bible, God loves everyone: Jesus said: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) As I read this scripture, I realized that the Bible is not about a religion or a philosophy, a church, or a denomination. It is about The God of the Universe, extending an open invitation to mankind - an invitation to believe the truth about Him and to respond to His plan for them.
I began to see that this life we are in now is not real life; instead, it is a test where each individual is given a choice to determine where they will spend Eternity. I realized that all the choices we make in this life are only important, with respect to their bearing on Eternity. That is because Eternity is real life! Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes unto the Father, but through me." He also said that if you believe in Him, you are of the truth, and if you reject Him, you are not of the truth. (John 8:45-47)
I learned that we are all flawed, and our sins separate us from God. The Bible explained that God had provided the perfect remedy to restore our relationship with Him. The Apostle Paul wrote: "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures…He was buried…He was raised on the third day." (1st Corinthians 15:3) The Apostle John wrote: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he that does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him." (John 3:17,18) (John 3:36)
I was amazed that God had made it so simple. All that was required was the humility to accept the truth about my sinful condition and call on Him to save me. The Apostle Paul put it this way, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13) When people asked Jesus, "What does God want us to do ?" His answer was very simple: "This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the One He has sent." (Jn 6:28) When people asked the Apostle, Paul, "What must we do to be saved? His answer was also very simple: "Believe on The Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)
As I began to meditate on those verses, it became abundantly clear to me that God is on a rescue mission. He had revealed everything necessary for me, and every other person to escape the inherent judgment that is sure to come. He knows how difficult it is to live in this fallen world, and He does not want us to spend Eternity in Hell, lost forever, and separated from Him.
That is why He invites us to come to Him. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, "Come unto me all of you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) He wants us to feel secure in His love. Jesus promised, "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) He also said, "All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me, I will certainly not cast out." (John 6:37)
God has been the dearest friend I could have ever hoped for. What a great consolation it is that He needs no explanation of our past or present circumstances. He knows everything about each person and is completely aware of our unique situations, strengths, and shortcomings. He knew and loved us even when we were being formed in our mothers' wombs. (Psalm 39:15 -16) He values and appreciates each human being and desires that all of us will come to a knowledge of the truth about Him. (I Timothy 2:4) He never condemns those who come to Him in humility and faith. (Romans 8:1)
Because Jesus is God, made into flesh, He was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." (John 1:14) (Isaiah 53:3) That is why He can empathize with our pain and suffering in this broken world. The book of Isaiah says of Jesus, "A bruised reed, He will not break, a smoldering wick, He will not extinguish." (Isaiah 42:3) This verse has been a constant source of comfort to me as it describes God's great kindness, tenderness, and patience. He takes us, just as we are. Then, as we invite Him into the wounded places of our hearts, He gradually heals and transforms us with His love.
When I learned that God offers salvation as a free gift to everyone and anyone, I found it hard to believe that anyone would reject it. However, the Bible teaches that many people will reject it. (Matthew 7:13) That is so sad because God is willing to forgive any and all sins, but there is no forgiveness for those who reject His gracious gift of salvation. (John 8:24)
The Bible not only teaches about Heaven and Hell, but it also talks about a uniquely terrifying time on earth - the few years before Christ's return. It is referred to as "The Great Tribulation." (Rev 7:14) I personally believe we are very close to this time. Jesus Christ will appear and save those who have believed in Him and are eagerly awaiting Him before the earth is judged in "The Great Tribulation."
(Hebrews 9:28) (1 Thessalonians 4:17) (Titus 2:13) (Rev 3:10)
It has been over 37 years since I came to faith in Jesus Christ. Since that time, I have been through many agonizing and confusing experiences. But even in the most troubling times, God's answer to my prayer, that night so long ago - has been like an anchor. He has continued to be my constant companion, and He has faithfully answered my prayers for all these years. Throughout my life, I have seen His hand of blessing, protection, and provision for me and those I love.
When God first revealed Himself to me, I just wanted to know the truth about life and death. I didn't even know that my greatest problem was my need to be reconciled to Him. He has been remarkably long-suffering and gentle with me through each and every stage of my life. Yes, He is mysterious, and I don't understand why He allows so much evil and sadness in this world. But I trust that "His ways are higher" than mine and that He is infinitely good. I know He will bring about good to His creation in the end. (Isaiah 55:8) (Isaiah 65:17)
Sue: United States