Sunday, April 6, 2014
My Life Changed 55 Years Ago Today
This little brown New Testament is falling apart. The spine is gone and the pages are loose. But it's still my most prized possession.
On April 6, 1959 I attended an after-school children's evangelistic service in the basement of my church led by a team of men from Word of Life Camp.
I had been in Sunday school since nursery age, but this was the first time I ever heard the entire gospel, including the story of the crucifixion. Though I was only 6 years old, God gave me a clear picture of my sin and the weight of it. I began to sob inconsolably--so hard I couldn't tell the men who were leading the program what was wrong. They were at a loss.
I couldn't tell them that what I needed to know was how I could ask Jesus to forgive me.
My father, a non-believer, drove up to the side door of the church to get me. I jumped in the car and asked him, "Daddy, do you know how I can ask Jesus to forgive me?" He didn't have an answer.
When we got home my fifteen-year-old brother was the only one there. When my father was out of earshot I asked my brother my question. Fearing my father, he cupped his hand around my ear and whispered the truth--all I had to do was ask Jesus and He would forgive me and make me new.
So I went into my bedroom and knelt by my bed and made the best decision of my entire life. I didn't see any angels but I had peace. I knew my life was changed.
My brother brought me this little brown Gideon Bible New Testament and wrote in the back a confirmation of my decision and left a blank for me to sign my name, and I happily printed it.
The problem was that my father realized what had happened and became angry. After the yelling was over, he gently put me on his lap and explained that he knew more than those people at that church. He told me I didn't need to have any sins forgiven and that the stories I heard at church were just that--stories.
So I took a pen and scratched out those words in the back of that New Testament--thinking I would take it all back.
The next day, though, my brother was alone with me as he made my lunch. He gave me assurance of the reality of God and my decision was reaffirmed.
I printed my own confirmation in the back of that New Testament.
Now, 55 years later, I am still amazed by God's grace and forgiveness. I still have that New Testament...and I still have peace.
Posted by Kathy Schriefer at 4:21 AM