It is that time of year again. I like to think that I show my faith regularly to all of you, but today is special. Today marks the day that I realized I sin like everyone else, and that my sin keeps me away from God. Thirty-one years ago, for the first time, I cried out for forgiveness and mercy, and I accepted that Jesus had died for that very reason. He traded places with me that day, and now I know that in spite of my sins and failures, when I stand in judgement before God, my slate will be clean because Jesus paid it all. It was the best day of my life by far, and easily the best decision I have ever made.
I am so very thankful that the adults in my life at the time did not brush me off or give me silly answers to my questions. I was just a few days from the 5th birthday. At that age people are usually still telling children pretty little stories that make angels sound like fairies and God is all double rainbows. There was so much talk of Heaven and eternity in my house because my grandfather was very literally on his deathbed. I remember sitting in church and the preacher giving a sermon from John 3. It wasn't the usual 3:16 that got me. It was Nicodemus asking Jesus, "What do I do?" My ears perked up because that was the biggest question on my mind. The simple and yet powerful answer was, "You must be born again." I felt like someone had finally answered the question that had been burning in me since VBS that year. It was a question I didn't even know how to ask. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be "born again" I figured that she bore me the first time she'd probably know how to redo it. She asked me the important stuff.
Do you know that you sin (do stuff that isn't perfect and that hurts God)?
Do you understand that we can't be close to God because of those bad things?
Do you get that Jesus took our punishment for us by dying on the cross?
Would you like to be closer to God, have Him help you through life and move you through the Holy Spirit?
That was Jesus' gift to us and all we have to do is accept the present by praying. We tell God that we know we have done wrong and that our actions are what stand between us and Him. We don't want that roadblock any more. Thank Him for sending Jesus to take your punishment and tell Him that you are accepting that gift of unconditional love. There is no magic to it, no special words, no dance to learn or special hats to wear. You just agree and accept. Welcome the Holy Spirit into your life and watch Him work on you like He works on me.
After I accepted Christ as my personal saviour, my parents took me to the hospital and parked our car under the window of my grandfather's room. I was too young to be allowed up, so my mom went to tell him. My grandfather who was in the final days of lung cancer got up out of his bed and waved to me with joy and excitement that I will never forget. It was the last time I saw him. He died very peacefully just 5 days later. He died knowing that our separation was temporary and that I was taken care of. So, you see, my salvation was a present for him too. God's timing for me was perfect, and that is why I never question a 4 year old who says they want to be saved. I just tell them how it works.
(Sorry Mom, I'm going to try to stop making posts that make you cry. And thanks for answering my questions truthfully even though it wasn't the easy thing to do.)