He Found Something Real
How thankful I am to be able to say that I am saved. It is not that I think I am saved or am guessing that I am saved. I know for sure that Jesus Christ lifted a burden of sin off my life.
It happened on a Saturday night in August of 1980, in Murphysboro, Illinois. I was in a church service somewhat reluctantly, sitting in the second row from the back. That night it seemed like God himself spoke to me.
The first time I remember hearing the terms “born again” or “saved,” I was about twenty-four years old, and it did not really affect me that much. I thought salvation was probably good; there seemed to be a lot of people who needed it, but I didn’t feel I was one of them. However, that night was different. During the sermon, the minister said, “God owes each of us only one chance at salvation. Everything else is extra.” Right then it seemed that I heard a Voice saying, “This is your chance.” It was so real that I even turned around to see who had said it, but nobody was directly behind me.
At first I fought against God’s call. After the service ended, a couple came and talked to me about praying. I was holding my little girl in my arms, kind of in self-defense, but after a few minutes I went down to the front and knelt at the altar of prayer. At first I thought about what I would have to give up, and all the things I would miss out on by getting saved. But after a while, I said, “God, if You are really there, and if there is something real that is not a part-time religion but something that will last seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, I will give it a try. If You will give the strength, then I will give you everything.”
I had spent the prior eight years in the Navy, and had seen a lot of people who claimed religion but did not live it. I wanted no part of that. But when I made that commitment down in my heart, in just a moment of time the saving power of God came down. I felt a physical weight lift from my shoulders! I didn’t need someone to talk me into something. I knew that something definite had happened inside. I could stand up and say I was saved.
The Lord put a thrill in my soul that day that has lasted. God is still real in my life. His saving grace is still good. In fact, it is better today than it ever has been, and by the grace of God, I plan on making Heaven my home.