On September 11, 2000, my life was changed forever. I would like to share with you what God has done in my life. Back when I was five or six I remember “praying the prayer” of salvation, but it was just out of fear of Hell. As I grew older, I realized that was not true salvation. I didn’t really worry about it though. I trained my mind to think that all was okay, and that such a loving God would never let such a “good girl” like me go to Hell.
When I got in the youth group, it got very hard to convince myself I was all right in God’s eyes; deep down inside my heart I knew nothing was right. Salvation messages concerned me even more than they did before, and I got concerned enough to do a Bible study with my Mom. As I went through the Bible study, my heart really wasn’t in it. All the things we went over were familiar things I had known for a long time. “I certainly had a lot of head knowledge about salvation, but definitely no heart knowledge.” I certainly had a lot of head knowledge about salvation, but definitely no heart knowledge. I did not see myself as God saw me, which was a filthy, dirty sinner in need of repentance, but a “good girl” who had to search really deep to find anything wrong with her.
After the Bible study was over, my Mom told me whenever I needed to talk, she would be available. As I heard salvation messages, I would get really scared. I would talk to her because I was so afraid the Lord would return and I would not be ready. Message after message went by, but I would just push my nagging thoughts away. I thought I had plenty of time to worry about getting saved.
We had a winter camp in January, 2000, and I went thinking that this could be the time, but I ended up leaving because I got sick. Why did I have to leave when I could have gotten saved? Was it too late for me to get saved? During that summer, our Assistant Pastor asked me point blank, “What is the condition of your soul?” I told him I knew I was lost, I truly wanted to get saved, but didn’t know what to do. He told me that if I desired to get saved, I should ask God to save me right then. I immediately began to think, “The Lord won’t save me right now.” I pushed off the opportunity to get saved again! I couldn’t fall asleep right away that night because I was trying to figure out why I could not get saved.
A new school year began, and our pastor started off the year preaching a message on salvation every day for two weeks. The messages seemed to be directed right to me. One question that stuck in my head was, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” That Sunday I again heard a message about salvation. The invitation song that followed went like this,
“Why do you wait, dear brother?
What will you gain by a further delay?
Why not, why not, why not come to Him now?”
I could not understand what was wrong with me. Why could I not come to Him now?
During the afternoon I decided to try to figure out again why I could not get saved. I got the sheet with all the verses we had gone over in the Bible study, and looked up all the verses I could find about faith and repentance. I thought, “There had to be something I was missing,” but all the verses I read said the same thing, you must repent and believe in order to be saved. My Dad saw me reading my Bible, so he thought it was the appropriate time to start playing this song on the piano,
“The Savior is waiting to enter your heart,
why don’t you let Him come in?
There is nothing in this world to keep you apart.
What is your answer to Him?
Time after time He has waited before,
and now He is waiting again.
To see if you’re willing to open the door.
Oh, how He wants to come in?”
That night I could not get rid of the conviction like I had been able to other times. The next morning, September 11, 2000, I woke up around 4:30 a.m., and could not go back to sleep. I just tossed and turned, so miserable under the conviction of my sin, and I felt such a pressure to do something. I heard my Dad get up, and I nearly leaped out of bed to go talk to him. “What is wrong with me, Dad?” I asked. “I am so confused about everything. Why can’t I figure out what to do?” My Dad showed me the verse in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” He told me we couldn’t figure out salvation because God does not think like we think. All we need to do is trust that He knows what He is doing, and just come to Him. I was still confused, so he gave me a pamphlet, he told me to go back to my room, read it, and really think about it.
I went back and started reading the pamphlet, but it was all the familiar verses I had read the day before. They were all about repentance and faith. I knew my Dad had told me God does not ask you to figure out salvation, but I was still confused. How could I get saved without figuring out what to do? At the end of the pamphlet it said, “Your choice is clear – it is either sin or Christ. What will you do? Receive Christ now into your heart as your Lord and Savior and have eternal life OR Reject Him now and continue on your road to Hell?” I knew I didn’t want my sin, and I saw I was a very wicked person who didn’t deserve such a wonderful Savior, and I wanted to be His child. Of course, the devil did not want Christ to be my Savior, and he started filling my mind with his deceitful lies. What if I was the only one that Christ did not want to save? Everyone else had this wonderful salvation, but I would never have it.
My parents tried counseling me, but the devil had me around his little finger. No matter what my parents told me about God loving me, I was convinced I would never be able to get saved. I remember my Dad saying, “You are going through a battle, Becky. The devil doesn’t want you to get saved, and he and the Lord are fighting for you now. Whatever you do, Becky, do NOT let Satan win!” They prayed with me, and sent me to school.
I went to chapel that morning determined to talk to someone after the message. Our pastor began preaching about knowing the will of God in your life, and I soon began to relax. Maybe I would not have to worry about that annoying conviction since this was a message to those who were saved. Then I heard him say, “It is not God’s will that you remain lost.” After I had gone through all the doubting that God didn’t want to save me, that statement made me realize my thinking was definitely not right. Pastor Hammett had us turn to two passages. The first one was 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that ANY should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Then we turned to 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“Those verses certainly convinced me that God truly wanted me to be saved, but I still had that question, How?
As if he had read my mind, the pastor looked right at me and asked, “Becky, if I asked you to come up here what would you do? All I could think to say was, “Come up there.” Then to everyone he said, “That is all God asks is that we come to Him.” I don’t remember anything else from the message except that I was determined to remain seated after the message, and ask to talk with someone. As I clung to my seat I began wondering, “What if God won’t save me?”
My friend, Kristin, came to talk to me. I told her how much I truly desired to get saved, yet how worried I was that God would not save me. She turned to John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” She told me that I had to ask God to save me, believing that He would. If I did not truly believe He would save me, I was really guilty of unbelief.
“When she said that to me, it was like a “light bulb” turned on, and I knew what I had to do.” When she said that to me, it was like a “light bulb” turned on, and I knew what I had to do. She asked me if I wanted to pray or just leave, and I told her if I left again I probably would not have another chance. Right then and there I surrendered my life to the Lord, I repented of my sins, and believed that God would save me.
After I prayed, Kristin quoted Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I knew I had done exactly that, and at that very moment a tremendous peace flooded my soul. I knew for the first time I was God’s child, and was on my way to Heaven. It was definitely not something I had done on my own. My “good works” had not gained a relationship with God; it was only God’s amazing grace that could save a wretch like me.