“Ye Who Are Weary, Come Home!”
My name is Bethany and this is my story of how I came to accept Jesus Christ as the payment for my sin. I grew up in a Christian home, faithfully attending church with my family. Every time those church doors were open, we were there – Sunday school, Sunday morning, Sunday evening and even Wednesday night. Even though I was so submersed in “church culture” at a young age, I had absolutely no interest in spiritual things. Oh, I memorized Bible verses, I knew we all have a soul, I knew that if you died you’d go to Heaven or Hell, I sang hymns and bowed my head when it was time to pray, but everything I did was external.
“I had so much ‘head knowledge’ of Jesus Christ, but no ‘heart knowledge.'”
The older I got the less I was interested in going to church and abiding by the rules that my parents had put in place. I saw the church as a place filled with nothing but hypocrisy, rules and regulations to keep me from having a good time. I rebelled at a young age and in no time at all I was involved in everything the church and my parents had warned me to stay away from. I thought that this was really living! Everyone had warned me about the “consequences” of a sinful lifestyle and partying, but no one told me how much fun it would be either! Proverbs 9:17 says “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” Oh how deceived I was! The more I partied, and the more I rebelled, the more discontented and unhappy I became. I thought that moving out of my parents’ house would solve all my problems because then there would be absolutely no one to tell me how to live my life.
When I moved out, my partying ways became a full-blown lifestyle, and the consequences that I’d been warned about caught up to me fast. There was a void in my heart that was constantly growing and no matter how much I drank, how much I smoked, I just couldn’t seem to fill it.
“I couldn’t understand what was wrong – this was the lifestyle I WANTED!”
One night my friend, Tyler Hammond, called me and told me that he had been saved and accepted Jesus Christ into his heart. (NOTE: saved, salvation, and born again are Biblical terms, referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin.) He was so excited and wanted to tell me all about it! I didn’t feel like hearing anything about Jesus or salvation but he was so excited that I grudgingly agreed to meet him. When we met, Tyler explained the story of how he had come to Jesus. At the end of his story he prayed with me and then he told me that I needed to be saved. I had tens of thousands of reasons why I thought Christianity was bogus. He told me that being saved and being a Christian wasn’t just a bunch of rules. Then he asked me a question that instantly left me speechless. Tyler said “If you would die and go to hell tonight, who are you going to blame for turning down the gift of salvation?” I had absolutely no reply. He told all I needed to do was pray to Jesus in faith and ask for forgiveness for my sins, trusting that He would save my soul. I told him that by now it was far too late, I’d sinned too much, but he replied that Jesus could meet me wherever I’m at. No matter what I did, Jesus could reach to my level and save me. I knew in that moment that I was a desperate sinner who would spend an eternity in hell if I died that night. I felt a wave of emotion hit me, guilt because I knew that I was a sinner and needed Jesus, regret because of my sinful lifestyle, and sadness because I wasn’t ready to give up my sin. The Holy Spirit was convicting my soul but still I held fast to my sin.
Within the next few weeks I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I was so riddled with sadness and anxiety that I moved back home and started attending church with my parents again in order to salve my conscience and soothe my soul. On March 13th, my family had left for church and I decided to stay home because I didn’t feel like church was helping me, so why bother going. I felt so restless that I was literally pacing. I went to our piano to play a song to somehow distract myself. When I sat down there was a hymnbook open to a hymn I had heard many times but suddenly the words, and their meaning spoke to my heart.
“Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me.
See, on the portals,
He’s waiting and watching;
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling;
Calling, ‘O sinner, come home!’”
Once again that feeling of conviction washed over me but this time I knelt down right there at the piano and cried out to God to save me. Jesus gave me mercy (not getting what I deserve) and pardon (penalty removed for what I’ve done). There were no fireworks or dramatic feelings, just a simple peace knowing that I was resting and relying on God from this point forward. The Bible says in Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you are a troubled soul who feels no peace and has no purpose in life, please come to the Lord. No matter what you’ve done He is always ready and willing to accept you with open arms. Don’t wait, come home to Jesus.