I Knew That Raising My Hand
Was Not Enough to Get Me to Heaven
My name is Donna Anger, and this is my story. My parents had always taken me and my twin sister to church. Then something happened, and we started attending a different church. This new church was even further from our home in New Britain, Pa.
What had “happened?” As a small child, I wasn’t sure. I remember only hearing my mom say she “had never heard this message in my old church.”
In this new church, the preacher talked about God, heaven, hell, sin, etc., and he read from the Bible a lot, too. As a six-year-old child, I had my own Bible and really liked this church.
“But, it bothered me when the preacher asked, ‘Do you know for sure if you are going to Heaven?'”
Of course, I wanted to go to Heaven. My sister told me that if I raised my hand when the preacher asked the question, then I’d go to Heaven. So, I raised my hand – but deep down, I knew there was more to it than that. How could raising my hand get me to Heaven? Even being raised in a Christian home did not seem to be enough.
So, one September day in 1970, as mom was driving us to school, I started asking her questions. She pulled the car over to the side of the road and gave me answers from the Bible. At that point I saw that I didn’t deserve Heaven, and I saw my personal need for Christ.
“I was only six-and-a-half years of age, but I knew I had sin and that Christ had died in my place in order for me to have forgiveness.”
One Bible verse in particular sticks out in my memory. Mom quoted from the book of Romans, chapter 10, verse 13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I knew there was nothing I could do on my own to make myself right before God. So, there in the car, behind the New Britain Elementary School, I prayed and asked God to forgive me, and I accepted Him as my own Savior.
From that day on, I no longer had to wonder whether I would be going to Heaven. I had come to God on the terms He set forth in the Bible and had accepted Him in a personal way. According to the Bible, I now had everlasting life and would someday go to be with God forever. I felt greatly relieved – I knew it was settled. At recess, I told my friend, Ann, what I had done. I was excited and wanted to share it.
“Now my Bible has become a treasure – God’s Word right in my hands.”
Ever since that time, it has been my desire to please God with my life. He has done so much for me over the years. In 1981, I went to Bible College to study the Bible and also elementary education. It was there I met a young man from Hawaii. Tim and I were married in 1985. I enjoyed teaching school for a few years, until the birth of our first daughter. We now have five children that we are privileged to raise and to teach – not “my” beliefs, but what the Bible says about the purpose for their lives.
God has a purpose for your life, too. I would love to tell you more about this personal God.