Why Is It Such Good News?
-Crystal Shearer

Why Is It Such Good News?

My name is Crystal Shearer, and this is my story.
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I was baptized as a baby and attended a private school for the first half of my grade school years; then in 6th grade, I began attending public school: Eyer Middle School and then Emmaus High School. Half way through high school, my athletic participation came to a pause when I fell down the stairs and hurt my back. I sought help, but nothing seemed to permanently resolve the issue. I continued to attend that same church of which I was baptized, but God seemed like an unreachable figure that became an after thought to me. The motions during the services did not sit right within my heart because if God was indeed living, then why would He want us to be reading lectionaries to Him? I also wondered, if God was personal, then how would the same prayers each week get us closer to Him?

After graduating high school, I attended college at IUP. During that time, I did not attend a single church service but considered myself “spiritual,” only praying when I needed Him and at times questioning if God even existed. I continued in the lusts of the flesh, living day by day without thinking eternally about the possible consequences for my actions. Matthew 7:13-14 explains that I was on the broad and very common path to destruction. While I still secretly questioned God’s existence, I began to notice His hand in my life, oftentimes delivering or protecting me from many incidences of which I should have ended poorly for me, but He always kept me safe.
During the last semester of college, I was able to work as a personal trainer at a local gym near my home and become an intern at another more medical-based fitness center to fulfill my graduation requirements. While I was in the best physical shape of my life at that time, my back pain returned with vengeance. The next weekend of working at the gym, I saw a vertebral column of bones hanging, and I thought, “Maybe whoever owns that can help my back.” The owner of that spine was a chiropractor – Dr. Lino Zarrillo – who had an office at the gym where I worked. Both he and his wife, Dr. Michelle Zarrillo, welcomed me to their church, then into their home, and showed me God’s truths through a 4-week Bible study. They unveiled the sinful nature which we naturally possess when we are born into the world. That sin has separated us from God (“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2), which explained why I felt so out of touch and distant from God when I had attended church services throughout my life.
"While I still secretly questioned God’s existence, I began to notice His hand in my life, oftentimes delivering or protecting me from many incidences of which I should have ended poorly for me, but He always kept me safe.”
During the study, they even proved the Bible’s incredible accuracy and how it contained nothing but the truth from God, revealing Himself through the inspiration of many different men of different educations, throughout different centuries, and even written on different continents, yet God’s miraculous ways proved itself by preserving His complete Word with countless references within each other and prophecies that have and are still being fulfilled with absolute perfection. I learned that while man’s attempt to God is religion (Ephesians 2:8-9), God’s only attempt to man is through the sinless blood of the Lamb and Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The Zarrillos also showed me the extreme contrasts throughout the Bible. In many instances within the Gospels, people who are blind, demonically possessed, or ill and near unto death; with their faith, they came unto Jesus and were made whole through Him alone; then leaving and rejoicing in peace with joy and were cured of their ailment. I acknowledged other contrasts which really pricked my heart and made me fearful of continuing the only way of which I have known: I knew that without Christ, I was unforgiven by God (Romans 4:6-8) and not yet forgiven by Him (Ephesians 1:7). I was condemned (John 3:18) and not yet justified (Romans 5:1,9), regardless of how often I went to church or helped others (Ephesians 2:8-9). And I knew that I was as lost (Luke 19:10) as a sheep without a shepherd, but longed to be saved (Romans 10:13).

Through those verses, the Lord began to slowly convict me of my sins, I knew that I did not yet have a personal relationship with God. The Holy Spirit made it very clear to me that I was spiritually ill, unforgiven, condemned, and lost, in dire need of putting my faith in the Great Physician of the Bible. These contrasts helped me understand why I felt distant from God all of my life: because He was, indeed, separated because He abhors all sin and cannot see it. If I was going to get to have the personal and real relationship with God that I noticed a few others had, I knew that I needed Jesus Christ alone to make me whole and cleanse me of all of my unrighteousness.
"I sought God with my whole heart in repentance and faith and acknowledged God’s Son was crucified for my sins.”
I continued learning and searching. Matthew 7:7-8 stuck with me and encouraged me to keep seeking: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” After 9 months of searching, I was beyond blessed and undeserving to personally experience the promise of that verse fulfilled by God! I was finally able to fully open my heart to the One and only One that can and has covered all of my sins both past, present, and future. I sought God with my whole heart in repentance and faith and acknowledged God’s Son was crucified for my sins.
Just as Amazing Grace states, “I was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see,” upon the instant of being born again (John 3:3) on August 25th, 2016, I was found by God and gained a completely new, eternally-minded perspective. Since then, I no longer fear death (1 Cor. 15:55-56), I find myself loving the brethren (1 John 4) who have also been born of the Spirit (John 3), and experienced the beginning of a new purpose for my life which has since never left me as I get to fellowship daily with God, who blesses me beyond measure in so many different ways which I do not deserve. It was not through myself, but through His Son’s stripes that I have been healed (1 Peter 2:24-5)!

Through fully trusting in Jesus to cover my sins, being justified and forgiven by God, I am now able to have the personal relationship with God that was intended before the fall of man by sin. He personally answers my prayers very often and brings me comfort and fulfillment in life, while gradually showing me areas of my heart to improve for Him as I continue in His Word and His personal will for my life. My soul both longs to learn more about God and loves singing and praying in Spirit and in truth. Just as 1 John 5:13 says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God,” I am positive and so grateful that through Jesus, the Great Physician, my heavenly Father has adopted me as His own! (Romans 8:15)