Fearing Death Led Me to Salvation
-Madelyn Rivera

Fearing Death Led Me to Salvation

My name is Madelyn Rivera, and this is my story.

I was raised as a Catholic and went to church with my parents regularly on Sunday mornings. I was never taught about salvation. My parents eventually left the church, leaving me with no religion to follow. As an adult I kept on going back because that was all I knew. I thought that I was somehow OK with God because I was baptized and confessed my sins to the priest, but I always felt empty and lost and then stopped going all together.

I was in a relationship with a man and for years wanted to start a family, but was told by doctors that I couldn’t have children. This made me bitter and ask God, “Why me?” My relationship ended soon after. A year later, I met the man who became my husband, and I decided to accept that I would never become a mother. As the years went by, I developed diabetes, and then the doctor told me that I had a heart valve condition that would need open heart surgery. This news pushed me over the edge. I became very depressed and always feared death, so I prayed for God to help me.
My sister invited me to Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. The following Sunday I went to church. I enjoyed the message that Pastor Roland Hammett was preaching. He explained the Word of God very clearly. I had never understood the Bible before then. I started attending a Bible Study and learned, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) I also learned that I had broken God’s commandments. This made me realize I was a sinner, and even though I tried to be a good person by helping others, my good deeds could not save me. If I didn’t repent and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I would go to hell when I died.
"I became very depressed and always feared death, so I prayed for God to help me.”
One Sunday morning in 2012, when the pastor gave the invitation, I went to the front. I was taken to a room where someone opened the Bible and explained all about salvation. I prayed right there and gave my life to God – I was saved that day. "For whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

I continued to visit church off and on and make some changes in my life. I had a sudden urge to lose weight and to better my health, not knowing the blessing I was going to receive that would change my life forever. Months later, I went to the doctor with some unknown symptoms and found out I was going to be a mother. What a blessing and what a mighty God we serve! “With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:16)
"As the weeks went by, I felt a peace and relief in my heart because God never gave up on me, and He gave me assurance of my salvation.”
I continued to visit church, but still struggled with sin and doubting my salvation. On May 12, 2017, I lost my father unexpectedly and wondered if he was saved. This made me think again about where I was going to spend eternity. It took my dad’s passing to make me realize I needed to be right with the Lord. I reached out to Garry Castner, who preached my dad’s funeral, and he encouraged me to go through the salvation Bible study again. I met with a lady from church for the studies, and immediately the Lord was working in my life again. I grew closer to Him through the Scriptures.
As the weeks went by, I felt a peace and relief in my heart because God never gave up on me, and He gave me assurance of my salvation. I am a different person, lifted from all my sins. I now get convicted when I disobey God’s law, which is an assurance that God is my Savior. “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God.” (Psalm 62:7)

Death can strike suddenly and unexpectedly. Please don’t wait until it is too late to give your life to the Lord. Repent of your sins and believe in Him, so that you too can be sure you will go to heaven. “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.” (I John 5:13)