Friday, January 1, 2016

On This Day in History

37 years ago, my mom and I were sitting in the car waiting for my brother and my dad. I don't know where they were, but we were waiting. I was sitting in the red backseat of that old white Nova staring into the starlit sky.

It was cold. Usually is in Michigan in January. We had just rung in the New Year watching a Christian film at our church, A Thief in the Night. Literally scared me to pieces. I remember asking my mom,

"Mom, why didn't those people come back?" (referring to Christians that God raptured up in the movie)

"Because they were raptured up and once you go to Heaven, you can't come back."

I knew I wanted to go to Heaven when it was time for everyone to go. I knew that if He was going to rapture people to Heaven, I didn't want to be left alone without my parents. I knew at the tender age of 4 (it was the night before my birthday, so I could technically be considered 5) that I wasn't going to go. So I asked Jesus to take me to Heaven when I die. Just like that. Simple. But I believed that He would.

I consider that night the night I received Jesus as my Saviour. When I tell people that, they always ask me if I knew what I was doing. If I understood enough to really believe that God heard me and saved me. To be honest, for quite a few years, those questions threw me for a loop.

I knew that I needed Jesus to take me to Heaven. I knew He was the only Way there. I knew I was a sinner - sheesh, I'm a redhead, for crying out loud! Good night, everyone knew I was a sinner! I knew that if the rapture occurred that night, I wouldn't be on my way to Heaven if I didn't do something about it.

I made sure I was saved a little later with my parents. Then I made sure again with an older, wiser friend. Then I made sure again after our first child was born. Goodness, I made sure over and over and over and over. I was scared spitless that somehow, I had messed it up and didn't do everything correctly. That I didn't say the right words. Or that I didn't understand enough. Or a million other what ifs. Those questions haunted me for many years.

Reading your Bible can really answer a lot of questions. All in fact. I was a bit older when I read:

Mark 10:13-15 (KJV)
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

and again: 
I John 5:13 (KJV)
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.

And I knew that God heard me. So, today is my spiritual birthday. Today, I turn 37 as a born-again believer in the finished work of Christ on Calvary, and tomorrow is my physical birthday. I'll be 42. Not too bad.

I sit here and wonder. How often do we discourage others from receiving Christ as their Saviour on the grounds that "they probably don't understand it all yet"?  Will we 'seasoned' Christians ever understand everything that God did for us in sending Jesus to die for us? Praise the Good Lord if you do, because honestly, I'm still in awe of this Perfect Sacrifice. I don't understand everything there is to understand about salvation or Hell or Heaven or even the rapture, but I do understand that Jesus is the only Way to Heaven.

So Happy Birthday to me and to all the people out there who have Jesus in their heart. May 2016 be an excellent year for us!