Most expected that I was a believer, coming from a typical Christian family. But truth be told, I wasn't. I wasn't interested. Most Sunday services I sat there day dreaming away the time, hoping it would go a little faster.
Deep down inside I did believe God existed, and a part of me wanted to know what He was really all about. Nevertheless, a greater part of me lacked the realization of the devastating state of sinfulness I was trapped in.
I put on the mask for several years - Not wanting the truth to get out to the public, and not wanting to disappoint my hoping parents.
It was in January of 2009 that I had decided to read the Bible through in a year. Mentally I came to a point where I thought I had a real connection to God, that a relationship was there. But in my heart, I was still as prideful and selfish as I had ever been, if not more. Shortly after, near the end of February, I made a bold step to attend a youth group where I knew absolutely no one. The courage it took was most certainly a gift from Providence.
Months later, I realized the truth. I could no longer fool myself.
I didn't know God.
And with that, I certainly didn't love Him. I loved myself.
I had been reading the Bible, praying, all of it, for myself. Because it made me feel like a good enough person.
It was a Spring night that all of it fell apart. Who was I really? A liar.
Who did I want to be? Truly a child of God.
I had come to the realization that I was a complete sinner. I feel that I caught a glimpse of what Hell must be like, the moment I realized my current separation from God. With that brief glimpse, I knew it was something I most definitely didn't want to ever actually experience, especially for an eternity.
What made it most painful was knowing that there was no way I could fix any of it. I was stuck.
How could God ever forgive me? Why should He love me?
I cried out to Him, begging for forgiveness. My heart was devastated. In that moment, I realized that life without God was not worth living.
What should I do?
It was several days later that a concerned Mother was forcing me to discuss whatever burdens had been plaguing my heart to my Father.
And so I did. For hours. With many tears.
And it was at the end of it all, then he held my hands and prayed with me.
The brokenness I felt in my heart had been eternally repaired. I did not fix any of it - no He did. Jesus and what He did 2,000 years ago on the cross for me, for you, for all, is what fixed it. He met me where I was at, in all of my shame, in all of my regret, in all of my selfishness. He restored me. That was the day that I knew Jesus had made me white as snow.
But that is not the only day I experienced the Gospel--no--as believers, every day we should experience the Gospel, because life after salvation is a life of sanctification. Our day of salvation is only the beginning of a continuing process. I still struggle with sin. I still mess up. But now I have the strength of Jesus to depend on, not my own. He is all I need.
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”