On December 18, 1978, the Lord Jesus Christ saved me from my sins and my self. I was just a month past my 21st birthday, and had been aware of a painful emptiness in my life since I was 10 or 11 years old. Watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969, I wondered what they went there looking for, and if it was the same thing I was looking for: answers.
Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? What’s wrong with the world? Can it be fixed? Although there’s nothing original about these questions, these are things we have to know if we’re ever to satisfy our thirst for identity and purpose.
Throughout my teen years, I began to read the answers of philosophy, religion, and science, to see if I could stop this aching loneliness in my heart and mind. And they all failed … miserably and thoroughly.
The failure of philosphy
Philosophies tried to tell me that I was the supreme ruler of my own destiny, and that my subjective views were all that mattered. That left me close to suicidal. One religion after another gave me a prescription for somehow “earning my way” into some deity’s favor, yet when I asked, “Yes, but how?”, I found neither the will nor the ability to live up to those tenets.
And when I tried, I had no assurance of what was adequate, making me the victim of a cruel guessing game. Darwinism asked me to believe that substance came from nothing, that order came from chaos, and that life came from non-life. And that I was an accidental by-product of a purposeless process, that went in reverse from all scientific methodology. And atheism? It was simply illogical nonsense … defiance of God in disguise.
The failure of pleasure
In pain, I turned to extensive drug use and aggressive amusements, in an effort to drown out the torment in my mind and soul. And the damage they eventually did only compounded my suffering, and added further loneliness and misery to my existence. I even failed a couple of attempts at suicide, because I was too afraid of what might await me afterwards.
A gift that changed my life
At 19 years old, someone who cared bought me a Bible. I’d grown up going to a popular Protestant denomination, and always had some sort of respect for what was taught in its pages … but nothing more. I saw “going to church” as a community feel-good club, where people were deluding themselves into thinking they were something more than they were.
I preferred drugs, because they provided the same feelings without the moral obligations.
But as I read the Bible for myself (especially the first 5 chapters of “Romans”), I began to realize that what was in it could only have been written by “Someone” who knew me right at the core of my being. Here were the answers to my questions, and I came to realize that I was designed by a loving, all-wise Creator, to have a living relationship with Him.
But unlike religion, it wasn’t up to me to earn my way into His favor, for He had already provided the remedy for that. My problem wasn’t an intellectual one, it was a moral one. And this thing which the Bible calls “sin” was what kept me apart from knowing God.
Peace at last!
That wasn’t an obstacle for God. In love which transcends description, He sent His only beloved Son (Jesus Christ) to take the death penalty for my sins. He became my Substitute, and when I realized and trusted in what He had already done for me, the emptiness was gone. In an instant, in a completely unexpected way, He forgave all that I had ever done, and filled my soul with assurance and joy.
I didn’t understand it, and I’ve spent the last four decades trying to measure it all out so it could be explained. But one thing I do know is that the moment I trusted that Christ had died for my sins, my questions were answered. I now know who I am and why I am. He not only satisfied divine justice, but He satisfied the deepest needs of my soul. You have no need to reject Him … He has everything you’re truly looking for.