Folks in my current age bracket grew up in a society where God was mostly recognized and honored; we had a healthy respect for Him, even in homes where He was not regularly worshipped. Our home was like that. As kids, my siblings and I went to summer Vacation Bible Schools. We did the yearly Easter visit—mostly to show off our new clothes. Sometimes we did the Christmas visit, especially to the Moravian church around the bend where the annual Love Feast was held. Other than that, we didn’t do church. The habit of our household was to sleep in late on Sundays.
But inside of me, in the very center of my being, I knew there had to be more than that. I had this terrible, lonely—almost suffocating–emptiness that couldn’t be filled with records or clothes or anything that I thought I just had to have. I remember hearing BJ Thomas sing, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and I just knew I’d never live another week if I didn’t have that record. So, I bought it. I listened to that song over and over for about two weeks. And then, I found something else I needed if I were to live through the next week.
I was left at the end of each quest still searching for that one thing that would permanently fill my soul. Looking back, I see that this was more than just teenage angst; it was a burning desire placed inside of me by a Holy God to get to know Him and embrace His son Jesus as my Savior.
It wasn’t as if I hadn’t searched for God. I remember that as a child I would lie in the grass and look at the clouds and all the beauty around me, and I just knew Someone big had made all that. I just didn’t realize how personal that “Someone” could become in a life.
In the summer of 1972, just after I graduated high school, a friend told me about Jesus. I was in a time of crisis and broken, and when this friend shared Jesus, it was literally as if the light turned on inside of me. Indeed, it had, because when I heard about Jesus, I understood beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was the one and only thing that would fill my empty, lonely soul. Once I understood that Jesus was the answer to all my need and that only He could take away the sin and anguish I felt, I asked Him to be my Savior and take control of my life. That is exactly what He did; and in the days that followed making that decision, I just knew that I’d never need anything else to fill that gaping hole, because the Holy Spirit moved in and sealed every crevice of my fractured life and brought me hope.
If you know anything of my life after Jesus, you know that it hasn’t been a smooth ride. That’s another story for another time. What I want you to understand is that God has never left me alone. The peace of Jesus still guards my soul. The Holy Spirit still moves and guides as I navigate the challenges of this world.
His love amazes me. Before I was born, He loved me. Before anyone told me about God and His Son, and by His design, my heart was already searching for Him. He has filled the empty places.
He can do the same for you. Jesus really is the answer. He’s not promising that you won’t experience difficulties—He did, after all. What Jesus promises is that He will never leave you, never forsake you. He is what makes each day better, no matter the circumstances of our lives. I pray you have trusted Him for the salvation and peace only He can offer, and if you have not, I pray you will.