In High School, I realized that life was passing me by. I became determined to change things, to find fulfillment.  I looked to people who I felt were successful and started to imitate their ways. I changed the way I walked, I learned the "in" things to say and jokes to tell, and I got myself a girl friend. Still, deep inside me, I knew that I was missing out on something. 

"If God doesn't really exist, then what's the point in living?"
 
I stared out at the Californian mountains pondering my existence; only 15 years old. I had grown up in a religious family knowing about spiritual things, but my life felt empty. I was conflicted; one side wanted everything that this life was offering me: sex, drugs, money, power and prestige while the other quietly hinted at other lesser-known realities in my life: purpose, peace, love, forgiveness and joy.
 

Many people think that being religious is the key to finding spiritual power and contentment. In my case, even though I thought I was very religious, I was not experiencing these things, until, through some life-changing events, I found the answers. 

When I was a child, my mother took me to church every week, where I prayed and heard spiritual teaching.  I was given a Bible, which I enjoyed reading.  These religious activities were good things, but I needed a deeper reality of God in my life. 

I was afraid I'd be a SINGLE school teacher of other peoples' kids with none of my own... if I really gave my life to God!

When I was only seven years old, it became clear to me that I could have Jesus as my own Savior-not just because of my parents' faith. Though young, I really knew He was in my life because of His promise in the Bible: "The Lord goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deut 31:8, Heb 13:5)

If there really is a God...  I am sure He is not very happy with me.  And I KNOW that He would want nothing to do with me. 

Can you relate to those thoughts?  For most of my life I had very few thoughts about God.  I figured if He did exist - He sure didn't love me.  Because you see - I wasn't a very good guy.  In my childhood, I tormented my younger brother and sisters - and as I grew older, I experimented with drugs and alcohol.  If there was a way get ahead by lying or stealing - I would do it.  Why not?  I figured anyone else would do the same thing - so why get left behind?

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