My Testimony

 

My parents literally raised me in church.  (We couldn't afford a house, so we kind of hung out there during the week -- just kidding.)  My first memories of church are of a little white frame building.  It had these weird ceiling lights that I remember because, as a very small child, I spent a lot of my time lying down on the pew looking up at the ceiling.  I remember my dad working on the new building: a strange A-Frame accordion-roofed thing.  Where did they find that architect?

When I was about five, a wave of child salvations swept through the church.  The pastor's youngest son (and my friend) was saved, and on the night of his baptism I decided it would be really cool to get into that big round black tank the church had down front for baptisms. (I'm telling you, it was a really weird building.)  When we got home, I told my parents that I wanted "to be saved."  I had no idea what I was talking about.  I just wanted a chance to get into that pool.  I remember my father kneeling beside me and praying, but I don't remember anything he said.  I do remember that, when instructed to pray, I clasped my hands and (silently) rehearsed the words, "God is great, God is good," and so on.  Whatever my thoughts and motivations, I knew that I had certainly pleased my family, for there were all sorts of celebratory words and smiles and tears of joy.  Ironically, I really don't even remember my desired and anticipated descent into that baptismal pool.

Many years went by.  I never gave those events or the issue of my eternal salvation a moment's thought.  One Sunday morning, at the age of nine or ten, our preacher spoke of Satan's attempts to hide one of his lost souls somewhere safe.   Satan considered a bar, but no, some old preacher might come down there and witness to him.  He thought of a gambling hall and various other dens of iniquity, but in each case Lucifer was concerned about the possibility that his victim would become aware of his lost state and repent.  Instead, the devil decided, he would hide the poor lost soul on a church pew and give him a false belief in his salvation.  In that way, the wayward man will sit in comfort, believing himself to be saved, until one day he dies and wakes up in hell.

In that moment, the Holy Spirit touched my young heart and caused me to reconsider the events of that Sunday night so long ago.  What had I understood about my soul when I asked to be "saved."  What had I prayed as I knelt there beside my father?  Was I saved?  Suddenly, I realized that I was not.   I was (as one of my old preachers used to say) "lost as a ball in high weeds."  Typically, folks who are under conviction walk the aisle at the end of the service to ask for and receive instruction on how to receive the Lord into their heart.  I needed no instruction; I had heard all my life.  Besides, our church was quite near the airport.  Suppose a plane should crash into the building before the service ended?  I couldn't take that chance!  Sitting right there on that pew, I bowed my head and (silently) asked the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sins and to save me.  There were many times in later years that I doubted and questioned, worried and fretted, but I now know and trust that He did.  My salvation does not depend upon how well I behave, or how hard I hold on (thank God!)  My salvation depends upon the Promise and Faithfulness of the One who now holds on to me! *

A lot has happened to me in this life.  There have been struggles and ups and downs, but the most important fact about me is this:  that I am adopted into the family of God, born again as a child of Abraham, and that whatever happens to me in this life, the moment that I die will be the moment that I truly begin to live.


*"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:   And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." [John 10:27-29]

 

Copyright 2004 Raymond K. Paden
Page last modified  05/17/2015