This is the second and final part of my testimony. The first half was a bit destructive. Now, you get to see how God grabbed a hold of my life. It is amazing and I am so thankful for Jesus. Enjoy!
One bright, but relatively cool September morning began to take form and shape as I awoke to tackle the day’s appointed tasks. My mom woke up and seemed eager to ask me if I wanted to take a walk. I agreed. Thirty minutes later, after a brief breakfast and a quick completion of a few chores, we were off. I remember vividly the events that unfolded during that walk. I was on my mom’s left side and we were heading towards Esplanade from Yorba street. We soon curled our way around to Fairhaven, finally reaching the last leg of our journey homeward, which usually came quicker than we expected.
She asked me one simple, but extremely moving question that is stamped in my brain: “Do you know Jesus?” I was taken aback by the question. I replied, “Of course, I have gone to church with you guys every Sunday. I know a little bit about Christian doctrine, I know the sinner’s prayer, I know all that.” As I was answering her, she remained calm and quiet. There was a sense of peace surrounding her that made me think of my own pitiful life filled with sin and the desires of the world. She replied thoughtfully, “Knowing Jesus is not about going to church, knowing Christian doctrine, knowing the sinner’s prayer. People can go to church, understand some Christian doctrine, know the sinner’s prayer, and still die in their sins. It is all about a personal relationship with the Savior of the world— Jesus Christ.”
I was stunned silent. She knew that God was shedding some light on my soul, so she continued, but this time illuminating my heart with the truths of the gospel. She asked me, “Why did Jesus come to die?” “To die for our sins,” I answered. “Yes, but don’t you see it. God‘s moral standard is perfection. You, Josh, must be perfect if you have any chance of making it into heaven. Since no one is perfect, God graciously and mercifully provided a way to redeem mankind from their utter hopelessness and depravity. He didn’t have to. We despised him, rejected him, reviled him, spat in his face— all because of our sin. But God, because of the great love with which he loved us, crushed his son Jesus Christ on the cross to redeem and reconcile mankind back to himself. Jesus was cruelly beaten, reviled, and condemned to die upon one of the most excruciating devices ever fathomed by mankind. He died to save mankind from their depravity and to impute his perfect, holy righteousness on those who believe in him. That is the beauty of the gospel.” I began weeping. Jesus Christ loved me that much. He bore all my sin on the cross, so that I may know him and have a relationship with him. I found that to be an astounding and amazing fact.
Through tears, I asked my mom, “How can I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” Her reply: “Cry out to him. Ask him to forgive your sin and pour out his grace and mercy on your life. Repent and trust in him. There is no magic formula. God hears those who are broken and humble before him.” I did it. Right there on the street in front of my house. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and peace. Joy in that I was overwhelmingly thankful and excited about my new faith in Christ; and peace, in that I knew that I was assured of heaven because of the grace and mercy of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was so passionate about what Christ had done for me that I started preaching the gospel to my sister after I got home. She held fast to the truths of the gospel because she cried out to God when she was six years old; however, it was a good experience for me to preach the gospel right after my conversion. God is good.
How has my life changed since then? My life has changed dramatically since the day God redeemed me. I have an unquenchable and passionate desire to read God’s word, know more about him, and to tell others about him. He is my God and him only will I serve.
In the years since that memorable morning, I haven’t been perfect, but my actions are radically different than those I had as a seventh grader. I returned to my junior high, confessed my sin of stealing and gave back the money. I chose to guard my mouth and confess Jesus instead of cursing. Rather than demanding attention for myself, I have visited nursing homes and hospitals with my parents, caring for Betty, an Alzheimer’s patient I met, and listening to others. I’m different. All because of the love, grace, and mercy that Christ had for a guilty sinner like me. Praise Him!!!
Soli Deo Gloria!