Halfway through preparing my weekly Sunday school lesson, I cradled my head in my arms and sobbed, “God, how can I teach this to kids when I am not sure myself if any of it is true?” Scissors, paper and glue were ready, Bible passages marked, and the lesson book reviewed. But my heart plummeted in dismay. Was I teaching a lie?
I asked Jesus into my heart when I was seven years old. As I grew up I faithfully read my Bible, planned to become a missionary doctor, and loved my church and family. I loved school, especially reading, and enjoyed exploring the woods near our farm with my dog and horse. I also enjoyed cooking for the family when Mom had to work in the barn.
Shortly after my sixteenth birthday, my family moved to a new home and a new school. I got involved with things I knew were sin for me. I didn’t spend much time thinking about it, I just lived for the day, harboring anger about having to move, and deciding I didn’t care. That was the beginning of a dreadful black hole in my heart, a sickness of the soul.
High School graduation; then November came, and with it my wedding day. Sooner than I dreamed possible, I had three healthy, beautiful daughters. They were the center of my life, the joy of my heart. Holding them, praying with them at meals and bedtime, I felt my life was nearly complete. I wanted them to know and love Jesus the way I had. I did everything I knew to have our family live a Christian life.
Nevertheless, that black hole whispered to me, “You’re living a lie.” My desire was to know Jesus more fully, follow Him more completely, and allow Him to be the center of my life. But the sin of my past tormented me. In my private devotions these verses leaped out at me:
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 )
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
When I sinned, I knew what I was doing. It was the equivalent of ‘hand to the plow and looking back’ in my mind, therefore I was not fit for the kingdom of God. Furthermore, I thought those verses meant I was without hope, because I knew no matter how hard I tried, I could not be perfect.
Years passed; I continued trying my utmost to be the perfect mother, the perfect Sunday school teacher, and the perfect Christian. On the outside, I looked pretty good.
But in the night, the whisper came again, “You are living a lie.”
Returning home from women’s Bible study one evening, I tucked my children in with bedtime prayers, and settled down in my rocking chair with my Bible. As usual, everything I read whispered condemnation to me.
I cried out, “Lord God, prove yourself to me. I must know You are real, or I am going to give up. Show me someone who really lives for You.” Inside my head, I screamed, begged, and pleaded for God to prove Himself to me.
And the black hole whispered in the background.
Two weeks later, our women’s Bible study met again. A woman new to our area joined the group. After we were introduced, we discovered many shared interests.
Several days later we met for coffee. In those two hours I realized she truly knew and served God. The Bible was His living Word for her, and God was indeed real to her. I felt uplifted and encouraged.
For the next few days, I read my Bible every spare minute for hours a day. I read with many questions, but also with renewed eagerness and hope.
Late one April evening, I was reading in bed. The black hole still whispered. My tears flowed and I begged God to show me what I needed to know.
Suddenly it seemed as if passages of my Bible were shining under a radiant light. Every word dazzled with God’s grace and mercy for me. The whole room filled with the presence of Jesus. Indescribable joy filled me. I KNEW beyond a shadow of doubt God was real! He loved me!
The black hole was instantly healed. Silenced forever. Filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
I know the Bible is God’s inspired Word and authority for my life. I know beyond a shadow of doubt Jesus Christ is God incarnate, crucified, risen and coming again – for me! I know His Holy Spirit is within me, as He promised. I know every moment of my life is His. I am clothed forever in His holy Robe of Righteousness.
My own photo “Into The Lake” Norway 1992