God has had His Hand upon my life from the very beginning. I don’t know if it was the habit instilled in me by my parents or a natural desire or God’s calling, but I have had an interest in knowing God from the time I was young.
I remember in Boy Scouts that I was appointed the troop’s chaplain although I had no formal training in religious affairs or direct relationship with God. I just had a desire to know God, although I didn’t know Him.
I do remember the two years of Catechism classes in the Lutheran Church, required for Confirmation which would lead to the ability to receive Communion with real wine and wafers at the ripe age of thirteen or so. I remember disliking those classes because they were always on a Saturday morning which eliminated camping with the Boy Scouts for two years (unless I played hooky from Catechism – an unpardonable sin, I’m sure).
At the end of those two years of church history and dogma lessons, I still had a burning question: What were the criteria to get into heaven? I didn’t know the truth of God’s Word. I never heard of the plan of Salvation. And I certainly never understood what Christ did for me on Calvary or the full meaning of His Resurrection. I had heard of Christ’s death and resurrection, but never how they pertained to me personally nor what I was supposed to do with that information.
On the final day of class, the pastor who led the classes asked if we had any questions. No one asked any. Finally, I mustered the strength and courage to raise my hand and asked the most important question of my life. “How do I know for sure if I were to die today, I would go to heaven?”
Simple. Direct. To the point.
To this day, I thank God for the pastor’s honesty. His response was sincere and equally to the point. Had he said anything else, I would have died in my sins and gone to Hell. My desire and need for the truth would have been satisfied. He simply said, “I don’t know.”
Of course, it floored me and I stomped out of the room angry and bitter for losing two years of camping with the Boy Scouts while listening to the boring ongoings about church history and dogma. Who cared!? What did all that ancient history have to do with me? What was the importance of knowing that stuff if you can’t answer an eternal question such as assurance of heaven versus hell?
Being only thirteen or so at the time, I put my search aside a bit. I wandered into other “religions” to see if they held a clue. The books I read I borrowed from my brother who was older by four years. The books were beyond my level of understanding, though they taught many interesting concepts. None gave me the guarantee for which I was searching – eternity in Heaven.
Finally in 1974, my mother came across some radio broadcasts that seemed to make sense, but more importantly, they offered the guarantee for salvation. Of course by then, I was a full-fledged teenager with all the wisdom bestowed on one of such an age. I had run into several people who were Jesus-freaks and basically the radio messages were trying to make me into one of them. Although I listened, they didn’t have much effect on me – initially.
Eventually, the seeds fell among good soil, sprouted and produced in September 1974. I don’t remember the exact date, time, or circumstances. Frankly they are not important. What is important is I gave my heart, soul, and mind to Christ. And, I became a Jesus-freak.
Over the past 30 plus years, I have learned wisdom and temperance along with my zeal for the Word. I have gone through many circumstances. I have seen many come and go. But the greatest thing I have learned is, regardless of others around you, regardless of circumstances and situations, and regardless of your current mood, God’s Word is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Nothing matters, only God’s Word matters. Base everything on His Word and you will have a firm foundation. Without His Word, you have no foundation, nothing to base your life on other than what you can see, taste, smell, feel, or hear – everything that is untrustworthy. God calls them the “unfruitful things.”
Today, I enjoy my walk with Christ. I wish I could say that it is always up and always intimate, but it would not be true. Fortunately, I know He sticks closer than a brother, He is always there, and even when I am more aloof than close, He is still there.
But most importantly, I know in Whom I have trusted. My search for guaranteed salvation ended back in September 1974. I have had no need or desire to see if there is anything else. I am not enlightened, tuned-in, turned-on, or otherwise, with the latest spiritual craze or fad. I am just a simple person, believing and knowing that God’s Word is truer today than ever, more appropriate than ever, and more needed today than ever.
I know the Bible has the answers the world is so desperately seeking but refuses to see because it is the Truth.
Mark Twain once quipped, “People will believe anything but the truth.” People will believe in their own intelligence and the ideas they create. They support them by rationalizations, but their ideas have no foundation.
When you know the Truth, you know the Truth. As the scriptures say, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”*
If you don’t know that freedom and you have looked for it, you can stop looking now. Jesus Christ is the Truth. There simply ain’t no other. Let me say that again for emphasis. There is no other. No other leader, prophet, priest or person under heaven or on earth that can set you free from the damnation of Hell. Only Christ Jesus – crucified, died, and resurrected.
While you might not believe it, or believe God exists, or believe Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, He still believes in you and died for you. But you have to accept the gift. So, simply get over stupidity, pride, ego, and whatever else. It isn’t about how rich you are, how talented you are or how great you are. It is all about what Christ did for you. Period.
David A. Zimmer
* John 8:31, 32 NKJV Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Copyright © 2017 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.