Jim S.

Jim S.

from MO
Story #506
Thanks for taking the time to read my testimony. It’s my prayer that God uses it to bless you and give Him glory. My life was drastically set off course when I was 2. My father was driving his motorcycle down a street close to our home. At that same time, a person, not paying attention, backed out of their driveway onto a main street. My father had no time to stop before he hit the side of the car. My father was sent to the hospital with a broken neck and a severe head injury. It was obvious he would never walk again. He would never be the one to physically teach me how to be a man. A few hours later, he woke up and had a good conversation with my mom, understanding everything that had happened to him. Two days later, the brain swelling was so extensive, it gave him permanent brain damage. Surgery could have helped with the brain swelling, but it was not possible because of the wounds he sustained from being shot in the Vietnam War. He never recognized me no matter how many times I saw him. He was never able to feed or take care of himself. The only words I ever heard him speak were “yes sir” and “yes ma’am”. Because of the extent of his condition, he spent the rest of his life in a nursing home to get proper care. Fourteen years later, when I was 16, he passed away. Before he died, I had already accepted that not having a dad was normal. Once he died, it all changed for me. I knew enough about God that I understood He allowed it all to happen, but my sin and lack of knowledge of God became the ground which Satan would sow seeds of anger and bitterness against God.

As I was growing up, my mom respected religion but didn’t know Jesus as her Savior until after my teenage years. My grandmas were both believers and spent time teaching me truths from God’s Word. I grew up with a fear of disobeying God, but that fear was oftentimes overcome by my desire to do things my way. During that time, I went to a few different churches off and on, but never consistently attended. During my 9th grade year, my friend Paul invited me to a Wednesday night youth meeting at his church several times. One night, I remember the Youth Pastor speaking about Eternal Life and Hell. I cannot remember all his words, but they impacted me. That night I wanted to be saved and spend eternity with Jesus. God’s word was clear to me and I understood that I was a lost sinner with no hope of eternal life. My destiny was eternal punishment and permanent separation from God. I wanted to be saved and cried out to God for help. As I said, I can’t remember all the words spoken that evening, but clearly remember the incredible weight lifted and the freedom I felt that night.

I wish I could say that I started living for the Lord, but I cannot. After a few months, I stopped going to youth group and never established myself in a church. By the end of my 9th grade year, I really didn’t have much to do with God even though I knew my life was not pleasing Him. For the next 6 years, Satan had a field day with my mind, telling me lies. I believed and lived out many of them, thinking I would eventually get right with God. Even though I eventually repented and became a true disciple, the damage to my heart was extensive and it cost me precious time serving my Lord and wish I could have back.

My teenage years were a lot like the Nation of Israel. It was a time spent rebelling against God and experiencing an emotional desert. During that time, Satan planted seeds of doubt, anger, resentment, hate, lust, envy, bitterness, suicide, hopelessness, and complaining. Really this list could keep going on. These sins grew like weeds in my life chocking out what God had planted and said to be true. I really hated my life! I was not happy with who I was and the way I treated and hurt others. With some people, I didn’t care what they thought of me. With others, I would do foolish things to get them to like me. I was living life for myself and was completely miserable when I was alone. I had no purpose or real-life plan. I struggled in school which always compounded things. I was the prototypical example of a destabilized teen and was a master at hiding pain.

My heart was hardened. My life was all about me and I was angry and bitter at God. I could only see God as distant and cold, taking away what I held sacred. My life was primed for destruction. What I could not see through the pain was the devastating consequences of loving the world and rebelliousness. I struggled with the questions, “what will my life account for, and what is my purpose?” I had no answer! God, with His great love, began to open my heart and showed me my sin. I began to understand the true meaning of the gospel. Jesus gave His life that I could have life. His death, burial, and resurrection are true. Jesus is the only way to the Father (John14:6). My eyes were opened, and I could finally see true life and God’s plan for me. God showed me that He was my Father and that His Love and Word are true and real. The bitterness I had for God transformed into a deep Father/son relationship. I could finally see that my Father is the KING! As I studied the Word of God, I could see more clearly God’s plan for my life. I could see through my loss and pain to an eternal life in God’s Kingdom. It’s my prayer that you will come to know Jesus as your Savior and follow Him.

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