I was at McDonald’s on April Fool’s Day standing in line…21 years old, and looking great on the outside, but inside I was miserable. As usual, I was feeling empty and lonely and unloved. The guy standing next to me was Bob, who I met as I walked by him and his friend Tony, and overheard them talking about “going east for the Lord”… I had to stop and ask what they meant by that. Even though I had been raised going to church, the fact that Jesus came and died meant nothing to me personally. They asked me if I had a personal relationship with God, to which I answered that I didn’t think that was possible.
I had been thinking about what would happen after I died because I had been in a couple of situations where I could possibly have died in the prior year. I envisioned just floating around in darkness and it was so discouraging…what was the POINT of life…just to grow up, get better jobs, get married, have kids and die? It all seemed so MEANINGLESS!
God used sunsets to show me that there had to be a God out there. I’d think, “There has to be Somebody who made these beautiful sunsets, trees, animals…but where is He? Bob and Tony told me that I could know for sure that I was going to be with God in heaven forever…that the Bible says we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but Jesus took the punishment for our sins. He died on the cross so we don’t have to be judged by a Loving, but Holy God. By believing that Jesus is the Son of God who died as the payment for my sins, and then rose from the dead, I could receive Him and know I would spend eternity with Him.
So, back to McDonalds’s…while I was standing in line Bob handed me a little Bible and told me to read a section to myself that said “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”(Ephesians 2:8,9) I realized that God really loved and cared about me and had already done everything I needed to go to heaven—I just needed to accept the GIFT! I prayed in McDonald’s parking lot and asked God to forgive me and come into my life and make me the person He wanted me to be. Right after that I knew I was right with God, loved and accepted by Him, and also felt a burden of guilt lift off of me!
I HAD FINALLY FILLED THE VOID I HAD… TO BE UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED!
I FELT LIKE, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I WAS TRULY ALIVE AND HAPPY! I THOUGHT, “WHY HAS NO ONE EVER TOLD ME ABOUT GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL FORGIVENESS AND LOVE BEFORE??”
I wanted to tell everyone, and that’s why I’m telling you! That was the best day of my life and DEFINITELY the best time I’ve had at McDonald’s!
The next day I got involved in a church and met other Christians who loved me, not because of what I looked like or owned, but because God loved me, and we are a part of HIS FAMILY. I was finally FREE TO BE MYSELF and found myself changing on the inside to be able to accept and love others more. Also, God gave me the desire and help to WANT to change my old habits and lifestyle.
…that was over 40 years ago now, and I can honestly say that God has been so FAITHFUL to love me, help me through the ups and downs of life, teach and comfort me so much in HIS WORD (which I couldn’t understand before I received Him) and has really helped me love and be able to receive love from others.
Since 2005 I have studied Revelation and read many books about Heaven and am really LOOKING FORWARD to being there…no more fear of death for me…it’s going to be AWESOME!! Read the end of the Book…Revelation 21, 22! Accept God’s GIFT of forgiveness and I will see you there!