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by Ethel C Pechman
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Are you intrigued by the teachings of different types of Evangelists? Do you seek them out so that you can learn better how to discover who God really is? If you do, you may find yourself in the throes of being a doubtful candidate, a candidate, that is, to become a Christian?

Before becoming a born again Christian, you may have difficulty discerning whether or not an evangelist is forthright in showing you the way. You may be fascinated by an evangelist’s preaching, and yearn to understand what he is saying. Evangelists at one time ended their preaching by asking a person to “accept Jesus as their savior.” At least, that is how I remember hearing about Jesus. But for reasons I did not understand, I was afraid, afraid to go down to the altar. I remember asking the Lord to help me walk down in front of all the people who, I thought would be making fun of me. I decided to not go at this time.

Can you recall struggling with a decision? The more you wrestled, the greater the confusion. Maybe you thought you understood and continued what you had been doing. Later on, another decision arose and you went through the same kind of confusion. The wrestling with doubts continued until finally you understood what Jesus wanted you to do.

Doubt was not the only reason, however. I wondered how pastors were so sure about what they were preaching. At one time, I went with my husband to a movie theater that had been closed for a long time. That night, an evangelist from the Billy Graham Evangelist organization was there. John, my husband, and I sat down in one of the rows of seats close to the stage. Suddenly, a man appeared and started talking. A few minutes into his talk, my husband of just a couple of weeks, grabbled me by the arm and said, “Let’s get out of here.”

Being a new bride, I reluctantly left the theater with my husband. I did not ask him but I wondered why he wouldn’t remain to hear the preacher. It was a long time after that before I heard another preacher.

After that incident, I remembered a time when I was a little child of about six or seven years old. My brother and I were sent to a store front Hebrew and Christian church. We walked there; it was very close to our home. After going there for about a year, our Sunday school teachers moved us to other classrooms. My brother was younger than I, so we were in different rooms. I remember at that time when we came out of the building asking myself, “Who is Jesus?”

I had prayed diligently to God a lot of times before that, but I never heard his name until that time we had our classes changed. I continued to pray to God whenever I felt I was in trouble, or when I had lost something. I also used to lie awake beside a window and look out at the stars and wonder how they got there. I wondered if God would ever tell me about them when I grew up. The stars and the heavens were fascinating to me. I wanted to know all about them.

During our school days, several neighbor children and I walked a good mile to school. During one of our conversations, a girl spoke up and said, “God is supposed to come back to earth again.” This was a startling revelation to me.

Her comment inspired me to want to learn more about Jesus. I was taking piano lessons at the time. Our family had a book of favorite old songs and I tried playing them. One of the songs was, “The Old Rugged Cross.” I loved that song, and kept playing it over and over again. I’m certain my family grew tired of hearing it.

One day while I was playing this song, Jesus appeared in a vision. I saw the upper part of his body, and his arms were outstretched as if he were saying, “Come to me.” I remember it vividly. I wanted Him to come back to earth to be with us. These occurrences in early life prepared me for the day I would receive Jesus as my Savior.

I forgot these early incidents while I was in high school. Then came a time of dating. My boyfriends and I would discuss whether there was a God and who He could be. We were not on the subject very long, for most of us were doubtful that there was a God. I think discussing religion can create doubt, especially if there is someone in the group who refuses to believe in God.

I could not get the idea of there not being a God out of my mind. One day I read in the radio section of the newspaper about a Billy Graham program. I turned to it, listened to it regularly and started believing in Jesus. I found a church which I went to. In fact, I went to several churches and joined them. None of them satisfied me. I was still searching for whether or not God existed until I found a Baptist church. I felt comfortable in it and believed that God was Jesus.

At different times, though, different people would talk about God. A neighbor talked to me about the Rosecrucians. My neighbor was a glib talker and he did a lot of talking about wisdom and learning, but he really did not believe in God. Also, a Jehovah Witness came to my house and gave me a book entitled, Know the Truth and the Truth Will Make You Free. Learning about both of these religions caused me to become very confused.

I was filled with doubts of what was the true religion. I was confused and did not know which way to turn to know the truth. That was when I really had an experience with God. I prayed and cried and was frightened. I did not want to doubt, but I could not find my way. Then God spoke to my heart that I should return to the Bible. I did open the Bible to Ephesians 2:8 & 9 and read these words, “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. I believe it was God himself that led me to that verse.

I knew then that salvation is not something we can do. We are saved by the wonderful loving Jesus, who saves us by His grace. We do not have to do anything. We do not merit His love. He gives His love to us when we seek Him with all our hearts. No doubt about it, Jesus is the Savior.

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