During the summer before my sophomore year in college, I was invited to attend a youth event at a local church. I walked in with shaking knees and butterflies in my stomach, having never set foot in a church other than the one I grew up in. The worship music felt more like a rock concert, as opposed to the familiar acoustic rendition of “Here I am Lord,” and the preaching seemed casual but personal.
The pastor shared about Jesus in a way I never heard before, explaining our need for a Savior to cover the debt of our sin. Honestly, I was a bit relieved, because I thought “being good” was the only ticket to heaven, and I was pretty sure that I was a shutout. Hearing the opposite was indeed good news, and the promise of heaven lured me to the altar to place my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My friends circled around me, and after the tears stopped streaming down my face, someone in the group declared we should go for ice cream as a way to welcome me to the family. Who knew ice cream was a way to celebrate such a moment!
I returned home that night eager to share the news with my parents, but they didn’t share in my friend’s enthusiasm. By morning, I heeded the parental advice to “forget about it” and move on…into the darkest and most destructive season of my life. But in His grace, God did not leave me or abandon me.
Sometimes what appears to be the end of the story is simply the end of a chapter.
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