Youthful Questions and Sins
I begin to wonder about the purpose of life before I became aware of my need for God.
My parents went through the horror of the Nazi occupation of Holland and some of my earliest memories as a pre-schooler are hearing the stories of that unspeakable evil as they were shared with other survivors.
As I grew older, despite a loving protective home, I became aware of a more personal evil when introduced by a friend's older brother to pornography and approached sexually while still in elementary school. The encounter led to inner turmoil, as I realised there was not only sin "out there" but it was also present within me, and was a battle I could not win on my own.
In my teens I begin to seek answers to the purpose of my life and to the hope of overcoming powerful personal evil.
At 13 I was introduced to Jesus as Savior, which I understood in part. I wanted to "be saved" but did not recognize that Jesus was also my rightful Lord and Master, resulting in no discernable change of attitude or life direction during my teens.
I studied automotives at a vocational high-school and worked in a garage where I learned to fix cars and in particular my own fast cars. I drove dangerously including nearly daily street-racing. God protected pedestrians, other drivers, and me repeatedly, although I pridefully chalked it up to my superior driving skills.
Recognizing Jesus as Lord
At 19 I had a remarkable experience while eating lunch with a 65 year old mechanic about to retire. He and I were playing crib and whistling at young women passing by the garage. Suddenly I saw myself in his greasy coveralls at 65, still eating out of a lunch bucket, playing crib, ogling girls and coming to the end of my life wondering, "What was that all about?"
That same year I lost a girlfriend for reasons I didn't understand at the time. In an effort to find out, I drove 2,000 miles and had much time to think. During the journey I came across a magazine published by Billy Graham titled Decision.
I discovered what that decision was. It was the decision I needed to make to receive Jesus not only as the God who came to earth to die as a ransom for me on the cross, so that I could be freed from the power of evil and hell, but also to receive Jesus as the God who owned me and to whom I was responsible as Lord and King forever.
I surrendered the battle to be my own lord with a simple prayer like this:
Thank you for giving your perfect life freely on the cross in exchange for my sinful life. Thank you for saving and forgiving me though I deserve nothing.
I return my life to you. You already own it. I'm only now recognizing that You do. I will follow You as Lord even though I don't know what it means or where it will lead.
Show me the way and I will follow. Thank you. I am yours.
I was flooded with relief and peace. I knew my life had changed and would
continue to change.
The first test of Christ's Lordship was my sense that I should go to college though I disliked school and had made choices in high school which closed the door to that possibility. I determined nevertheless I would follow Christ and see what He would do.
The Difference Christ Makes
Amazingly, despite a failing 33% in the standardized ACT achievement test, a Christian college in Iowa accepted me for one semester under academic probation. I worked hard, graduated and went on to graduate school. I sold the "hot" cars which had been my god to raise tuition.
I wasn't sure what my vocation would be but knew it would have to contribute to bringing Christ's good to a beautiful world which contains great evils.
I realized I didn't have the strength I needed and began to seek more and more of a fullness of God's Holy Spirit. God showed me the authority of Jesus Christ over evil and evil spirits.
In subsequent years Christ gave me a wonderful wife Carol, together with five married children and five grandchildren in whom we delight.
Christ has taken away all fear of death, given meaningful work and through it more friends than I can easily number.
Life has brought, as it does to us all, numerous challenges but God repeatedly strengthens, gives wisdom and is greater than them all. God is my strength, my joy and the song of my heart.
Since age 19 when I first responded to Jesus' call to follow, I've leaned on Christ alone and found Him faithful, powerful against the evil one, and entirely the Way, the Truth and the Life as He revealed in the Scriptures (John 14:6).
My deepest desire is that you would know and follow Christ also, who to know is strength, healing and peace in this life and eternal life to come (John 17:3).
- Murray Moerman