I grew up in a Christian family, attending church (or meetings as we called them) every Wednesday and Friday night, as well as three times on Sunday. From the time when I was a little boy, my Mother would read Bible stories to me before I went to bed every night and have me learn Bible verses for Sunday School. My Father would read a chapter from the Bible after breakfast and supper every day of my life, regardless of where we were or who we were with. It was something that I had grown used to through time, and I never questioned it much, nor did it really bother me till I started school. This was when I first learned that the other boys and girls celebrated things that we didn’t and didn’t go to any kind of meetings.
Throughout these first years of my life, I would pray with my Mother every night beside my bed and pray that the “Lord Jesus would help me to wash away my sins.” I never really understood anything about this, other then I knew it was what I was “supposed” to be saying and I thought it made my Mother and Father happy. These were relatively peaceful years of my life before my stubborness showed itself.
At the age of six or so, I began to dislike doing what I knew made me different from other children — going to meetings, staying home from parties, and other things like this. I didn’t say much about it though, and kept my thoughts to myself other then arguing with my parents about “Why can’t I go here” and “Why can’t I go there”.
I can’t actually tell you the exact date of the following story, except that I think it was just after my eighth birthday.
I wanted a bike! I mean I really wanted a bike! I wanted one with all my heart. When my parents told me to write out a birthday list, the very first item (it may have been the only one), was my coveted bike. I can still remember vividly (and I have a bad memory most of the time), when a neighborhood friend told me as we were playing down on King street, that my brother told him that my parents got me a bike for my birthday. “But don’t tell anyone that I told you”, he said.
Wow! My very own bike! Those next days, knowing that I had my bike but not being able to see it were hard days for an eager eight year old boy. Finally, May 23 rolled around and we ate the supper, the cherry cheese cake, and the present was about to be unveiled. My selfish desire realized. My Father asked me to come with him. Outside I walked, across our back yard, and around behind our neighbor’s toolshed. There it was! A beautiful black, shiny Skyline dirtbike. The only thing an eight year old kid could want. It had big fake yellow leather pads on the crossbar and the handlebar (they were all the rage), and no handbrakes. (I really hated those handbrakes.) In big shiny metallic letters on the downbar, it read Skyline. Ecstatic! Thrilled! Words couldn’t begin to tell my excitement. It was bigger and better and badder than all the other bikes in the neighborhood.
I spent many fun hours on that bike! Riding the “trails” out behind our house. Taking off for hours at a time and turning my Mother’s hair prematurely grey. In fact, I still have that bike! It’s in my barn at home, painted brown now, the rims have been switched two or three times now, but the memories are still there of the original beautiful, black BMX.
At the first, I wanted to bike that bike everywhere. No place was too far and especially not the meeting room which was only a mile away. It was the perfect place to show off my new bike to all the envious others who wished (or so I thought) that they had one. I would get it going really fast, turn into the parking lot, jam on the brakes, and I know I could get at least a ten foot skid out of that baby.
Anyway, one day I asked my parents if I could take the BMX to meeting and they said it was OK. Off I went alone, pedalling my heart out. It was always a game to me to see if I could beat my Father to meeting. (Sometimes I think, he went slow on purpose to let me win.) I arrived there this particular evening, it was either a Wednesday or Friday because I wasn’t allowed to ride the bike on Sundays, and took the bike inside.
After meeting, I did my usual fancy showing off as the older people (who never did anything fun) talked to each other. As everyone was preparing to leave, I got on my bike and raced off, determined once more to beat my Father home. I remember getting home, leaning the bike against the house, and strolling slowly around, waiting, trying to keep the cat’s grin off my face. I did it again!
But they never came! I waited and waited and waited and waited! They never came. I began to get worried. Usually they were home only seconds after or usually before me. I hadn’t seen them on the way home, but we usually took a different route as I could take a short cut on my bike so that hadn’t bothered me. I began to wonder and doubts come into my head.
After waiting, I’m not sure how long, I decided maybe I better ride back to the meeting room and see if they decided to stay and talk for even longer as sometimes they would do. Back to the meeting room I pedalled. I had a lump in my throat. The kind of hot one that doesn’t bring tears — but almost. I prayed the whole way back. “Our God and Father, please help Mommy and Daddy to be at the meeting room. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Not there! The lump grew bigger! The tears were closer! I began to pray harder!
Back home I rode — a little slower this time. And all the way, there was this little voice in my ear, “Danny, you know how they’re always saying the Lord is coming back to take the Christians to heaven, well, you’re too late. They’re gone. And you’ve been left behind!” I tryed to ignore the voice, my conscience, but it wouldn’t go away. The tears started to come. My last hope was that they had passed me on the way back to the meeting room, and now were waiting for me at home.
They weren’t. I got off my bike on the front lawn and began to cry! And cry! My family all went to heaven and I was left on this earth. I knew from the age of a little boy that the Lord was coming back soon, but I had put it off till it was too late. The lump in my throat was the size of a balloon now. I wasn’t saved and my parents had gone to heaven. I was on my way to hell.
I began to pray earnestly . . . harder, and with more meaning then any other time in my life. I can’t remember the exact words but I distinctly remember asking the Lord, if He hadn’t already come back for the Christians to take them to heaven, to wash away my sins and come into my heart. I was sorry for all the times I had done things I knew were wrong and I knew that I needed Him to save me from my sins. I prayed this over and over! And the Lord Jesus answered my prayer.
As I was sitting there, crying on the front lawn, in front of the text on the front of my house which said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”, my parents drove up in their big van. I don’t think I could have seen a happier sight except the Lord coming down to take me to heaven with Him. I knew that my parents were also saved, and that if they were still here, the Lord had not come back yet.
As it turned out, my parents had gone to Dairy Queen to treat the family. I don’t think I even minded all that much. The royal treat I received was far better than anything my parents could have bought — my parents were still here and I was a child of God. I knew I was ready if He did come back to take those who were Born Again into His family to heaven and I would go too.
I didn’t tell my parents right away what had happened, in fact, I don’t even think I told them the story till years later, but I am sure that this is when I accepted Christ Jesus into my heart. And now “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to seperate (me) from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus (my) Lord.” Romans 8:38,39. I can say for myself now the “Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
I thank God that I was saved before it was too late. But the Lord is not going to wait forever. It tells us in His Word that He is not slack concerning His promise to return, he is just waiting for the very last person to accept His free gift because He does not want any one to go to Hell. II Peter 3:9. However, once the shout is given and the believers are called up to heaven, there will be no second chances like there was for me. Are you ready?