It was the first week of 1970 and as far as I was concerned the New Year looked mighty bleak. Most young people in their senior year of high school look forward to their graduation. I certainly did not. I felt there was no future for me.
Despite my aspirations to be a chemist, my grades were pitiful. I was barely passing. I had applied for entrance into three colleges and all three rejected me.
The 17 years of my physical life were not really fruitful and, in fact, shameful. They contained a multitude of sinful acts, a few years spent as a satanist (I avoid capitalizing that name), and a juvenile police record.
These were just some of the things that made me consider suicide in December 1969, and haunted me at the start of 1970.
I don't remember what I was doing in school that January, but I do know that I had a friend at high school that would talk to me about God. I think it was this friend who encouraged me to listen to Evangelist Billy Graham on Sunday nights.
Rev. Graham's preaching got me interested in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. I read that book at least four times, and became more fearful of the future with each reading.
Yet, all during that time, though I did not know it at first, there was hope for my future all around me. It was in Revelation along with its judgments, in Rev. Graham's preaching, in my friend's faithfulness to tell me about Christ, in a couple of Gospel tracts I had received over the years, and in other places.
It was all around me, because God is everywhere. The hope that was there could be personally mine. It was just a sincere prayer away.
That was a prayer I prayed a couple of weeks later on January 25, when I turned everything over to Jesus Christ and asked Him to rule in my life. The moment I asked Him to take up kingship within my heart was the moment all of my concerns about the future were crushed and were replaced with hope.
The foundation of the that hope, of course, is the very life of Jesus Christ. At that moment, I began to let Him live through me. As I did so, my life became very fruitful. My grades even got better.
This was, in part, the activation of Romans 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Christ dwelling within can take a dismal future and turn it into one full of hope for anyone. Even those who were once Christians and have backslidden can find hope in Him if they turn to Him with all of their heart.
"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of rubies, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children." --- Isaiah 54:11-13
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