Friday, 16 January 2015

How Rebellion Led Me To Jesus

The home I grew up in was a typical middle-class environment.  Our family owned the fairly large house, we had two cars, a dog and we were supposedly Christians as we attended church at least once every Sunday.

At age fifteen, I was deceived by Satan into believing that I had blasphemed against the Spirit of God and would burn in hell forever.  I had nobody to talk to as my parents were very strict reformed Calvinists.  To admit to having a problem was similar to admitting to a serious crime.  After all, bad things do not happen to good people, so anyone with a problem necessarily had to be very bad.

I had nobody to turn to.

When a teacher took her three month holiday, as they were entitled to once every ten years, a temporary replacement was summoned in.  He was an evangelical missionary and I became part of a group of teens who had met every Wednesday afternoon at his house, for Bible study and prayer fellowship.  By the time his three months were almost over, another teacher at a nearby school also took long holiday and our missionary teach could stay on for a bit longer.

As I was desperately despondent, I one day mounted my bicycle and rode down to his house.  I told him my story and he got very, very angry with Satan.  The kind gentleman comforted me and led me in prayer.  Only someone who had been in a similar situation can really understand the hopelessness, the huge burden one carries, with no real motivation to go on in life.  No, I did not become suicidal but also had no inspiration to succeed.

Joyfully I rode my bicycle home and felt so much relieved after having been delivered from this evil and I told the first person right away, as I ran into the kitchen.  My joy was short-lived as I was physically assaulted with an electric cord and the blood ran from my lips and face.  Meanwhile, I was being shouted at and being told that I had brought shame unto my family by talking to strangers.

After the assault - and my Dad was not at home at the time - I went into my room, too tired, too shocked to cry.  In the state of shock, Satan planted thoughts in me to convince me the good teacher was just a soothsayer and that I worsened the situation by bringing shame upon my family.

By then I also knew that I could not risk to discuss my problem with anyone again, ever.  More or less at the same time, our country got television.  Gone were the many visitors and we now had to shut up because they wanted to watch Little House on the Prairie or Bonanza or The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

I went where I was accepted and, while not getting into drugs, I started smoking and drinking secretly with my rebellious friends.  By then, I had decided to enjoy life as much as possible and have a good time, as hell was a certainty now.  We had our own mobile disco set which we had built ourselves, with early sound-to-light circuitry to make lights flash dynamically to the music, as well as a mirror ball we had made.  

After passing my Matric, it was time to start two years military conscription.  There, the knowledge of being doomed forever fueled my party gene.  The two years had finally passed and I started my civilian life.  The local Dutch Reformed Church, of which I was a member, sent out notices to the youth hostel where I lived, that only people who had been saved could attend church.  At the bottom, there was a tear slip that had to be filled out with name & contact information, a printed admission of having been reborn and place for a date and signature.  At the time, my party animal friends and myself were attending church, with the hope of being accepted.  Instead, they stared at us and rejected my efforts in making conversation.

Clearly I was a very unwelcome visitor to God's "retail franchise" and the result was yet more wild driving, drinking, generally wasting my life.  I also failed dismally in my studies at the Technicon. However, I dead read gospel tracts and books written by charismatics.  So, every night many times, for an entire week, I lay before the Lord crying out for forgiveness and acceptance, but no stars fell from the skies and none of the wild sensations preached by the charismatics came to me.

Okay, so now I was really lost and I had nothing to live for.  Seriously on the rebound, my pain only became bearable through smoking cigarettes and drinking copious quantities of brandy.

The same strict Calvinism that had regimented my life, was also the evil power behind apartheid (racial segregation) in my country. I saw all across Africa how countries failed after having been liberated, because colonial rule was just being replaced by communist governance by proxy. In being a party animal and the initiator of countless bonfires, I still had some deep respect left for God and I did not see where in my Bible it was suggested that people of other races should sit on their own benches, not where we whites were allowed to sit.  They had their own suburbs called "locations" and they could not really choose where to live.

Despite my lost, wasted life, I still argued that there could be no apartheid in heaven.  Very religiously, I argued that if "on earth as it is in heaven" was true, the racial segregation enforced by a totalitarian police force had to be of the devil.  So I went to visit a friend in a nearby university town over a weekend and we went to church together that Sunday evening.  They were, unlike myself, also into wild sex and drugs, yet they went to church.

The Saturday, my friend and her friends went to parties and I stayed at home, alone, writing a very long poem in which I had cried out for real Love, not romantic stuff, but a Love I could rely on even in death.

We went to that church in defiance of the apartheid laws and risked arrest.  This was because all races were unified there in worship, which was a criminal act under our laws back then.  During that service, a short sermon of about three minutes with a practical demonstration done with a roof light and a handkerchief convinced me of Jesus Christ and that there still was a future and a hope for me.

Love, in the form of Jesus Christ, overwhelmed me.  I was saved - thirty years ago - and I now celebrate that date as my birthday!  It even is my birthday on my Google+ profile!


Anyone reading here may know someone in a similar situation or knows that despair personally.  Do not believe the lies of Satan and know that our Everlasting Father, Jesus Christ, will NOT reject you, regardless of how you feel. it is a fact, not a feeling, to become saved into eternal life.

PS:  because people mentioned above are still alive, I am still using a pseudonym out of respect for them. This is why you will not see my real name or photo.  I need to protect their identities.