Crying, I knelt down in front of my bedroom window. I was four years old, and I was afraid.
My little soul was troubled: Was I going to hell when I died? Yes, I knew, that’s what happens if you don’t ask Jesus into your heart. In that moment, fear and uncertainty gripped me.
I had heard the gospel since before I could remember: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) and, “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
Every Sunday at that time in my life, I sat with my family in the front row of the chapel on post. Over a hundred young army recruits sat behind me, listening to my dad share from the pulpit. He would end by leading in a sinner’s prayer those who wished to repent and follow Jesus.
I knew I wanted to go to heaven, and I knew I was a sinner. I knew that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). But would it work for me? I can still feel the almost hurried panic in my chest as I knelt there that day. I remember it being cloudy outside. I looked at the floor, closed my eyes, and prayed.
I will never forget the bright sunshine that washed over me as I opened my eyes — and the peace I felt. No doubt. No questions. No second guessing whether I did it right. Just peace, more than I myself could muster. The Father, in his kindness, had knelt down and pushed every fear from my four-year-old heart and mind. Where there had been such chaotic uncertainty moments earlier, there was now an all-encompassing stillness. It was vast, strong, gentle, and real.
The warmth of the sun on my face was secondary. The real warmth I felt was Jesus’ love. This was his hand on me.
It would take the following years for me to come to a fuller understanding of who Christ is and what being a Christian actually means. Sometimes, when I think of how much I didn’t fully grasp that day, I almost question how I could claim to have received salvation. Then I remember, I couldn’t have made it up: that peace, that light. It was real. My Savior met me that day, alone in my room, kneeling before my window, lifting my eyes to the sky outside. I was his.
Yes, I was brought to the cross by fear, but I found there the compassion of my Father. A Father who loves children to come to him and would not have any be turned away. I ask myself whether I think of the little children in my care as able to call on Christ in the same way. Do I stop and realize that their minds are capable of the same fears and hopes as mine? I believe God has given them the same ability for faith and for salvation. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
My walk has been a long journey, but it started that day I knelt and put my hope in Jesus, making me a child of God. He was faithful to meet me then, and he will continue to be faithful.
“And I am sure for this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).