After her amazing encounter with Jesus, she read every book she could find about Jesus. From those books, and from some new friends she had made, she learned that, although she was in love with Jesus and told Him that daily, she had never actually responded to an altar call or repentance prayer. So was she saved?
She had been taught at an early age the importance of following rules. There were rules for everything. And now she learned there were rules for being saved. It didn’t matter that she spent time with Jesus every day, talked about Him to everyone she met, and doodled His name in her books. If she never responded to an altar call, was she saved?
Her church didn’t do altar calls. So she found a friend’s church that did and made plans to attend it. When the altar call was given, the thought of everyone looking at her caused her to panic inside and she froze, unable to make herself get up and walk down that aisle. The preacher said that not going down the aisle was the same as saying no to the Holy Spirit. Full of remorse, she asked God to forgive her.
She talked with her friends and decided to try a smaller church. Maybe it would be easier with less people. But the same thing happened. And even though she said the sinner’s prayer in her heart as the preacher said it out loud, she knew it wasn’t good enough because a book she had read said that it wasn’t good enough to just think the sinner’s prayer, she had to say it out loud in front of a witness. So she wept silent tears for her weakness, wondering if she would ever be able to get saved.
But she didn’t give up. She continued going to churches and reading books until one day she finally got the courage to make the walk to the front. Trembling so hard she thought she might faint, she repeated the sinner’s prayer with everyone else and went back to her seat.
Was she saved? She had read how everyone in the books described all the peace they felt when they got saved. She didn’t feel any different. Maybe a group prayer wasn’t good enough after all. Maybe that new book she was reading was right – that people should be led to Christ individually.
“Jesus,” she cried out. “Help me figure this out! I want to be saved. I want to be Yours. But I just don’t know how to do it!”
Beginning to get discouraged, she continued reading books, finding more rules and prayers, and following each one each time.
Respond to an altar call. Check.
Repeat the sinner’s prayer. Which one? She had repeated several so maybe she was covered.
Ask Jesus to live in her heart. Did she do this. Quickly she did and checked it off her mental list. Was she saved yet?
Give her life to Jesus and tell Him she would go wherever He wants to send her. OK, this one was harder, but she did, even if that meant moving to Africa and eating bugs. Was she saved yet?
Making Him Lord of her life. What did that mean? Maybe this was the hang up. “Whatever it means, Lord, I agree with it.” Was she saved yet?
Eventually she was so confused, she gave up. Salvation was just not for her, she thought. If God wanted to save her, He would. She wasn’t going to try anymore.
One day, months later, she was singing a praise song, about a group of people who rejoiced in belonging to Jesus, and the realization bloomed inside her that she was one of those people! She had been saved! When – she didn’t know. But that didn’t matter. She now knew who she belonged to. And she had the peace that came with that.
A gentle voice whispered unheard, “Silly girl. Don’t you know you were Mine the first time you told Me you loved Me? The words don’t matter. The place doesn’t matter. Feelings don’t matter. What matters is your heart. You were saved on that day, and I’m glad you finally believe it.”