About the Author
By Andrew – see Andrew’s Testimony
A Frightening Prospect
You know, there are so many good blogs out there and I enjoy writing to a lot of them. So much in fact that I don’t find the time to write much on my own blog. Partly because I find it difficult to believe that anyone would read what I write. My wife is my biggest fan and so I do enjoy once in while just writing as my thoughts go. I have been moved lately to write to the hurting men out there that struggle with sexual impurity and transgender issues. I don’t have any easy answers but what I can do is to just tell my story and pray that God might use some of what I write for his glory and purpose.
I am writing tonight as I listen to the great apologist for my faith, Ravi Zacharias. He is speaking at Founders week at Moody Church here in Chicago and for those who might not know one of things that Ravi is known for is explaining not just truth but how it is relevant as well. As a writer I wish that I could explain things as he does but all I am left with is the ability to explain the truth as it relates to my story. In August of 2011 I had a dream that shook me to my core.
I don’t know about the rest of you but I know that science tells us that we all dream every night and in my 56 years here on earth I am sure that is what has happened within the realm of my sleep cycle as well. The biggest question though is this. Out of all the dreams we dream, why can we remember but a very few? I know that I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night much less my dreams. Sometimes I have had dreams that were personal but could not remember upon waking anything but a few choice bits of information, then when regaling my wife with my dream very often can’t put any of it back together in any cohesive way. I feel like a madman trying to explain why there is air. They come and they go, night in and night out, like sudden storms come in and leave a few bits in their wake and they are gone. Such is my history of dreams. This night, however would be different because for the first time in my life, God reached in to my psyche and gave me a dream that was so vivid and memorable that I know that I will carry its contents to heaven with me. At some point in REM I began to dream:
I am hearing voices, voices from my past and in fact voices so crystal clear that I think I am actually there participating in the story unfolding. I hear my mom and step-father and they are fighting again and she is about to be beat again. I can feel the tension building in me and I am in pain over it all, then there is another scene from my past and that is when it hits me. I am hearing these voices and seeing what is going on in my mind like some sort of all-encompassing TV screen that is showing me my life in total, everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly, the pain and hurt and sorrow.
With every scene I am feeling the emotions I had when those things happened but they are stronger by a thousand percent and I come to the sad realization that I am seeing this in my mind because I am dead. I cannot move, I cannot speak or open my lifeless eyes because I am stone cold gone. Yet I am alive emotionally and I feel that which I never felt before and the intensity of these emotions is so great that I am in physical pain. When the pain that I did experience while alive does come, it feels like the worst pain imaginable. I can’t cry and there is no solace but only the constant play of my life over and over again. Then in another corner of this huge picture in my mind I see names scrolling vertically and I am reading the names and they are the names of all the people in my life that I had met, all the people in my life who were close to me and even acquaintances that were in my life for a season. As the names scroll past a voice comes to me and tells me “you didn’t make it!” I am seeing in my life’s story all the events, all the people, all the choices and it dawns on me after I see Pastor Burkey’s name pass me and Don Schoff’s name and others who influenced my life to make decisions for Christ, that Jesus was NOT on my list.
I am in HELL and that thought comes into my mind like a brick smashing into a plate-glass window. That is what he meant when he said I didn’t make it. I was dead all right but out of the body present with the Lord right? Not me, I was a christian wasn’t I? I had the golden ticket, I said the words and I believed, didn’t I? How could I not have made it as the voice told me? The onslaught of emotions came again and now I was in agony. I realized that my eternity was this, the constant playing and replaying of my life over and over again with no breaks, no respite, no END to the torment that I was going through. Sadly all I saw was a nominal man living a nominal life and never fully trusting God for anything.
I had intellectual assent but nothing from the heart and now after having all those chances to make decisions for Christ and the Kingdom I was doomed to an eternity without him. My Lord had died for me and taken all my sins on his back at Calvary, everything I had ever done or even thought of doing and I never fully put my trust in him. I wanted to cry out and couldn’t. I wanted to scream and couldn’t, I wanted to tell God how sorry I was for taking his grace for granted and I couldn’t. I had made my decision in life. A decision to have a casual relationship with the almighty and I was shown that my Father didn’t do casual relationships. In my agony I now knew what “all or nothing” really means. I longed for Jesus and his comfort and I could not feel it. I only felt the emptiness and sorrow without end that comes from taking for granted all that God had given me.
The voice came back to me and said – “did you really think my son’s death would be so cheap?” I knew then that God was speaking to me and I knew at my core that it would be the last time for all eternity that I would hear his voice. Words cannot express how much pain I was in and how much I wanted to speak to yell to scream NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Mercifully, I awoke, and as I came to consciousness, I saw my alarm clock and my the light on my bed stand and realized with a start that I was in my bedroom. I immediately fell to my knees and just cried out “I am so sorry Lord I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know, I am so sorry for everything.” I kept trying to get lower and lower and if I could have I would have gotten under the very floorboards because at that moment I was in front of a merciful, Holy and Loving God and I knew it. I was a filthy sinner in front of a Holy God. I never thought that I was taking Him for granted but that is what I had done and God showed me how very much he cares about me that night. He let me know how much He really loves me and loves all of us with a love that we cannot fathom this side of Heaven.
My wife was yelling at me, “Andrew what is it? What is going on? are you all right?” I replied “you wouldn’t understand, you wouldn’t understand,” as I buried myself into the floor. I was crying so hard, tears of relief, tears of life, tears of joy. I went back to sleep after that and slept in a way that I will never sleep again, comforted in my Father’s arms and resting in the knowledge that I was loved.
So, I was saved at the age of 8 yrs. old. I raised my hand to say that I wanted to be with Jesus if I was to die that night. I re-dedicated my life at age 14 while at church camp. Had I passed between then and my 30’s I would like to think that yes, I would have gone to heaven but would I have heard “Well done, you good and faithful servant?” Probably not!
I tell this story because I want to scare the HELL out of you and anyone that reads it. I tell this part of my life because I am compelled to tell it and I firmly believe that the God of this universe, the Jesus Christ would not have bothered to tell me who He is through a dream if He did not intend on getting the word out to others.
Act 16:31 says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” What does that mean? Many a church has had that verse on their outside billboards but is that all there is? I maintain that to think that if you say the magic words, you got the golden ticket to heaven, is nothing but easy believe-ism. Yes, I believe that I was saved but to truly believe something has to happen inside a person that shows that the words they said are real.
Now, only God gets to judge a person, their heart, and where they will spend eternity. It is just a possibility that though I said the magic words and raised my hand and re-dedicated my life many times that God in the infinite wisdom could have been saying through my dream that “yes, I know that you believe but have you really TRUSTED me with your life? Have you truly submitted yourself to me?” Hell, is an extremely frightening prospect for any of us to consider, however we must be realistic when we think of what our Savior did for us. We need to prayerfully reflect on those words that haunt me whenever I remember that dream that has changed my life “Did you really think that my Son’s death would be so cheap?”
Please, reflect on where you will spend eternity and don’t take God and His infinite grace for granted one minute longer.