The men of the church were running through the woods trying to keep up with their pastor. He was a very fit man for someone who spent as much time studying and writing as he did and that surprised the men who were trying to keep up with him. But, he was also trying to locate his daughter. The last time that he saw her she was bobbing up and down in a river trying to breath. He was running and praying for both of the children at the same time. “Lord please save them and bring them back to us safely” he kept repeating to himself as he ran dodging branches and jumping over underbrush and fallen trees.
If Susie was nothing else, she was persistent. Once she had her sights set on bringing someone into God’s Kingdom, she did not give up. She had her sights set on Johnny and would not let his weak attempts to change the subject change her focus. “Johnny, don’t you know that you NEED to ask Jesus into your heart before He can save you?” she asked.
“Well, yes, but I have been in church practically since I was born. Doesn’t that count for something?” he responded.
“No, it doesn’t,” she returned. “Each of us has to meet Him face to face and ask Him to come into our hearts and be our saviour. You can’t get saved by attending church, or going to Sunday School or anything else!”
“But, I know that I have believed in God all my life” he said. “But that’s just in your head” she responded “real belief needs to be in the heart!”
Johnny sat quietly for a moment looking at her. In his heart, he knew that she was right; he was just too stubborn to admit it. He liked doing things his own way, even if things didn’t work very well that way. He knew that was true too. He was not at all happy with things the way that they were and he knew it. As he looked at her, he realized that she knew it too.
“Johnny, I know that you are not satisfied with things the way that they are. I can see it in your eyes all the time,” she said in a way that cut into his soul. “I have been praying for you, Johnny.”
“Aw come one, you can’t see anything of the sort,” he sputtered trying to sit up tall and look away so that he didn’t have to look her in the eyes. He looked out over the river and a chill ran through his whole body. He knew she was right. He also knew that he had prayed and asked Jesus to save his life. Now, Jesus wanted his soul too. Johnny tried to stand up again but, something held him to that log.
“Yes I do, Johnny. Not too long ago, I felt the same way. I realized that something was wrong with my life. You see, I’ve spent my whole life in church too. But, I never asked Jesus into my heart. I was good, but good doesn’t get you into heaven. I wanted to make sure. I wanted to know that I was going to go to heaven. So I sat with my Mom and asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Saviour. Ever since then, I can’t stop telling other people about Jesus. You know me, Johnny. I know that you have avoided me sometimes when I talk about being saved. I saw that sad look in your eyes today at the picnic table just before we prayed. I DO know. I look into your eyes and I can see the emptiness and the loneliness inside. I want you to let Jesus fill that emptiness Johnny. I want Him to save you. Please, Johnny, don’t you really want the same thing?”
Johnny suddenly felt like he couldn’t breathe. He turned and looked into her eyes. He tried to argue with her again, but…he melted into tears instead. “Yes I do Susie; I want it more than anything in the whole world. I was just afraid…ashamed. People, the kids at church, already think that I am saved.” Susie smiled and said, “Johnny, no one is going to think any less of you for admitting that you need a saviour. We have all been where you are right now and faced the same decision. Right now, it’s your turn. What do you say? Would you like to ask Jesus to save you for real? Right now?”
Johnny looked up at Susie again, sat up straight and said strongly “Yes I would, can we pray right here. Would you pray with me?”