Bur Shilling, Campus Life student and staff member through 1960 – 2003
In the eighth grade, I was invited to a Saturday night rally sponsored by a new organization in the area called Youth for Christ. A night away from home for an eighth grader was an unusual delight, so with my parent’s permission, I quickly accepted the invitation. It was held at a small auditorium in Findlay.
That night the speaker challenged the audience to consider committing their lives to Jesus Christ. I was under conviction but didn’t respond. After the closing prayer, I determined to bolt out of there as quickly as possible (and intended never to go back). I moved immediately to the exit, but during the closing prayer, the speaker made his way from the platform to the door and he stood there blocking my escape. The speaker stopped each person as they left the auditorium that night and asked if he or she had accepted Jesus Christ as personal savior.
I approached the door, threw my shoulders back, and stuck out my hand. As his large hand enveloped mine, he said in a deep, authoritative voice, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior?” “Yes,” I said.
And I knew I had lied.
When I arrived home, I went directly to bed. My parents knew there was something up because I didn’t stay up and watch Gunsmoke (on at 10:00 p.m. every Saturday night). I determined that if I could simply fall asleep, I would forget what happened that evening and I’d never have to think of it again.
I tried to go to sleep, but every time I closed my eyes, I saw that man’s face and heard him ask, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”
It’s always easier to sleep on the cool side of the pillow, but I turned the pillow so many times, there was no cool side left. I tried changing positions, placing my feet on the pillow and my head at the foot end of the bed. Nothing helped!
My brother, who shared my room, came to bed and immediately fell asleep.
I lay in the dark until about 2:00 am. Sleepy, confused, and desperate, I rolled out of bed and onto my knees. Now, I had said my bedtime prayers every night of my life… “Now I lay me down to sleep…” but this time I cried out to God. I told him I was confused and wasn’t even sure he was real. But I asked him if he could do what that man tonight said he could do; I wanted him to do that for me.
I didn’t hear any heavenly choir sing. I didn’t receive a quiet inner voice giving me assurance that all was well. The only proof I had that God had heard my pleas and forgiven me was that when I laid my head back on that warm pillow, I fell soundly asleep.
Years later, I came on staff with Campus Life, Youth for Christ, in February 1972.
My prayer is that you, too, some day will come to the place where you surrender your heart to Jesus. You cannot control your life. You cannot fix every hurt you face. You cannot be good enough to annul the sin in your life. Only the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse and forgive you.
Right now, you can accept Jesus’ forgiveness and live your life for him.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. – Ephesians 1:7
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. – Ephesians 2:8-9