To help you get through the tough times in life that we all experience sooner or later, I would like to "pass on" the best gift that I have ever received. THIS TESTIMONY HAS RECEIVED MANY POSITIVE COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD HEALTH PROBLEMS AND/OR LOST LOVED ONES.
Like many people, I grew up being a skeptic. How could a merciful GOD call an innocent baby sinful? How could a caring GOD let children be born with birth defects? How could a loving GOD let so many people suffer from hunger and lack of shelter? How could so many radically different religions claim to worship the same GOD? How could people claiming to know GOD and love GOD, go to war and kill each other in the name of GOD? In spite of these and many other doubts, I went from being a skeptic to a believer. Here's why:
Coming out of college, I was on top of the world. I had graduated near the top of my class from one of the best forestry colleges in the United States; was ranked as one of the top young foresters in the country; was (as my dean stated) selected for one of the best forestry positions to come out of the Northeast in many years; was young, strong, and healthy; and was engaged to be married.
Then my world fell in. First, the relationship went into a tailspin, nearly overnight. Then, six months later, I had problems with a hamstring tendon, but had to keep hiking 20 miles per day because the doctors said I just had tendonitis and was not hurting anything. Then six months later, one of my ankles started causing me problems, but the doctors still kept me walking. Six months later my other ankle started causing me problems, but I still was not allowed to get off my legs. Six months later, both ankles had deteriorated to the point that I was no longer able to even stand without being in great pain.
To make a long story short, being forced to walk on the hurt ankle caused one of my leg bones to break, and then a disease known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) to set in. RSD is an insidious condition caused by nerve damage that has left many people disabled for life, unable to work, and destitute. In an effort to heal, I spent three months on the couch of some friends, and another three months "camped out" on a bed in my kitchen with the refrigerator, stove, and sink nearby. During this time, I did not know if I was ever going to walk again, and the stresses destroyed a promising relationship.
I had always wanted to read the BIBLE because I figured that any book that has been around for thousands of years must be worth reading, but never had the time to while in college. While I was laid up, a neighbor agreed to lend me his BIBLE. Although I did not read it cover to cover, I remember reading parts of it including Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Proverbs, Ezekiel, the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation.
It is an indication of where I stood spiritually that I did not understand many of the things I read. Where was all this wickedness in the world? Who were these enemies that it made frequent reference to? What was this sinful nature that it talked about? I have since come to realize that the reason I did not understand is that I was walking in the world, and judging by the world's standards.
My neighbor needed his BIBLE back, so I returned it to him, but shortly afterwards, I had a most amazing dream that was so real that I call it a "dream-experience". In it, I was moving quickly through darkness towards an incredibly beautiful white Light, and wound up standing in front of it. The Light was brighter than the sun, but it did not hurt my eyes to look at. It emanated the most powerful feelings of peace, love, and joy that I have ever known. As I stood there, my problems seemed like they were thousands of miles away and of no real consequence.
In an instant, the Light scanned me and knew everything about me. I felt like a history book being read from cover to cover! Then the Light started showing me some of the good things that I had done. It was like watching video clips. I was very pleased with myself (oh Lord, its hard to be humble :). Then the Light proceeded to show me some of the wrong things that I had done. It was very embarrassing! Can you imagine standing in front of somebody who knows all your "little secrets", things which you have never told anybody?
I started to try and justify my actions, but the Light showed me that it already knew everything about the surrounding circumstances. I quickly came to the conclusion that trying to put a "good spin" on things (as they say in politics) was useless. Interestingly, there was no condemnation coming from the Light. My own feelings of embarrassment were condemnation enough.
As I stood there squirming, the Light told me that I could not justify doing wrong based upon the things that others had done to me. Then, the Light left and I had the feeling that it was conferring with somebody. During this time I sensed that a very important decision was being made, and I was holding my breath. After what seemed like an eternity, the Light returned and said that it understood why I had acted so, and that I was forgiven.
When the Light forgave me, I had this incredible feeling of being totally loved and understood like nobody has ever understood me. The last thing I remember doing was standing in front of the Light, with my arms raised, in awe of its beauty, and being filled with the greatest feelings of peace, love, and joy that I have ever known. Then I woke suddenly - remembering every detail of the "dream-experience". I said, "whoa...I don't know what that was, but it was of GOD." Tears streamed out of my eyes because I knew that I had seen pure TRUTH.
Shortly afterwards, I had second "dream-experience". This time, an elderly lady was sitting on my bed. Emanating from her came the same feelings of peace, love, and joy comin from the Light, but to a lesser degree. As I rushed to tell her everything that had happened to me, she hushed me and said that she already knew. Then she told me to "come, lay your head on my lap". When I did so, she started stroking my hair and said, "things are going to be very hard for you for a long time, but everything will turn out all right". Again, I woke up abruptly, remembering every detail of the "dream-experience".
I wish I could tell you that I experienced a spiritual revival after having these experiences, started going to church, and became a great Christian, but it did not happen that way. I was basically living in isolation atthe time, and did not fully understand the significance of these experiences. Instead, what happened is that after I was able to start walking again a few months later, I went back to school, spent a year and half in physical therapy, and got a degree in natural resource information systems.
Five years later, I found myself at a Church revival while working through another spell of "bad luck". At the revival I was given a copy of the New Testament, written in modern day English. This was much easier to understand than the first BIBLE I had read, which was in King James English. As I read through the New Testament, I started to understand the significance of the dreams I had many years earlier when I nearly wound up crippled.
First, I came across many verses which talked about "the Light". Suddenly, I understood that the Light which I had seen was JESUS CHRIST . Did you know that there are over 80 references to "the Light" in the BIBLE? Matthew 17:2 describes how JESUS was transformed into the spirit in front of the apostles: "And HE was transfigured before them; and HIS face shone like the Sun, and HIS garments became white as light".
Second, I came across many verses which talked about the healing power of JESUS. In fact, there are over 60 references to healing in the Gospels alone. Matthew 9:35 says "And great multitudes came to Him,bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, dumb, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them".
As I read these verses, it dawned on me that when I "saw the Light", my ankles were at their worst and I was at my lowest point ever. I had not walked for months and did not know if I was ever going to walk again. My doctors did not even know how to best treat me. However, ever since "seeing the Light", my ankles have gradually improved. They still cause me some problems if I overdo it, but I am able to walk and even run short distances, and this is much better than a wheelchair! Thank You GOD!
While reading my new BIBLE, I also came across many references to angels. Did you know that in Greek, the word "angel" means "messenger"? In fact, angels often deliver messages for GOD. A well-known example is in Matthew 1:20, when an angel appears to Joseph in a dream, saying "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your Wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the HOLY SPIRIT." As I read about angels, I remembered the elderly lady who had come to visit me in my kitchen. Recalling that the same feelings of peace, love, and joy were emanating from her as "the Light", and that she had delivered a message to me, I believe that she was an angel.
I have since learned, that in addition to lining up with the BIBLE, my experience of "seeing the Light" is very similar to the "near-death experiences" that hundreds of people have reported having when they were critically injured or ill, as I was. I have come across a number of books in the library about "near-death experiences" that describe the experiences people have had while seeing a beautiful bright white Light. This Light showed them the mistakes they had made here on earth, encouraged them to do better, and often gave them some unusual wisdom and insight. And many, like I, experienced miraculous healings that have impressed the medical profession.
I would like to share a third and final "dream-experience" with you. A few years after the above events took place, my step-father passed away. Shortly afterwards, but before the funeral, I fell asleep. Walking through a thick crystal wall, I saw my step-father dressed in brilliant white garments. He was being attended to by beings who were also dressed in brilliant white. The walls and ceiling of the alcove that we were standing in appeared translucent, and glowed from all directions with a beautiful white Light. As I tried to get his attention, the other beings in white withdrew to the periphery of my vision.
I was overjoyed to see my step-father, and started asking him how he was and if he was all right. He did not respond immediately. Instead he walked down a short hallway and then into a small room that was also lit up by a warm white Light. During this time I continued to ask him how he was and if he was all right. Finally, he turned around. However, rather than answer my repeated questions, when he spoke, he simply said the following four words - "Get The Information Out". As soon as these words were out of his mouth, I woke up abruptly, remembering every detail of the "dream-experience". His instructions are why I am willing to risk embarrassment, ridicule, and even lost business by sharing these things with you.
Interestingly, since having this "dream-experience", I have learned that there is an amazing similarity between what I experienced and descriptions of Heaven in the HOLY BIBLE. In John 14:2, JESUS says "in my FATHER'S house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Revelation 21:10-11 talks about the city of HEAVEN being made of a precious stone like jasper, clear as crystal. Revelation 21:23 tells us more, saying "And the city had no need of the Sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the GLORY OF GOD enlightened it, and the LAMB [is] its lamp."
What I find most encouraging about this last "dream-experience" is that my step-father was NOT a holy man. He never went to Church when I was growing up because he always had things to do. Furthermore, he was a smoker and could cuss like a sailor when he got upset (although this did not happen often). Yet he apparently made it to Heaven. Why? I believe its because he accepted JESUS CHRIST as his LORD and SAVIOR when he was a teenager. Although not "religious" in the traditional sense, he had an unshakable faith in GOD that he carried with him throughout his life (my backside can attest to that!).
Although my step-father's life was hardly that of the perfect Christian, the dream speaks volumes about how the grace of JESUS makes up for our short-comings. Contrary to satan's lies, you don't have to be a "holy roller" or a perfect Christian in order to make it to heaven. You simply have to accept JESUS' payment for your sins. By the same token, GOD will not be mocked. Based upon my near-death experience, I can tell you that standing in front of JESUS when HE is reviewing your life and making HIS judgments is not a picnic. When your turn comes, there will be no secrets - HE will know everything about you, including your every action, thought, feeling, and motive.
As for my skepticism, I have learned that: babies are sinful because they are totally self-centered and selfish; GOD allows birth defects because he made a nearly perfect angel (satan) who wound up rebelling against him; GOD does not want people to suffer - its the laziness and greed of others that allows them to suffer; although there are many religions, there is only one where we are saved from eternal condemnation by the sacrifice of a sinless man instead of our own works; just because a religion claims it is worshipping the one true living GOD doesn't mean it really is; that over the ages, many "wolves in sheep's clothing" have attempted to use Christianity for their own purposes; and although there are many man-made religions and churches out there, the "real thing" is a personal relationship with GOD based on faith.
What the angel in my kitchen told me came to pass - life was VERY hard for a LONG time and I had lots of "bad luck". But I stood on GOD'S promise that everything would turn out all right, because GOD cannot lie. What turned the tide for me was reading (and re-reading) the BIBLE, as well as doing LOTS of fasting and prayer. I Hate fasting, but many people on the Internet reported that fasting put power behind their prayers. So I tried fasting and it worked.
I hope that this testimony helps you believe that there really is a GOD... that HE really does care about us... and that HE understands our problems and struggles. I also hope that this testimony encourages you to learn more about JESUS CHRIST beyond the "Christmas" and "Easter" stories (you may want to start by reading the first 5 books of the NEW TESTAMENT).
I have learned that if we are having difficulties, JESUS has the power to heal us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Through the wisdom in the BIBLE, HE can also help us lead happier and more fulfilling lives (but don't be surprised if that means having to make some changes on your part). And if you decide to accept HIS payment for your sins by inviting Him into your heart, then someday in HEAVEN, if not sooner, you too will get to "See The LIGHT!".
May GOD Bless You and Keep You!
(P.S. Do not expect that accepting JESUS as your LORD and SAVIOR will make your life easy. satan's strategy is to destroy our lives in hopes that we will blame our troubles on GOD and turn our backs on HIM. If you are smart, you won't let satan's attacks fool you, because no matter how hard life may be with GOD, it would be a lot harder without HIM!)
Copyright © 1995-2095 by Charles Nilsson. All COMMERCIAL Rights Reserved Worldwide. This testimony may be freely printed and shared with others provided that: it is not modified nor abridged; it is distributed without charge; and the copyright notices are attached. Scripture Verses Taken From the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and Used By Permission Of The Lockman Foundation.
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