Danny, Canada, Age 42
December 21, 2001
The next 5 minutes could change your life … just by spending the time necessary to find out how. It only takes … 5 minutes.
My name is Danny Parkes. I was born in 1962 and was raised on the South Shore of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in the suburb of St-Lambert.
When I was growing up, the thing that seemed to interest me the most was building things. I built things out of wood in my father’s workshop. I also liked to build electronic things. Later on, I was able to go to university, and I decided to study electrical engineering, because this was something I knew I liked to do and was good at.
I guess you could say I was a real achiever. I was good at school. I was good at electronics. But deep inside, my heart was aching. You see, all my life, I wanted to have a close, caring relationship, particularly with my father. But I had a problem. Even though my father was a very good man in many ways, I was afraid of him. So, I was never able to open up to him my deepest, innermost heart feelings, because I was afraid he would get mad at me, or maybe he would laugh at me. So, this caused me to keep all my feelings bottled up inside of me.
Now I didn’t realize something, but all the while I was growing up, my picture of God was getting formed. Do you know what I mean by this? When we grow up, we learn about who God is from our parents (or, if we don’t have parents, then we learn about God from our guardians). In my case, if I could not be open with my own father about my personal feelings, then with God it was the same way. So, growing up, I developed this picture of God in my mind, and the picture was this: “Don’t share your feelings with him, because he might get mad at you.”
Well, something amazing happened to me just before I finished university in the spring of 1985. One day, I was sitting down talking with this Christian girl. She was telling me all about Jesus coming back to judge this world one day. “Good!” I thought to myself. I wanted Jesus to come back so that he could judge my (then) girlfriend, because, at that time, I felt cheated by her because she had been unfaithful to me in our relationship.
You see, I believed Jesus would come back to judge the world, but I didn’t see how this related to me, personally. I didn’t see that if Jesus was going to come back and judge the world, then he would come back to judge me, too, for all the wrong things I had done. And there were many. I had stolen from, and cheated many people. I had held bitterness in my heart on many occasions. Yes, that was the type of person I was, back then.
You see, I had a hard time loving others, too, because I felt so rejected by my father. I really tried hard to earn his acceptance. In fact, that was about the one thing I wanted the most — his acceptance. I guess you could say, we just didn’t see “eye to eye” in the area of acceptance. To him, it seemed that he would only accept me if I did a lot of work for him. Otherwise, he would be mad. But for me, I wanted to be accepted, just the way I was (of course, I was open to change. But I wanted to be accepted first, not on the basis of my works, but because of a loving, caring relationship with my father. That relationship really never came, at least, not when I was younger.)
So, I really couldn’t love others, because I really didn’t love myself and, deep down, I don’t think I really had very much capacity to love others if first I didn’t realize that I myself was loved. I was always striving to find approval in other people’s eyes. I didn’t realize that, already, God had sent Jesus Christ to die for me on the cross. That’s how much God valued me as a person. He valued me so much, that Jesus actually gave his life for me. But I didn’t realize that. I didn’t realize he loved me that much. So I basically hated myself.
Now the amazing part is that, as I was sitting there talking with this girl about Jesus, I had this picture in my mind of Jesus on the cross, dying for me and thinking about me. At the same time, I knew that God was speaking to my heart and saying, “Come to me.” For the first time, it seems, I could identify with someone. Jesus felt rejected on that cross, and he suffered alone. I, too, sometimes had felt very rejected, very lonely, and very misunderstood. I knew that I could identify with Jesus that day, and that he really understood me. Yes, for the first time, I really began to feel close to him. For the first time, I found somebody who really cared for me, who I could really identify with, and trust.
A Loving, Caring, God
Even though I had done so many wrong things in my life, there was Jesus, on the cross, dying for me. I put my trust in Christ right then and there. That’s the time when I would say that I became a truly believing Christian. That’s the first time that I truly began to trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour — so now, I did not need to fear him as my Judge. May I ask you a question? How about you? Have you trusted Christ as your Saviour? If you do, you will not need to fear him as your Judge. One day, you know, he is coming back. On that day, it may be too late to make up your decision. Why don’t you make up your decision right now, like I did over 16 years ago? It is a very rewarding experience. Deep down, too, you will lose your fear of death, because you will know that if you were to die tonight, then God would accept you, because you accepted his free gift of eternal life.
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”1 I would like to encourage you to put your faith in Christ today, for the forgiveness of your sins. It’s really that easy. By faith you receive him. Now, confess him with your lips to someone you love, and that will be the outward proof of your faith. Like Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”2
Many Years Ago
As far as my own decision is concerned, I made that over 16 years ago. And there has been no turning back. And since then, I have been learning to walk by faith and to trust God more and more each day. But it has not always been easy. One of the greatest struggles I have had is learning to rest in God’s presence. That was something I always had a hard time doing with my own father. But for those who have truly accepted Jesus into their hearts, the Bible says, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”3
In other words, if you have begun to trust Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, then none of the bad things you’ve done need to stand in the way of your having a close, caring relationship with God. That’s because Jesus took God’s just punishment for us, already, for all of those bad things which we have done, when he died and suffered so much on the cross. That was a terrible suffering that he went through. Think of all the pain he experienced, and he did it for you and me! God’s love is that great. Jesus took the burden which we were supposed to take. By faith, we can receive his finished work into our lives. Yes, it is an act of our wills. It is an act of faith. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”4 That is what the Christian life is all about. It is about constantly believing in Him, and trusting Him — every day, for the rest of our lives.
Free To Enjoy A Loving Relationship
Because of what Christ did for us in dying on the cross in payment for our sins, now we’re free to enjoy the relationship which God always wanted us to have with him. We’re free to enter into God’s presence because the payment for sin has already been made. God’s wrath is satisfied! (That makes God sound like an angry God, doesn’t it? Well, God is angry. He’s angry at our sin, but he loved us so much that he sent Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ becomes the payment for our sin when we accept him into our heart, by faith.)
God’s Care As A Father
God loves us, and he will never take that love away from us. Sometimes, of course, God’s love means that he must correct us when we do harmful or hurtful things to ourselves and to others — that’s normal. God is not “soft,” you know. He does want us to live a proper life, and he expects it from us, too.
I wouldn’t say that life as a Christian has always been easy — or that it will necessarily be that easy for you, too, if you have decided to put your faith in Christ. But after 16 years of being a Christian, I can truly say that I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Why? I guess it’s because I know that now, as God’s child, I am truly accepted by God, both for now and for evermore.
A Personal Challenge
If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you a very personal question. If you had to stand before Jesus Christ right now, as your Judge, would you be ready?
In the Bible, it says, that, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment!”5 Think about it, we only get one chance in this life, then we die! Have you made the decision to trust Christ, or are you still waiting for something “better” to come along? Jesus gave his life for you … is that not good enough? Will you be ready when your turn comes? One day, you are going to have to answer to him, personally!
If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour, then you will not ever need to fear him as your Judge again. It is true, of course, that you will still have to stand before him as your judge, but that will be as a Christian and not as someone who has turned his or her back on God. That will be a judgment in which all true believers will be examined for how they lived their lives on this earth. Did they really serve God to the fullest? Did they do their best? As it says in the Bible, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”6
Yet, as a truly committed Christian, you do not ever need to fear God’s wrath (or anger) against sin again. Jesus has paid the price. You yourself received that free gift when you decided to receive Jesus Christ into your heart, by faith. That, my friend, is what the Christian life is all about. I hope that you, too, have decided to follow Christ, for the rest of your life.
(1) Romans 6:23 (2) Matthew 10:32-33 (3) Romans 8:1 (4) John 1:12 (5) Hebrews 9:27 (6) 2 Corinthians 5:10
Revised Dec 24, 2003
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