Day 18 – Cindy Petterson: Personal Testimony
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV)
Back in 1990, watching the TV show Alf was something I looked forward to every week. My whole family would sit in the living room, watch the show, and enjoy a nighttime snack. But on February 5, 1990, as my family sat, ate, and watched, I went to my bedroom alone. My parents immediately knew that something was wrong. I knew I wasn’t a Christian, and it was the only thing I could think about.
I grew up in a Christian family. We went to church every week, the Bible was read all the time in our home, and my parents often talked to me about salvation. The church I grew up in had gospel preaching services every week, so I always knew I was a sinner. I also knew, intellectually, that Jesus died on the cross, that there was a Heaven and a Hell, and that I needed to be saved in order to be in Heaven. But knowing these things didn’t save me.
I didn’t really think all that much about salvation until my sister became a Christian. I remember her telling me she had gotten saved, and I asked her how it happened. She said she had believed Jesus died on the cross for her and He forgave her sins. It sounded so easy! I repeated what she said—I believed Jesus died on the cross for me. I said it, but I didn’t really believe it. I thought, Maybe I am saved now, but deep down I knew I actually wasn’t. Nothing had changed inside of me. When a person is saved, there is a change in their life, but that couldn’t be said of me. Unfortunately, I didn’t think much more about this for a few years.
It might sound strange (because I was only 8 years old!) but I remember being worried about what would happen if I died. Not many 8-year-old kids think about death, but I did. I worried about it because I knew I wasn’t saved and would be in hell if I died. I started talking to my dad more about it. He always came and prayed with me before bed, which I loved. I started asking him questions—”How can I be saved?” Being the wise and caring dad that he was, he would read verses from the Bible and answer my questions, but nothing was clicking. He even told me to put my name in John 3:16, but it still wasn’t clicking. Why wasn’t I understanding? What was the matter with me?
On that Monday night in February, after we came home from an event, I remember not wanting to watch Alf and not even wanting a snack. This was highly unusual! I went right to bed and lay alone in my room. I prayed and asked God to forgive my sins—that was what He had done for my sister. I told Him I knew I was a sinner and that His Son, Jesus, had died for me. Finally, I did what my dad had told me to do: I put my name into John 3:16. Maybe you’ve never heard of this before, but as you read the verse quoted above, follow along: “For God so loved Cindy, that He gave His only begotten Son; that if Cindy believes in Him, Cindy will not perish, but Cindy will have everlasting life.” It finally made sense to me. It was all for me—it became personal. It has to be personal, for it was my sin that needed to be forgiven! I put my trust in Him, and that was all I needed to do. After many nights going to bed filled with worry and fear, I finally went to bed with a smile on my face. I was saved, forgiven, and sure of Heaven forever.
Do you have that same peace? Nothing else and no other person will give you that peace. Only Jesus can save you, forgive you, and give you the gift of eternal life. God loves you so much that He sent His only Son for you so you could have everlasting life and peace.
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