While some often look to a new year to bring new hope, nothing but failure seemed to loom over the horizon for a young man scheduled to graduate that year in 1970.
1969 was a bitter year for that boy. He applied for admission into three colleges. He was rejected by all, in part due to his poor grades in previous years.
He had just about straight "A's" to grade 5, and would often tell his parents he intended to be a research chemist. That changed when he was arrested for a misdemeanor. Because of his heavy guilt and embarrassment, for about a whole year he felt he could not eat meals with the rest of the family, choosing to dine in the living room. In school he was on the edge of failing. A few years later, he committed a second infraction. A third might mean a stay at a juvenile correctional facility in Trenton, NJ.
When in high school, he anticipated being a student in its chemistry class, but soon discovered that, though he thought he was quite smart in chemistry, he was unable to grasp what was being taught. His grades had improved, but on the whole they were usually below average.
The 1969 rejection by the three colleges hurt, and, like everyone else -- being a sinner by nature, he had done additional things that added to his guilt and sense of failure. The burden was so heavy he attempted suicide twice in one night in December 1969.
When 1970 arrived, the guilt and failure remained heavy upon him. Though he was a God hater for certain reasons, he did listen to evangelist Billy Graham, but would mock the theme song and sing "How great Thou Aren't."
Sunday night, January 25, 1970, he tuned-in to Graham again, who had been preaching on Revelation a number of times in previous weeks. For some reason the preacher made sense that night, saying that all the world would be judged, and that Christ is the only righteous Judge, for He was without sin and is all God and all man.
Graham gave the call to salvation -- listeners should commit fully to Jesus Christ. The boy thought about for almost an hour.
Around 11:25 p.m., he knelt by his bed, asked God to forgive him, asked Christ into his heart, and committed his life to Him.
Suddenly the tremendous load of guilt and sense of failure was removed! Though a guilty sinner and a failure, the boy discovered the power of John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."
No matter who you are or what you have done, if you respond to the Holy Spirit and commit to Christ, you too can be freed, just as I was.
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