I remember that Sunday morning when I fell at the feet of Jesus. I was but a young child but oh how I had felt that growing sense that something was wrong. I would hear about Jesus, sing songs about Jesus and even say little prayers but something was gnawing within me that all was not well. Though I don't know as I ever had heard the word used, I really did feel separated and I did not want that!
There was no altar call that Sunday morning before Sunday School. Only a few people praying in a corner for the parents of some children who came to Sunday School and yet I "heard" that call to come. Fear of being reprimanded held me back but the God who loves us understood and had compassion on my fears. He "spoke" to my mother who was standing in the pew where I was seated. She had been praying as well but then stopped and turned to me, asking me if I wanted to ask Jesus to come into my heart.
I remember nodding my head but whispering, "I can't" as tears filled my eyes.
Puzzled, my mother asked me why and I whispered back that there had been no altar call.
Now my mother understood what was wrong. I had been taught to stay seated in church unless you were told by the pastor to stand or invited to come forward. In fact, I had even been punished before for not behaving in church.
Quietly she explained that it was always okay to pray and indeed when Jesus calls, we must come. Was it true? I really could go and throw myself at His feet?
My mother smiled and told me yes. I could come and if I liked, she would go with me. I reached out and took her hand. Together we walked down the aisle and I fell down at the altar. The tears fell unchecked. Oh how desolate I felt! I had such an ache in my heart that I seemed to know could only be taken away by God.
Perhaps some people might smile at the idea of a small child suddenly facing the ugliness of the blight of sin upon them but that is exactly what happened. The Holy Spirit opened up my eyes, not to sinful actions but sin itself! I remember that I was speechless with horror and grief. This was what was between me and God and I was undone. I was lost!
All I could do at that point was simply cry out from the depths of my heart that I was sorry and ask Jesus to forgive me. Just please forgive me. That was it. There were no expectations of what His response would be. I wasn't even begging for mercy because I was guilty and I knew it. All I was seeking was forgiveness because I had done wrong against God.
How does a child of seven understand this? Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Never, ever say or even think that a child cannot understand the things that God wants them to understand. Never.
There is an old hymn called "Joy Unspeakable" and the words of the last verse are:
I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o'erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.
That is what happened to me on that Sunday morning so long ago when I begged for forgiveness and found myself caught up in God's love, mercy and grace.
And the angels are still rejoicing.
How lovely to read this story - it's not often that I get the pleasure and blessing to read the account of someone who was saved as a very young child.
Your description - "The Holy Spirit opened up my eyes, not to sinful actions but sin itself! I remember that I was speechless with horror and grief. This was what was between me and God and I was undone. I was lost!" - you knew your need for Jesus so deeply as soon as your eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit to sin, even though you had only just reached what my mother-in-law always calls "the age of reason". How lovely and amazing!
We went to a special mission a couple of times a year when we were children, but I especially remember one mission we attended, when I was around that age. I think because the space was so small, everyone who wanted to confess Jesus as their Lord and Saviour was invited to simply stand and sing the final a verse of a hymn. I wanted to stand but my grandmother pulled me back. "You are ALREADY saved, Sarah," she told me in whispers. Even today I still puzzle over this sometimes, because at the time I was a little crestfallen. Looking back again now, I can only think it says nothing about me, everything about her own unshakeable faith that God had saved her 'and her household'.
God bless - and thank you for sharing this treasure from the memory-box!