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Choose Wisely

My testimony from an atheist to a Biblical Christian as an adult.

Life is full of choices, large and small, difficult and easy. And some you didn’t know were important.

This will be somewhat of a brief thumbnail sketch of my life before that choice. 

I grew up in Northern California in what was then a small town — Redding, California. I was a happy kid who my grandparents partly raised. 

I played sports, Little League, Pop Warner, and the local swim team. And, since my father was a pretty good actor, I got involved in civic theater throughout high school. 

So basically, you could say I had a normal American life. 

Except for one thing. I only visited a church maybe twice as a kid and was never told about Jesus either time.

College became a passionate pursuit of freedom to do whatever I wanted. I did a lot of drugs. It is a miracle that I managed to earn my degree. But, by that time, I realized that the drugs were causing extreme anxiety and depression, so I quit smoking marijuana and went home to Redding, back to my old beer-drinking ways. I chose to quit.

After a painful, failed marriage, I began to drink even heavier than I had before. Until my best friend grabbed me and took me off the street. And challenged me to make a choice. Keep living the death spiral or change. So, I ended up in the Coast Guard and Officer Candidate School. I chose to grow.

My story about choices comes to this point of the most important choice I could ever make that I had no idea was there to make. I had been living in ignorance of THE most important, life-or-death choice anyone could make in their life.

My now wife Nancy had been attempting to tell me about Jesus for a couple of years, ever since my divorce from my first wife. But, it wasn’t until I found myself on board USCGC Boutwell, in the middle of the freezing Bering Sea, that I felt as if my life was a failure and devoid of any kind of meaning. A profound desperation came over me. I let my barriers down and opened my mind to what she was trying to tell me. I chose to understand.

Nancy sent me two books that I read over a few months at sea that led me to read parts of the Bible. I know the Truth when I see it. So on Halloween of 1979, on board Cutter Boutwell, I broke down and admitted that Jesus was who He says He is, and very emotionally cried out to Him to save me from the life I was so intent on screwing up. 

I chose Life. I chose Jesus. 

Deuteronomy 30: 19–20, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

There is a difference between life with Jesus and life without Jesus from someone on this side of that decision. Life without Jesus is not life at all. It is a shadow of a dying world. 

Choose Jesus!


AuthorDerek Hastings | BCWorldview.org 

Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

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