Hope For people struggling with assurance

I was brought up in a God-fearing family. My father read the Bible to us in family worship twice a day. I was about seven when I began to be interested in reading the Bible myself, but it was with little conviction of sins. Usually I was content with myself, and just occasionally I would think about what Dad was telling us.

However, a few years later, I was hit with the realization that hell was REALLY waiting for the wicked. I wasn’t at all sure that I believed on Jesus Christ as my Saviour. A feeling of horror and guilt would sometimes come. I remember from this time, though, some things God was clearly doing for me; for example when I was in physical danger the Lord would answer my prayers for help. This gave me a greater awareness of the truth and mercy of God, and I kept on asking for salvation, and for assurance of it.

I remember once when we had all sung psalm 27, “The Lord’s my light and saving health”, and God was beginning to show me what He is really like. And something from John Bunyan’s book “The Heavenly Footman” really stirred me: “What shall I say? Time runs; and will you be slothful?… Your souls are worth a thousand worlds; and will you be slothful? The day of death and judgement is at the door; and will you be slothful?… The curse of God hangs over your heads; and will you be slothful?”

When I was about thirteen, the Lord began to reveal to me what Christ’s atoning death on the cross had accomplished. I already knew the words, but this wasn’t something from man’s wisdom. I realized more than ever, why Jesus shed His blood; I loved the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in the Gospel of John.

But I still did not have assurance of salvation, and after this I began to get complacent. I started to slacken in my search and lean on the things of the world for my stay. A little of the ways of the world isn’t too bad is it? I found out – yes – it is too bad!

When I was seventeen God warned me; there was absolutely no way out and I knew it, and the words of David here were for me: “There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.”

But one day I opened up the Bible and by the grace of God saw John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Over a period of time I kept seeing verses like that, and they were full of meaning to me. Gradually I began to realize it: “He that hears my word, and believes…” My prayer became “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

I do not know when I was converted; but I know for certain that “whereas I was blind, now I see.” God called me in His everlasting love when I was dead in sin, and He has given me eternal life! Now I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Saviour, and He is still strengthening me in faith.

To everyone who is searching, I have this to say: never give up. And if you’re not even looking, start now. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Stephen Tanner

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