My search is over

My name is Darla Belles, and this is my story:

I grew up in a good moral home. The Methodist church we attended did not mention anything about hell, so I was not concerned about where I would spend eternity. My family and I attended church every Sunday morning, and I was involved in the youth activities.  I thought I was a pretty good person, and if anyone would go to heaven, I would.

One night my family and I went to a Baptist church for special meetings they were having. The message that night was different than anything I had ever heard.  The minister spoke directly from the Bible.  The verses that he read said that every person is a sinner and will face judgment. As I listened to the message, I became concerned about my eternal destiny. Was I going to go to heaven or hell when I died? At the end of the service the pastor invited all who wanted to know more about how to go to heaven to come to the front of the church. I went forward, and someone took me into a room and shared Bible verses with me, but I left the church that night not understanding what it was all about.

My heart was stirred about the things of God, so when a family friend encouraged me to learn more about Jehovah Witnesses, I decided to see what they had to say about God and going to heaven. I was searching for the truth.  Jehovah Witnesses believe you can get to heaven by being good.  I felt that I was a good person so that religion suited me and for a time it calmed my concerns about where I would go when I died. The Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity (that the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost are one God), so they do not believe that Jesus is God, but that did not bother me at the time.  I became very involved with the Jehovah Witnesses. I attended services every week and was learning their doctrine. I was training to go door to door to try to get others involved in their teachings, but the more I learned of their beliefs, the more I realized that they were not what I needed.

One day my mom and I were shopping at a department store. When we came out of the store we noticed there were people with petitions to sign regarding abortion. A lady named Bea asked us if we were saved (Were our sins forgiven? Were we on our way to heaven?)  She gave us some Bible literature to read and invited us to her church. We decided that we wanted to visit Bea’s church, so on Sunday night, May 11, 1969, we visited Berwick Bible Church.  As the pastor preached, I listened intently to the message.

The pastor preached right from the Bible, and as I heard the verses, God spoke to my heart, and I was convicted of my sinfulness.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

The Bible also says that even though I was a sinner, God loved me.

“But God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

The Bible says that Jesus, who is God the Son, came to this earth to die for our sins.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…” I John 3:16

I found out that I could not get to heaven by being good or doing good works, but that God in His mercy and grace was offering me salvation as a free gift.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…”  Titus 3:5

As I sat in the service that Sunday night, I realized that I could not get to heaven by my own merits.  The truth is that I was a lost sinner on my way to hell, but God died and rose again for me, so that I could have eternal life.  I went forward that night and surrendered to Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. What a miracle God did in my heart that night!  He saved me! I had no more doubts or concerns about where I would spend eternity. My search was over!

The night that I got saved I was walking out of the church and a lady in the church came up to me and told me how happy she was for me that I had come to the Lord.  She began to sing to me the words of a gospel song, “There’s a new name written down in glory, and it’s yours, oh yes, it’s yours!”  I was so happy I was saved, and my name was written in heaven. I knew I would be with the Lord forever.  I wanted to tell everybody I met what had happened to me.

Sometime later I was baptized at that church. I wanted to be baptized to show publicly that I was a Christian. I was not ashamed to tell the world what Christ meant to me.  Baptism does not help anyone to get to heaven but it is the first step of obedience after salvation.

It wasn’t long before I started praying for a Christian husband.  Bea introduced me to Gilbert Belles who attended Berwick Bible Church.  Gilbert knew the importance of faithfully attending a good Bible-believing church, and he taught me to be faithful to that kind of church as well.

Gilbert and I were married May 15, 1971. At the wedding the soloist sang the song, “Each for the Other and Both for the Lord” That is the way we felt. Besides having my personal Bible reading and prayer time, Gilbert and I prayed together. Because we put the Lord first and had family devotions, our home was happy. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me a wonderful husband and blessed me with children and grandchildren to love.

We were married for almost 30 years when my husband passed away. Even though it is lonely now without him, I know one day I will be with my husband in heaven. Until that day, I want to continue to serve the Lord. Gilbert’s favorite verse was I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

My favorite verse is Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

My search is over, is yours? Maybe you don’t think you’re searching for something, but if you don’t have the peace of God and the contentment that He brings, then you need to find Jesus Christ. Seek the Lord. Search for him with all your heart.

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13