I was smiling on the outside, but so miserable on the inside

My name is Sara Laidacker, and this is my story:

One of the earliest memories I have is of my grandma teaching me songs about the Bible and Jesus. Although she died when I was five, my parents continued to take me to the Bible-believing church that my grandma had so loved. Going to church was fine with me during my grade school years, but when I entered my teen years, I wanted to sleep late on Sunday mornings. Besides, I was embarrassed that we attended such a plain little church. My parents, however, were firm and made me go to the little church in spite of my complaints. On Wednesdays and Sundays our church had evening services, which my dear aunt attended. She lived almost next door to me, and I loved to visit her. However, I would avoid her on Wednesdays and Sundays, because I didn’t want her ask me to go to evening church services with her. I was already going to church most Sunday mornings, and I didn’t like that; why would I want to go to the evening services? I knew who God was. I had learned from the Bible at a young age that God was one God in three Persons: the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Yes, I knew who God was, but I didn’t want Him to have control of my life. I was active in high school clubs and on the cheerleading squad, and my time was spent having “fun.” I felt that if God had His way in my life, I wouldn’t have any fun.

I enjoyed life…. that is until the middle of my senior year of high school. That was when I began to be aware of an emptiness inside me. Fears began to creep into my mind. Questions about life and why we are here on this earth plagued me. I couldn’t sort it all out. I was extremely unhappy, and I didn’t know why. It seemed I had nothing to be unhappy about. After all, I had a wonderful family, I had my friends, and I had no school problems. What was missing in my life? I continued through the rest of my senior year as the class clown during the day, but at night I was so miserable that I often cried myself to sleep. I began to say prayers before going to bed. Night after night, I got on my knees and asked God to help me, but it seemed the prayers didn’t get through the ceiling.

When I entered my freshman year of college that September, I became more confused. As a science major, I was being taught that the Bible wasn’t true, and that the human race evolved from apes. I began to try to read my Bible to see if the professors were right about the contradictions in it, but I couldn’t understand much of what I read. In desperation, I threw the Bible across the room.

I had been the girl who had wanted to have fun, but having fun wasn’t important to me anymore. I just wanted peace in my heart. I was so unhappy that I did not want to live anymore. I thought about suicide, but I felt that suicide would hurt my dear parents. I knew they loved me, and I didn’t want them to suffer the grief of losing me. Besides, suicide meant dying, and I was afraid to die, because I wasn’t sure where I’d end up—in heaven or hell.

While I probably seemed like a pretty good girl to other people, God knew my heart. He knew my sin. He knew about my unclean thoughts and jokes, my swearing, and my attitude toward church. I didn’t deserve to go to heaven, so I had second thoughts about suicide.

I needed peace so badly! I finally came to the point where I was ready to swallow my pride; I humbly decided to call the pastor of our little church. He was a kind, elderly man who seemed to care about his congregation; I knew he loved the Bible and believed that it was true. Perhaps I could get help from him.

I called the pastor and told him I needed to talk to him, and he said I should come right over to his house. He lived just 6 blocks away, so I quickly walked there. We sat down, and I told him everything that was going through my mind. He prayed, and then I prayed.

I cannot remember the words I spoke when I prayed. What mattered to God was not the words I said, but the attitude of my heart. In my heart I didn’t care about having my own way anymore. In my heart I was sick of my sinful life. I had come to the point where I was ready to surrender to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Saviour who died for me and arose from the dead! As Almighty God, He wanted me to surrender my will to Him and allow Him to rule my life. As I sat there praying in my pastor’s home, I didn’t care what God would ask of me. I didn’t care if I had to sit around and read my Bible all day. Why, I didn’t even care if God put me in a wheelchair or if He sent me to Africa! I just wanted peace! I was ready to be His servant. I fully surrendered that moment to the Master.

After we finished praying, I felt so relieved. The burden was gone! As I walked home from my pastor’s house that October day, I was crying with tears of joy, and I wondered if the church had services that evening. I wanted to go to church! I had never wanted to go to church before, but the Lord had changed my desires! I began to read my Bible every day, and I understood what I read. I knew in my heart that everything I read was true. I was so happy! The emptiness and confusion were gone! The Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ, had changed my heart and my mind. Only God could have changed me so completely.

I was saved that day in my pastor’s house. I knew it. I had been born again! God had performed a miracle in my heart. (This was so unlike the experience I had years earlier when I attended a neighborhood Bible club. At the club I had prayed and asked Christ to save me, but I didn’t get saved at that time because my prayer came from a selfish heart—I wanted to go to heaven, but I didn’t want Jesus to control my life. In other words, I wanted Him as my Saviour, but I didn’t want Him as my Lord: I wanted Him as my Rescuer, but I rejected Him as my Ruler.)

The Bible says in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him (Jesus), the iniquity of us all.”  Before I was saved, I was the sheep astray. I  wanted my own way. I was in Satan’s trap. He had deceived me. Satan wanted me to go to hell when I died, so he tried to keep me from giving my life to Christ. But Jesus, in His amazing grace and love, reached down and saved me from my sin.  “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!”  Jesus Christ saved me and gave me lasting peace. He can do same thing for you.

Before Jesus came down from heaven to be born in Bethlehem, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words of prophecy about Him: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Only Jesus, the mighty God and Prince of Peace, can give you true peace and satisfy your soul.