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A Relationship with God

I was raised in a Catholic family. My parents feared God and attended church regularly. They strongly believed that God existed, but did not have a personal relationship with Him. I was a seeking young person in the 1970ís and had many questions regarding the turmoil of the era. Why were my young friends going to Vietnam? Why were young people being shot and killed on college campuses? Why was there segregation? Didnít God notice? Didnít He care? Where was He, anyway? On a more personal level, I longed for a relationship. I wanted someone to love me unconditionally. Not too many people could offer me that kind of love.

A close friend of mine went away for the summer and came back a ďJesus personĒ. I didnít really know what happened to her but she was different and she loved Jesus. I didnít think it was strange to love Jesus. But she loved Him because she seemed to know Him. That was very intriguing. Unfortunately, she never told me how I could know Him. But her experience sparked the searching in me to know Jesus.

I went away to college and was drawn to fellowship there with a group of Christians. The people seemed friendly which was very unusual for a competitive music school. I attended one of their meetings and was horrified when I was asked to pray out loud. I stumbled over my words and uttered something like, ďOh God, Iím not worthy to pray to You. But I want to know You.Ē I left the meeting feeling like I was on the right track. Maybe somehow, someday, I thought, I could talk to God like those people did. He seemed to be their friend.

In the meantime, my friends from home had stopped calling me and were not very good at writing letters. I felt abandoned and discarded. I just wanted a lasting relationship with someone who would return the love I offered. I went to the cafeteria in tears and was invited to sit down at a table with two students I recognized from the Christian group. I was lonely, upset and desperate. They told me that the Lord Jesus loved me unconditionally and that I could have a relationship with him. At first, I rejected this-I had been to church, I said all the prayers and I didnít have any kind of relationship with God. He was too far away, too distant. But they persisted and said that what I had before was an objective knowledge that God existed. They told me that if I opened up my heart and invited Jesus to come into my life, I would enter into a lasting relationship with Him. He was the friend I had been looking for. He offered the love that was unconditional. He laid down His life for me. So I prayed with them, asking Jesus to forgive my sins and to come into my heart and be my life. At that moment, I walked out of a lonely, rejection-filled life and entered into a life where I am continually being supplied by the life of God. I was filled with hope for the first time in my life. The emptiness in the core of my being was gone! And I experienced being loved unconditionally by the One who loved me and gave His life for me.

Joanne Juraschek

The Church in Newton

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