Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace.” John 16:33
During my freshman year at the U. of Md., I often took solitary walks through the campus whenever I was distressed or discouraged. These walks frequently ended at the University Chapel. The doors were usually unlocked day or night. I would enter the empty quiet chapel and sit alone on one of the pews. It was a place that I could find peace.
Peace, serenity, tranquility – I was desperate to find these spiritual gifts. My home life was anything but peaceful. And although I found temporary relief when I sat inside the chapel, I soon discovered that the peace I felt when I sat there only lasted while I was inside the building. As soon as I left, the feeling of peace also left.
I don’t remember the details of that conversation, but I do remember thinking that this girl, in spite of her troubles, had the peace that I longed for.
Then one night in February, I walked to the chapel again. But to my surprise the doors were locked. So I sat outside on the large white marble steps. I was not alone. Another college girl was also there. She was sitting on the steps reading her Bible. We began a conversation. I told her what was troubling me about my homelife and then she shared with me her personal struggles. I don’t remember the details of that conversation, but I do remember thinking that this girl, in spite of her troubles, had the peace that I longed for. I desperately wanted that peace. We prayed together. I don’t recall the words to our prayers but I do remember that after we prayed I felt joyful and giddy as if a great burden had been lifted from my soul.
But I didn’t understand what had happened to me. And I didn’t know how to maintain this new joy.
Not long after that evening, I noticed some campus posters advertising an upcoming program featuring a magician speaking about prophecy. My roommate was researching a report on the occult, so we both decided to attend. During the first half of the show, the magician, Andre Kole, entertained his audience by performing a series of professional tricks. But at the intermission he announced that he was a Christian and that Campus Crusade for Christ had invited him to our University. He said that after the intermission, he was going to talk to us about Jesus. My roommate left during the intermission, but I stayed.
During the second part of the program, Andre Kole explained how God sent his son Jesus to pay for the penalty of our sins by dying on the cross. He explained that we must repent of our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior in order to be forgiven. Then with a magic trick using a lantern and light, Mr. Kole demonstrated how Jesus comes into our life like a light fills a lantern when we accept Him as our Savior. The light in the trick represented the Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian believer.
Mr. Kole said we could invite Jesus to come into our life by prayer. He gave a sample prayer that was something like this: “Dear Jesus, I admit that I have sinned and need a Savior. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Come into my life, and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.”
I was thrilled to hear all this explained. I finally understood by Mr. Kole’s words and the visual demonstration of the lantern trick just what had taken place on the chapel steps a few nights previously. Now I realized that the peace I had felt after praying with the girl on the chapel steps was the moment Jesus had come into my life.
In John 14:16 and 17 Jesus said that the Spirit of truth, also called the Helper, will “abide with you and will be in you.” That is exactly what happened to me that February evening on the chapel steps when I prayed to Jesus. The Holy Spirit had come into me and was now living His life in me. Jesus was the Peace I had been searching for. And unlike the temporary peace that came and went when I walked in and out of the chapel, now I had His everlasting peace permanently living within me through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. That wonderful day happened over 50 years ago and I can proclaim sincerely that Jesus has kept his promise to me all these years. He has never failed me or left me. And He continues to fill me with His everlasting peace. If you too are searching for inner peace, I encourage you to pray to Jesus, the Prince of Peace! He will never fail you or leave you.
More Faith Stories
I’d been drinking all day long and pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle with a with a woman and all of her children packed into this car. They T-boned me and at that moment everything went blank.
One Sunday the music director said the handbell choir needed more members. I thought, “No, I wasn’t ready to get involved.” At the end of the service I found myself volunteering for bell choir!
One Sunday afternoon I was sitting drunk in a bar, and I’m looking around. The only ones in the bar were the bartender, some shady looking guy in the corner, my ex-boyfriend’s mom, and me. I heard this voice in my head say, “What am I doing here?”
This past year I found a black dot on my thumbnail that looked like a pencil point. Nothing much to it. Then it became an abrasion at the end of my nail. My doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who found it to be malignant skin cancer.
At that point I said, “I can’t do this myself. It’s in your hands, God.” That part I remember clearly. It turns out that it was really, really was up to Him (and a good surgeon).
So when drugs and alcohol came around, it was easy for me to say “yes,” because I didn’t have anything in me saying “no” anymore. As I got more involved with drugs, I got into more crime. I started committing violent crimes, selling drugs, abusing drugs ended up back up in prison.