Rita Dennison - Saginaw, Michigan

"Death is coming, coming, coming; And the Judgment Day; Hasten sinner, hasten sinner, Seek the narrow way." The singing of this hymn, in a gospel meeting, was my first exposure to the gospel. Never before had I heard such a pointed message, not only in song, but also in preaching.

That first gospel meeting was the beginning of the awakening of my soul. This was all so new to me. My life consisted in seeking the pleasures available to a teenager. Enjoying the world was utmost on my heart. Now I was subdued. Hell? Could it be possible that I would end up in hell? In my circle of friends, hell was a joke. Now I was hearing something entirely different.

Earlier that spring, my mother was saved. She knew the gospel well, having heard it from her mother all her life. When the gospel first came to our little community that spring of 1962, my mother recognized it immediately as being the truth, the way of salvation. My father, my brother and I, were not so receptive. It was of no concern to us. However, God was working. A few weeks later in April, my mother was saved - the same night that her father died.

Death was real, but its solemnity waned. Exams at school provided an excuse for me to refuse to go to meeting. The devil used the common legitimate things to dilute the impact of eternity. He is a master at it.

My excuses for not going to meeting soon wore thin, especially after school let out. After attending that first meeting, I soon discovered, from the preaching of His Word, that I was a sinner and deserved to be punished in hell for my sins; God would be just and right in abandoning me to hell and the lake of fire. There was no argument; I believed it, for God said it in His Word. I realized that I needed to be saved; I needed a Saviour.

In the beginning of July, my father and brother professed salvation. This bothered me greatly. Would I miss heaven? I longed to be saved.

Night after night I feared sleep. Would I die and wake up in hell? I prayed. I cried. I didn’t want to go to hell. I wanted salvation. The world was of no interest to me now. The words from John 3:18 echoed in my mind every night – "condemned already." There was nothing I could do.

On July 26, while I was at my grandmother’s house next door, the preachers came to visit. One of the preachers and I talked. He showed me verses from the Bible, illustrated the reality of believing, prayed with me, gave me his son’s Bible and left. Emptiness flooded my soul. Why had I not received salvation?

With the Bible in hand, I started walking home. Although I had not known what to expect, I somehow thought that salvation had been very near while talking with the preacher. Now? Salvation was beyond my grasp! There was no hope for me! I had missed it! I would be in hell forever!

I stopped walking, held the Bible up to my chest and gazed up into the clear blue summer sky – with empty soul, longing to be saved. At that instant, the thought came to me; "that’s where I’m going because Jesus died for me." Jesus died for me? Yes, that’s it! Jesus died for me! It was a revelation from God to my soul.

This, my friend, is salvation. Don’t miss it. It is real!