“I NEED HELP”… This is how the conversation began. He was an 18 year-old young man just trying to graduate but he was unfortunately frozen with a fear of death. Through this conversation, Paul would discover that this fear of death was well founded.
This young man shared that two of his basketball teammates had just died. The first from cardiac arrest and the other had committed suicide. He wanted to know what happens “the second we die” and if his two friends went to Heaven. Paul empathized regarding the death of his friends but let him know that unfortunately he couldn’t answer for sure on what happened to them because he did not know them. But, he could guarantee what happened if they had a relationship with Jesus.
This young man continued to share this inescapable fear that he was having of death and wanted to be sure that he would be with Jesus when he died. Paul shared the good news that comes with knowing Jesus. The young man engaged and shared that his name is Zachary. After several discussions on how we can be saved, Zachary eventually prayed the following:
Lord, I come to You at this time and turn away from my sin. I know at times that I have tried to do things on my own and haven’t turned to you. I ask You to forgive me of those times when I put myself before You. I know that the Bible calls this sin and lets us know that we have all sinned but at this time I want to turn away from that sin and ask You into my life as Lord and Savior. I know that You promised me in Romans 10:13 that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. I am calling on You now and thanking You for coming into my life. Now I have the assurance that I will be with You in heaven. Amen.
After Zachary prayed, Paul let him know that he would keep the conversation open so he could contact him at any time. In the month that followed, Zachary contacted the ministry on many occasions with questions about his faith. At one point, Zachary grew frustrated that he just wasn’t feeling confident in his walk. Paul talked with him and shared what the bible said about practicing our faith but knew it was not registering. Then late one night it came to him. Paul remembered Zachary was a basketball player and wrote him the next morning asking how well he shot free throws. Zach admitted he struggled in that area and Paul shared that he had also struggled with free throws but it was only with consistent practice that it got better. He continued to explain that it was the same dynamic with their faith – practice will make it better. Zachary needed to spend time with God daily and make it an area of emphasis in his life. Imagine the joy when the next text Paul received from Zachary was, “I get it”.
They have continued talking via text for over 2 months as Paul has watched Zachary continue to grow in Christ. Last month, Paul got more good news via text from Zachary – “Hey, last night I graduated!!!”