The Long Road Home


by Lura Langenback

© 02/15/02

All my life I believed that I was a Christian. We went to a congregational church, to Sunday school, and did all the right things to show ourselves and the world that we were truly God's people. Yet, all the time I was searching for something, not belonging, not really being where I should be, still not knowing where I was supposed to be.

My Mother couldn't find me one Sunday morning. She frantically looked everywhere. Finally, in desperation, because it was the last place she thought to look, she found me sitting in the front pew of the church down the street from where we lived. I was three years old. There was a fascination with the Lord in me even then.

When I was five, my Mother and Dad didn't go to church. We had moved and there were no churches near us. Then someone built one right across the alley (a road that goes behind a house yet is not designated with a street name) from us. I snuck out and went to church there for many weeks. They finally found out about it, thought it was cute and allowed me to continue going there. I was in love with going to church.

When the folks realized that I wanted, needed to attend church, we started going to the congregational church. As I grew up, things changed. This church had people in it much like every place of worship I have ever seen. Some were nice, some not so nice and some were there just because someone had told them it was the right thing to do. We even had a woman who came up to us every single Sunday, talked to my folks, grabbed my cheek, pinched it, told my parents how much I had grown since the last time she saw me. My goodness, I disliked that woman and I was certain that God didn't much care for her either.

My Sunday school classes were less than satisfactory. For the most part, I was unaccepted, set apart, unusual, different, and eventually it soured me on church. My parents could see that I didn't like going anymore and told me that we no longer needed to attend if I chose not to. I agreed. That was the last time church was interesting to me for years. Yet I was still a Christian. I believed in God. I knew I wasn't that bad, therefore still a candidate for heaven. In fact, I knew that God wouldn't send ME to hell anyway. Everyone went to heaven, right?

When I was old enough to leave my parents, I started searching for something, never belonging anywhere. Nowhere could I call home. Please understand that my folks were very loving people and I loved them yet there was something wrong, something not quite the way it should be. I didn't know what that was. For years, the roads were more friendly than any one place. Something was always wrong, not quite in sync. Have you been there?

Music is very important to me. I loved many styles and had a large number of records (this is obviously pre-cassette tapes and discs). There was one that was a favorite and I played it over and over. For some reason, I cannot now recall the name of the record or the song that was playing that day. It talked about a garden where Jesus prayed, where He sweat blood. Then they came, took Him away and crucified Him on a cruel cross. I cried out to God. WHY?? WHY did they do that to Him??

Six months later, a man came up to my family (by then I was married, had a husband, child and a friend all living with me. We were yet again traveling on the road.). He asked us if we knew Jesus. I proudly told him yes! I know who He is. The man explained that it was not enough to know about Him but that we needed to KNOW Him. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. But that day, I gave my life to Jesus. Suddenly, I was home. What I had been searching for all my life was right there inside me now. In an instant, all of my wandering was over. The joy in my heart was so strong that I just knew I would burst. God had been faithful. He answered the question I asked six months before.

My life has taken many twists and turns since that day but the one constant has been Jesus. He has taught me many things. I have not always been faithful to Him, yet He will not let me go. Praise God for that!! There were times when the path I took was so wrong that it looked as though I would never be able to return. But you know what? Jesus brought me back to where I belonged just as soon as I ran to Him and asked. He is so very faithful. But I had to talk to Him, ask forgiveness. It's a choice. He doesn't insist, doesn't demand. He is a Gentleman and honorable.

For those of you who believe that you are a good person, think that going to church every Sunday does it because that makes you a good Christian, looking great in your new clothes, give a dollar in the plate each time it goes by you, give a few coins to the poor guy standing on the corner, and figure you are headed for heaven because everyone goes there anyway, I have news for you. If you do not have a personal walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to a devil's hell. Period! Does that sound intolerant? Yes it does. Why is that? Because God is not tolerant. Jesus says that there is one way and ONLY one way to see heaven, to be with the Father:

John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

I can hear the questions and comments now.

'But what does that mean? Can't I go to heaven? After all, I am a good Christian.'
'I do lots of things for people, try to do good deeds everyday for someone, go to church every single Sunday. In fact, I volunteer for many things at church.'
'I'm a Sunday school teacher.'
'I'm a pastor. I do sermons all the time about how you should live your life'
'I am an elder in my church. Of course, I'm going to heaven.'

Yet the Lord has something to say about all that too.

Ephesians 2:8-10, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Nothing you can do to be good will help you in any way. It is the Grace of God that is a gift to you when you accept the Lord Jesus into your heart that will qualify you for heaven. No matter what good things you do, it will not be enough. Yet Jesus is here right now waiting for you to ask Him into your heart, waiting to hear that you want forgiveness for those sins of yours that are such burdens. Go to Him! He always hears you. God does not sleep but watches over you always, waiting to hear from you.

Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Jesus is calling you right now. However, there will come a time when it will be too late. Folks have waited because they didn't want to quit having their fun. After all, Christians don't HAVE fun, right? They don't drink or enjoy themselves, do they?

"I refuse to give up my fun, drugs, sex and my drinking."

Tell me this. What happens to that person if after having said that, he drives away and gets killed in an accident today? If he did not give his heart to Jesus before he died, there is no chance of changing his mind. There is no "reincarnation" to do a better job. There is no second chance to try it again.

"But that won't happen to ME."

I am certain that is what the person said who ends up in an accident or some tragedy occurs to them. You have an opportunity to have Jesus in your heart right now. Don't wait until it is too late. Please ask Him into your heart today. You will never be the same again!

Articles you may have missed:

To Trib Or Not To Trib? That Is The Question
Points Of Light
The River

Oldies that I love:

Jerusalem: On The Edge?
Harvest Time

You are invited to my husband's latest short story called 'Joseph, The Untold Story' and something new for him, a poem called ' The Highest Gift'. Don't miss the one called 'Nightmare'.