Tuesday Testimonies: God is Dependable Part I
Editor’s Note: I have learned over the last year that Brian VonAchen’s answer to most questions is, “It depends.” He claims it is an engineer’s answer – not making any final claims until he knows all the facts.
So, I should not have been surprised that this was his answer when I asked him to share his testimony with me.
He asked a lot of questions, and he was still unsure if he wanted to share, but met with me anyway. We started by catching up, and then I saw something in his face change.
“Okay, I’m in a talkative mood. I’ll do it,” Brian said.
For the next hour he shared his story with me until I had to leave for another meeting. We met a few days later for another half-hour conversation to finish the story.
Brian went into such depth that I will take the next two weeks to share his story.
As I should have guessed, the first part of his story revolved around the words “It depends.”
Brian grew up going to Bethel Baptist Church every Sunday with his family. He memorized Bible verses starting at a young age in his church’s Awana club. He watched his older brother and sister, who were four and six years older than him, accept Christ as their savior and be baptized.
“I knew all the rest of my family was saved by age 10 basically, so I did feel more pressure sometimes when it came to salvation,” Brian said.
At that same age, Brian felt a similar conviction. Almost every Sunday morning, the church had an altar call, inviting people to profess their faith in Jesus in front of the church.
“There were definitely three or four times where I really felt the Lord tugging on my heart but then I would usually just reject it straight out,” Brain said.
At 10 years old, Brian was very independent and shy and had no desire to go up in front of the congregation to profess a faith he felt he did not need.
“I would usually try to ignore it and say that I was fine by myself,” Brian said. “I didn’t think it was necessary for me. I thought I’d be okay without salvation and just be okay on my own, kind of do my own thing. I was not necessarily rebellious but just kind of ignored it.”
When Brian was 11, his brother started working at Rapidan Baptist Camp. Brian went as a camper and, during his third summer, he felt a similar tug on his heart. But even after listening to messages about salvation all week and watching other campers be saved, he continued to reject the feeling.
“At the end of the week, I got in the car with my mom and literally one of the first things she asked me was did I get saved,” Brian said, “And normally your mom would be like, ‘How was the week and stuff.’ No, literally the first thing she asked me was did you get saved, almost like she knew something was off.”
Brian remembered having conversations with his sister about salvation before, but his mom had never directly asked him. He wanted to make her happy, and he wanted to find a way out of answering the pull on his heart he had been feeling for years.
“I lied. I said, ‘yes,’” Brian said.
But when he got home, he got in the shower and felt the weight of refusing to answer the altar calls for years. Because he had grown up in the church, he knew what it meant to be saved.
“So, in the shower, I got saved,” Brian said. “I trusted in the Lord and asked him to forgive me of my sins.”
For years, Brian had told God, “it depends” by not entirely turning away but also not embracing the salvation God offered him because of his shy demeanor and desire for independence.
But we can depend on God’s love.
His love is dependable wherever we encounter it. It was just as dependable at the altar calls where Brian felt the initial tug as it was in the shower where he finally put his faith in God.
Next week’s issue will continue with Brian’s story as he enters eighth grade and encounters obstacles that try to turn him away from his growing faith.
Jacqueline Hale is the Feature Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @HaleJacquelineR.