When my dad and my childhood pastor talked about my salvation, I didn’t want to disappoint, so I told them I had asked Jesus into my heart in my bedroom. I was baptized in Mount Olive Baptist Church in Girard, Kansas. My baptism, however, was a farce. The only thing I had accomplished was to “turn over a new leaf”. More or less in those words. I didn’t want to beat my brother up anymore so I prayed one night to literally turn over a new leaf and start being nicer to him. The night my dad asked me about salvation, I counted this as the shining moment. I was baptized soon after, and that’s about the time the nightmares started.
I don’t remember how many of them I had, but I remember many nights when I would wake up after a bad dream. I remember one in particular. I was in my bedroom on the 2nd floor of our house looking out the window and down below, I saw a giant spider. The spider was Christ. How I knew that in the dream, I don’t know, but somehow I just knew that the spider was Christ coming back. But I also knew that I hadn’t disappeared like everyone else. I got down on my knees and prayed for God to take me, but when I opened my eyes, the spider was still there, and so was I. The point of that dream, which was clear as day to me, was that Christ had come, and I was still there, in my bedroom, where I had claimed to have accepted Christ.
After that, I lived a life of fear. I feared coming home and my mom not being there. One day I got off the bus alone and no one was at the house. I screamed for my mom, thinking that she had been taken to heaven and my brothers with her. I was so scared. She came home a few minutes later, having not heard my screaming because of the wind. She and my younger siblings had taken our dogs for a walk.
Then there was the inevitable hand-raising at church. The pastor would ask if anyone had not accepted Christ as their savior, and I would start debating in my mind. I would replay the message over and over in my head. Did I hear him right? Did he ask for people who were saved to raise their hands? Should I raise mine? What if he said that he wanted those who hadn’t been saved to raise their hands? I didn’t know what to do as a boy.
I was also scared to be farming with my dad. I knew the verses in Matthew about two being in the field, one taken, and the other left behind. If my dad’s tractor would go over a hill and disappear from sight, my heart rate would pick up substantially until he came back into sight.
Why…why did I live a life of such fear? Why did I put myself through that? Why did it take me until high school to truly accept Christ? The fact is that I was scared. Sometimes I was scared of disappointing my family, or others, if they learned that I had lied. I was scared that God might not love me if I admitted that I had lied to Him. I was scared that it just wouldn’t work out. And unfortunately, I wasn’t sure just who God was. I suffered a lot of pain and fear needlessly because I didn’t want to disappoint people as a little boy.
A fairly competent writer whose name I forget now wrote that these fears are a sound reason for ditching the theology of the rapture. I think that's hogwash. Just because my childhood pastor didn't really follow up with me too well doesn't mean the rapture isn't going to happen. If you struggle with fear, and believe in the rapture, just understand that once you know your salvation is secure there is nothing to be afraid of.