Note from Eric: This is the story that changed my life. I had always heard about Jesus, but could never quite believe in him. But one day I faced a problem I could not change no matter what. That’s when Jesus asked me, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT I AM ABLE TO DO THIS?
By Eric Elder
I met Jesus on February 9th, 1987. I had heard about Jesus all of my life, but on that day I met him. Here’s what happened:
At a church retreat, a group of us were talking about Jesus. I felt the need to be honest with the group and told them I wasn’t sure if I believed in Jesus. For 24 years I was raised in a Christian home, attended church weekly, and went to Christian conferences. But that weekend, when talking about Jesus, I had to say that I didn’t know if I really believed in Him.
I took the plunge to find out more when a man invited me to study the Bible with him and some friends. After six months of meeting with them each week, the question arose about whether or not we knew for sure we had eternal life – that when we died God would take us into heaven.
I thought about my life and answered with a hesitant, “Yes,” and added, “about 90% sure.” The man next to me then answered and said, “Yes, 100% sure.”
My immediate thought was, How arrogant! How does he know what God is going to do with him? But as we went around the circle, man after man said, “Yes, 100% sure.” “100%.” “100%,” “100%,” “100%.” Back to me: “90%.”
They said to me, “Eric, the difference between 90% and 100% will change your life.” Making a mental note of that, I went on with the study.
Six months later, we were studying the book of Romans. A phrase in Chapter 1 caught my eye. At the end of a long list of sins was a statement that “… those who do such things deserve death….”
Wow! I thought. Death? Death is a pretty strong sentence for some of those things.
I told the group, “I’m not sure how to say this, but I don’t think I’ve done that much wrong in my life. I’ve hardly done anything that I would even get put in jail for in America, let alone get the death penalty. Yet, the Bible says that everyone has done such things, and for that, they deserve death.”
A man in the group made a suggestion. “Why don’t you ask God and see what He says?”
I felt that was fair enough. But as I went to ask God, I realized this would be the hardest prayer I’d ever prayed. What if God was right and I really did deserve death?
But I wanted to know, so I said, “God, show me if I’ve done anything for which I deserve death.” Either I was right, and the Bible was wrong, or the Bible said was right and I was wrong. They couldn’t both be right.
Within two weeks, God answered my prayer.
He drew my attention to one of the sins listed in Chapter 1 of Romans. The sin was homosexuality.
Like many men who enter into homosexuality, I had felt a void in my life in my relationships with other men. I didn’t excel at the typical male activities in our small town, such as football, basketball, or wrestling. I instead liked things like music, gymnastics, and dancing, all of which were done mostly by “girls.”
So I found that most of my close relationships were with women. And like many homosexuals, the problem is not in relationships with women, but in relationships with men.
In college, I met men who cared about me and spent time with me. As we got closer as friends, our intimacy eventually turned sexual.
It made me feel good to finally be accepted by men. None of us go into sin because it’s bad. We go into it because we think it will fill a void in our lives.
But when I prayed to God to show me if there was anything I’d done wrong in my life, He pointed to this.
I was overwhelmed. All of a sudden, God opened my eyes to see it for what it was. It was a path that would lead me to destruction. A path that would lead me to death. God was right, and I was wrong.
I began to think about Adam and Eve, and the incredible way God had created men and women to be different, so that when they came together they would produce life! I thought about my homosexual encounters, and no matter how you arrange the body parts, they never produce life. In fact, it could easily lead to just the opposite.
God wanted me to have an abundant life, but I was heading down the path towards death.
I realized that I really had turned my back on God and his ways, just like everyone else. And I realized that I really might die from some of the things I had done. If so, it wasn’t because God didn’t love me, but because I would simply be reaping the consequences of what I had sown.
I felt terrible before God. I was truly sorry, but I had no way to make up for what I had done. I couldn’t take back my actions. I couldn’t undo the past.
I knew, however, that I did not want to be this way anymore. But how could I get rid of it? I had read that you were born that way. Who could change me? My parents? My friends? A counselor? I knew it wasn’t me.
Then I happened to read in my Bible about two blind men who wanted to be healed (Matthew 9:27-30).
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.
The words jumped off the page at me. I felt as if Jesus were asking me the same question. I was wanting to find someone who could change me, and Jesus was asking me, “Do you believe that I can do this?”
I thought about everything I’d ever read about Jesus, how he healed the sick, raised the dead, and walked on water. If anyone could do it, He could. In fact, I couldn’t think of anyone else who could even come close to doing it.
I raised my head to the sky, closed my eyes, and said, “Yes, Lord.”
And just like he did with the blind men, he touched me, healed me, and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you.”
That very next day I happened to be at a church where a man was talking about why Jesus came to earth. Not just to tell us to love each other, which we already knew before, but to die for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to.
If we would put our faith in him, we would escape the ultimate penalty for our sins, eternal death, and he would give us eternal life. I don’t remember ever feeling so much love as that night as I went home. I never would have thought there was a man who would love me so much that he would give his life for me.
I didn’t know what to do with the incredible love I felt. The closest thing I knew to this strong of a love was with a girl I had dated in college. I decided to call her. But as I reached for the phone, I heard the words, “Talk to Me.”
I paused, then went for the phone again. But again I heard, “Talk to Me.”
The third time I reached for the phone, I heard the words a third time. “Talk to Me.”
I left the phone and knelt on top of my bed and talked to God.
Through heavy weeping I told Him I was sorry for what I had done. I told Him I had indeed sinned and rightly deserved death; that I had followed my own way for 24 years, and now I saw where I was headed.
I told Him that I believed in Jesus, and thanked him for healing me and dying for me so I could live. I told him that I would do whatever He wanted me to do. For I finally found someone I would gladly follow anywhere. I asked him to be be my Lord.
The next day I woke up with new eyes, and a new life. It was as different as night and day. I believed every word in the Bible was true.
I eventually married that girl from college and we have six children.
God picked me up from the path of death, and put me on the path of life. God was true to his word Jesus said:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
If you’ve never put your faith in Christ, you can do it right now. He can change you, heal you, restore you, and set you free. He can give you a new life, both here on earth and in heaven with him forever.
The Bible says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Ask him to be your Lord. It will make all the difference in the world.