(The Norm Rasmussen Story)
What a joy it is to know beyond all shadows of a doubt that there really is a God. Not just to believe there is a God and leave it at that, but to have personally experienced His presence in my room. That was the night my doubts about God and Jesus Christ changed forever!
It is my hope that if you are somehow doubting God, my testimony will change that. After all, to believe that Jesus Christ is merely the Son of God is one thing, but to know by the Holy Spirit to the depths of your soul that Jesus Christ is also God Himself. Knowing that He is co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit – One God in three distinct persons . . . that’s when Christianity takes on a whole new meaning! Then it’s not so much what you believe that is important anymore, but WHO you are believing in that makes all the pieces of the puzzle of Christianity start coming together.
Early in my childhood, I accepted Christ as my Savior. With a child’s mentality, I’m sure I did it to hopefully make God happy with me, and so I wouldn’t go to hell. There was a lot of turbulence in my home-life through those years. Because of the turbulence, I was attracted to whatever would make me happy. Wherever alcohol was available, I sought after it. Drugs were not readily available like they are today, so drugs were not an option, thank goodness.
After high school, I enlisted in the Army. Through little choice of my own, I was “volunteered” to become a prisoner-of-war interrogator and was sent to Vietnam. In the name of “war” I tortured prisoners to get information. Before going to Vietnam, I got married. I came back from Vietnam twisted by the war: hard-hearted and a heavy drinker. My marriage began to go downhill soon thereafter.
Like many others, I began to think that an intimate relationship with another woman was what I needed. Adultery followed, and guilt ate at me constantly. To bury my guilt, I drank more alcohol.
Through all those trying years, I still wondered if there really was a God. Part of me wanted to believe there was, yet there was another part of me that had difficulty believing unless I could “prove” there was a God. Little did I realize how strong the sin of pride was that had been operating in my life.
I was quick to find fault in Christians and organized religion as well; not aware of the devil’s influence over my thinking. After all, if there is no God, how can there be a devil or Satan? Fortunately though, there were people God used along life’s way to influence me positively about God. An older sister was one of those people. Flora and her husband had become ‘born again’, and their excitement about their relationship with Jesus Christ captured my attention.
My youngest brother, Dale, the black sheep of the family as far as I was concerned, also had a powerful born again experience. And it was seeing the incredible change in his life for the better that began to make me take a more serious look at my comprehension of Christianity. When I would talk with Dale, all he would tell me was to forget about my hang-ups about Christianity and organized religion, and just fall in love with Jesus Christ. He said the rest of it would all fall into place in due time. But I didn’t know who Jesus Christ was, or should I say, IS. That’s because I refused to believe what the Bible says about Him is true. I believed the lie that the Bible cannot be trusted. If the devil can convince you of that you’ll never come to know truly who Jesus Christ really is.
Alcoholism continued to take its ugly toll, as well as the other affects of sin in my life. At mid-life, I was told unexpectedly by a nurse that I was a walking time bomb, ready to explode. My heart was ready to quit any minute due to extreme high blood pressure. I was sleeping very little, smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day, and drinking close to three-quarters of a fifth of hard liquor a day, not to mention various amounts of beer and wine.
When I was told that I had to quit smoking and drinking or else suffer a heart attack, part of me didn’t care if I died. In a cowardly sort of way, it was a way out of my pain and misery with life. After all, it would be death through “natural causes.” Who would ever know the real reason?
Yet another part of me wanted what my sister and my younger brother had found, which was a peace with whom they believed to be the Creator of the universe; no substitutes. They weren’t propagating a religion, a denomination, or a teacher. What they were propagating was a relationship with the triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and I liked the exciting fruits, or results you might say, that they were getting.
So at age 35, I was a wreck. I was facing death, and I wasn’t convinced in my heart that I would go to heaven (if there were such a place). My marriage had fallen apart; my life was in a shamble. I had two precious children and an emotionally strained wife who had neither a suitable father nor husband.
Despair descended upon me, and fear of dying began to plague my thoughts. My despair eventually turned to desperation. Everything culminated on a Friday night. I went to bed early that evening, and started crying out to Jesus Christ. . .if there was a Jesus Christ who could hear me, or wanted to hear me. “Let me know you are real! I do want to serve the real God, but I’ve got to know you are real! I’ve got to know that what the Bible says about you is true! I’ve got to know if you really care for me!” I cried and agonized to God until the wee hours of dawn, but all I heard was silence. “God. . .do you even hear me?” More silence. I finally gave up. What a fool I had been to cry out like this all night long. Thinking that maybe – just maybe – God would have compassion on me and somehow reveal His reality to me in a way that I wasn’t so doubtful and confused.
It was just starting to break day and then it happened! The bedroom instantly became about 30% brighter. I looked for a light to be on but none was! I thought maybe the sun was now up and I had fallen asleep and had wakened hours later, but the clock said differently. No – I wasn’t imagining it nor was I dreaming it. The light was real! It was of equal intensity throughout the room. An invisible presence was in my room. The reason I know so was because an indescribable love was so strong in that room that it seemed there was not enough room to contain it all! I felt like I was being shoved back by a big hand into my bed, the love was so strong. And I knew – don’t ask me how I knew – I just knew that I knew that it was the Spirit of Jesus Christ in my room!
At that moment He spoke very powerfully to me. Not audibly, I don’t think, but powerfully to my inner being. The intensity of it was so strong though that it might just have well of been audible. He told me what I had to do to make my relationship work with Him. Then instantly all the anguish and pain and misery and confusion and doubt of a lifetime was sucked out of me. And all that was left was peace. Sweet beautiful peace . . . and knowing that God is real.
Then the room instantly was darkened again as before. And the presence of Christ was now gone. The whole thing didn’t take more than a few brief moments to happen, but happen it did! I was now a believer! Moments later, I pulled the covers off from me, sat on the side of the bed, and made a solemn vow to God. I said, “Thank you, Lord, for revealing yourself to me in a way that I can believe in you. I know I don’t deserve what has just happened here, and I promise to serve you the rest of my life.”
I’ve done my best to keep that promise, even though I’ve made many mistakes since then. Yet I serve a forgiving and patient God. I hope you choose to serve Him as well. Thank you for taking the time to read my brief story. I wish there were room to share all that God has done since that time. There are pages more!
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6). It took the Holy Spirit about a year later to break through my thick skull to reveal to me who Jesus Christ really is. Once you know, then you understand why a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is everything. How can that be? Because the One who died for your sins nearly 2,000 years ago — He wasn’t just a mere man — He was all of God in human form. And He died especially for YOU. In fact, if you were the only sinner on planet earth, He still would have died just for you! Why? Because His love is that unfathomable — that great!
If you do not have peace, and the assurance of where you will go after you die (heaven or hell), I want to encourage you to invite Jesus Christ into your life….because He is the supreme PEACE GIVER. (John 14:27)
If your life has little meaning and purpose, and you are searching for a reason to keep on living, I can’t encourage you enough to ask Jesus Christ to become the Lord and Savior of your life. He created you for an eternal, useful purpose, and until you know WHAT that purpose IS, nothing will fill the longing in your heart….like He has filled that longing in my heart with meaning and purpose.
Jesus said: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
My former life was lived to find a little happiness, to keep on going. My new life is lived to be pleasing to my Lord. Not because I have to, but because it is an opportunity and a privilege. In my former life, I don’t remember of one prayer ever being answered. In my new born-again life (John 3:3), I’ve experienced so many answered prayers that it is abnormal to not have them answered. (John 15:7-8)
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) In my old life, before I was born-again, I would have said in regards to this scripture, “So – big deal.” AFTER I became born-again and grew in some understanding of the Holy Scriptures and how I’m to relate with God, I NOW say, “Biggest deal in all of creation and eternity!”
Dear Reader: You can hear about all the glorious things God has done in my life and in the lives of others, but that won’t bring you joy. You’ve got to experience God’s joy for your life personally and that will only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Once you accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior by asking Him into your heart and life, you will be as excited as I am to point OTHERS to Him as well.
He’s knocking on the door of your heart, dear one. He won’t break the door down – He is a gentleman. You have to invite Him in. (Revelation 3:20)
Thank you and God bless you for taking the time to read my brief story. I’m so thankful God has given me one to tell. Had God not intervened that fateful Friday night….I’m sure I would be in hell right now. Jesus Christ wants no one to go to hell. Anyone who will mean business with Him can have the assurance that eternal joy in heaven can be his or her everlasting destiny upon death in this life. (John 17:1-26)
(People interested in hearing other PRECIOUS TESTIMONIES such as the one you’ve just read may do so by watching PRECIOUS TESTIMONIES on local Cable TV Public Access channels in Western Michigan and other stations around the country. A TV Viewing Schedule can be seen on this web page under the Index section.)
NOTE FROM EDITOR: If you are questioning in your heart what this Christian life is all about and would like toknow more about being reconciled to God, please click here to learn how you can do that. Thank you and God bless you!