By Lizzy Long | First Published: August 18, 2015
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus (SFJ), shares the Gospel message online. The story below is a testament to how SFJ connects people around the world with trained team members who can pray for them and tell them about Jesus.
“I love you.”
Those were some of the last words Ariel* received before her girlfriend committed suicide. Now she was gone, and Ariel was ripped to pieces. Why did this happen? Is this my fault?
Ariel clicked a chat button on the screen and began a conversation with a trained Search for Jesus e-counselor.
“I’ve been battling God and turning my back on Him,” Ariel said. “But I know deep down that I need Him. … I just don’t know where to begin. … I need help in understanding all of this and figuring out how to find purpose again and the truth.”
Ariel knew she had been living a sinful lifestyle and felt unworthy to even ask for forgiveness or the Lord’s help. All she wanted was to start over with Christ—turn a new page. She felt hopeless as insecurity swept over her.
“When I try to pray and speak to Him, I don’t hear Him or feel Him,” she said.
The e-counselor began to shed the light of Christ on her darkened life by explaining that everyone sins, which results in “confusion, loneliness and guilt, until we confess that sin.”
Ariel had stopped believing in God and caring about life a long time ago. She admitted that she’d tried confessing her sins, but there seemed to be a wall.
That’s when her e-counselor shared a wonderful truth that caused the wall to crumble: “When we … don’t feel close to God or we have communication issues with Him, there is a reason. It could be sin, it could be a lack of Scripture reading; the point is that it can be fixed easily.”
Ariel had never felt close to God. Although she’d once believed in His existence, she had been against Him. She had no idea what it was like to truly be a “new creation”—to have the Holy Spirit enter her heart and change her attitude to reflect her belief.
And she was angry—angry that it took a tragedy for her to pursue a right relationship with God.
She wanted peace and forgiveness, but she wondered how she could let go of her past and not let it haunt her future.
The e-counselor reminded her that God would make her strong in her faith if she chose to follow Him.
“All that is required of us is that we believe on faith that God sent Christ, and we want Him to be our Lord and Savior,” the e-counselor said, then encouraged her to pray often, look for a Bible-teaching church and read the Bible each day.
Ariel prayed to receive forgiveness from God, trusting that Christ would help her overcome her grief and any future temptations she might have.
“I know in my heart and in my spirit that as I was talking to you that God was working through my spirit,” she tearfully told the e-counselor. “For the first time I feel some sort of peace.”
*Name has been changed for privacy.