When I was a child, my family attended a small church in our neighborhood. Our pastor was a serious person. To my childish mind, it seemed that he was always angry, and I also pictured God as an angry person. We learned that God was a Father; He had a family. Even though I thought He was a little scary, somehow I wanted to be part of His family. The photographs on our church bulletins were captivating: forests, mountains, majestic waterfalls. This must be what Heaven looked like. We sang "Beautiful Savior", about Jesus being more lovely than meadows of spring flowers, and I associated Jesus with the pictures on the bulletins. But still I was reluctant to get close to this mysterious Person. 

The prevailing idea of the time was that everyone was either a good person or a bad person, and if your behavior was pretty good, then you would go to Heaven when you died. I usually tried to stay out of trouble because life was easier that way. I was timid, and was sometimes "picked on" by other kids and some teachers. I started to have a problem with depression. This became worse when I was a teenager, and I also began to have a very frightening, recurring dream. 

In the dream, it was nighttime. But there was no moonlight or starlight, no trees rustling in the breeze or noisy bugs. In this dream, there was no life, no sound, and only enough light to show a long straight highway that went on forever. It was total desolation and loneliness. I was traveling as a captive down this amazingly sad highway, and there was nothing I could do about it. When I woke from the dream, I sought the company of anyone who would spend time with me, because I was afraid of being alone. I would party with my friends at night, but in the morning, fear and loneliness would take hold again. 

My behavior became self-destructive. Thoughts of suicide started coming into my mind. One morning, alone in the house, I sat on the bed with a handful of pill bottles. If I took the pills, it would be a way to get even with everyone who had treated me unfairly. But then I thought of the pain that my family would feel, and I wondered if I would go to Hell. All of a sudden, I was filled with a great sadness and I said to God, "If You exist, I need Your help." At that point, I started to believe that He could care about me. It seemed as if I reached my hand up to Him, and a nail-scarred hand reached down to me. 

I had thought that I was a "good person", but God helped me to see my need to accept Jesus as my Savior. Many of my sins have been sins of omission, where I was cold and thoughtless of the needs of other people. As God has given me a good look at myself, it's been a painful but necessary process. He is the Great Physician! 

As for the idea of God being angry, I believe that He gets angry because He hates sin, and He hates sin because it destroys people. His anger regarding sin is because of His love for us. 

My life now isn't perfect (and I'm not perfect), and sometimes I still get depressed. But I no longer dream about the desolate highway, and I'm not afraid of being alone, because Jesus has promised to all who trust in Him, that He will never leave us or forsake us. (See Hebrews 13:5.) 

Psalm 86:5-7 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me.

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