Shawn St. Clair ~ Toronto, Ontario

shawn st. ClairA good breeze, bright sun, sandy beach, and two boys. It was our week at the cottage in Grand Bend, Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron. We had already been swimming and flying kites earlier that day. In the afternoon, my younger brother Cameron and I were playing catch with a new beach ball.

The beach seemed deserted because of the wind. Mom and Dad were up in the cottage, reading as usual. They allowed us to play outside as long as we didn’t go in the lake.

            Suddenly, the ball landed in the water. Immediately, the breeze started to blow the ball away.

I panicked. I tried to decide what to do. Run up and get Dad? The ball would be too far out by then. Watch it float away? But it was our new ball! Find a good swimmer to rescue it?

Being almost nine and having taken a few swimming lessons, I thought I was a great swimmer. Splash! It did not take long to get to where the ball was, but every time I reached to grab it my hands slipped off, pushing it farther away.

Eventually, I decided I was too tired. I turned to swim back to shore. It looked so far away -- too far away! I knew I did not have the strength to swim back. “Why did I do this?” I thought. “Why didn’t I just stay on the beach? I’m tired. I’m going to drown. I don’t want to die. I’m not ready to die. I’m going to be in hell!”

Thankfully, I did not drown -- only because God is gracious. A wave pushed the ball right beside me, and I was able to grab it. I floated by holding it under me. After resting, and thinking, I headed back to shore.

That day, I realized God was speaking to me. I decided I would get saved soon. But, like everyone who says “soon," days passed, weeks went by, another month, and soon I forgot all about it. School started, Christmas came, New Years, springtime, and I still was not saved.

That Spring, I went to a Christian Conference in Toronto on Easter weekend. Friday night I began thinking about my soul again. God had saved me from drowning almost a year before -- but my soul still was not safe from His wrath. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be saved. I thought I knew how, but I couldn’t seem to do it. Saturday was the same.

Sunday night I tried and tried. It was just as if I was out in the lake again. It was hopeless. I could not do anything to save myself. That night, the preacher said, “After all the Lord Jesus suffered from the soldiers, God put the world in darkness. During three hours, God took every sin ever committed and punished His innocent Son for each one. Then, Jesus shouted, ‘FINISHED!’ ” (John 19:31).

Right there I understood for the first time: Jesus Christ already did everything to save me. I’m saved because my Savior finished paying for all my sin! What about your sin?