Sarah Stickfort - Cedar Falls, Iowa

Sarah Stickfort“You can go outside and play,” I remember my dad saying, “but don’t go on the street.” 

I quickly scurried outside to play ball with my sister, and before I knew it, the ball had rolled out onto the street.  I knew I was taking my chances of being caught, but I went out onto the street to get the ball.  Within less than a minute, I heard my dad’s voice calling me inside… he had seen me and I was in trouble.  My parents taught me from a young age that my actions had consequences and that I had to respect authority.  They taught me that even when they were not watching, there was someone else watching that saw my every action…God. 

The fact that I knew God was watching my every action spoke loudly to me one day after lunch when I wanted a cookie for dessert.  There were only five of my favorite chocolate-mint sandwich cookies in the cookie jar, but my mom told me that I had to wait until supper for my cookie so that my two sisters, parents and I could each have a cookie.  Disappointed, the only thing I could think about that afternoon was the cookie in the cookie jar that I couldn’t have for lunch and had to wait for until supper.  So, when everyone was busy and the kitchen was quiet and lonely, I decided that I would eat my cookie now.  Even though I usually enjoyed the chocolate-mint sandwich cookies, this cookie didn’t taste that good and it gave me a guilty conscience that ruined the rest of my afternoon.  That night at supper, I was nervous about dessert time because I didn’t know if Mom would discover that I had eaten a cookie.  When she pulled out the cookie jar and saw only four cookies, she responded “That’s funny, I thought for sure there were enough cookies for all of us at lunch time.  You four go ahead and have these cookies, I don’t need one.”  Too proud to tell my parents about my theft that afternoon, I ate another tasteless cookie.  As I ate that cookie at the dinner table, I couldn’t help but think “Mom didn’t figure out that you ate the cookie this afternoon, but God did, God saw you eat the cookie.  You’re a sinner.”

Even though I had heard Bible stories countless times growing up, the evening that I was able to cover my sin from my parents and recognized that I couldn’t hide my sin from God was the first time I realized that I personally needed to be saved.  My need for salvation became a priority one evening in Gospel meeting as the preacher spoke about Hell and how sinners need to be saved in order to go to Heaven.  I leaned over to my mom and asked her what verse she was reading when she got saved and she whispered back “Isaiah 53:6.”  I turned to Isaiah 53:6 in my Bible and began to read “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way.”  “That’s me,” I thought, “I have sinned against God and am lost.”  I continued to read, “and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  As I read the last part of the verse, I realized again, “Well, that’s me too, when Jesus died, he died for my sins.”  Right there reading Isaiah 53:6 I trusted the work that was completed at Calvary for my sins and got off the road to Hell onto the road to Heaven and became a born-again Christian.  I was 7 ½ years old at the time.  Salvation is so simple. 

Salvation is so simple that often we doubt its simplicity.  I had many doubts through the years that I wasn’t saved.  These doubts lasted until I was 16 years old when I was thinking about the salvation of one of my friends who was saved through the simplicity of God’s salvation in John 3:16 which says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  As I thought about God’s gift of salvation that wonderful summer day when I was 16 years old, I rested on the fact that the work I trusted when I was 7 ½ years old was all that was needed to save my soul and I would never need anything more.  God is satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son and I am too!