You Won’t be Left Behind–Unless You Choose to Be

If I could go back in time, I’d go back forty years and give my thirteen year old self some advice: You won’t be left behind–unless you want to be.

It was popular to wear red, white and blue in 1976 because it was the bicentennial year and everyone was celebrating the fact that the United States had survived two-hundred years, but some had doubts it would last another ten.

I’m not sure if there is a plague more hostile to a civil land than conspiracy theories, but in 1976 conspiracy theories abounded. The kids at school the year before had been consumed with rumors about Big Foot and UFOs, but now that we had a born again Christian headed for the White House, the ultimate bogey man—the “mark of the beast” threatened life as we knew it. My parents didn’t send me to school that year because they figured it was the end of the world and Jesus would come before I grew up.

Jimmy Carter was running for president and nearly everyone I knew was against him. He was despised for being a Baptist and laughed at for being a peanut farmer. People hated that his sister was a woman preacher and his brother was a drunk. The people at church said Carter would destroy the separation between church and state and bring on a national Sunday law to force all of us to worship just like him.* They even said it was the beginning of the time of trouble.

There were other signs of the end around us, we had just gone through a terrible energy crisis and what could signal the end of the world more than running out of fuel? Another natural alarming sign was the fact that Mount Baker had started letting off steam the year before and everyone was wondering when it would blow. It was particularly scary because I lived on an island in the shadow of Mount Baker and the thought of being stranded on an island in the middle of a pyroclastic flow brought on nightmares of the apocalypse.

But nothing was as scary as a man who came to church in a trench coat who said he’d worked at the pentagon and stood around telling us conspiracy tales in a suspenseful voice akin to M. Knight Shyamalan. He spoke for hours in an excited voice, but every once in a while he lowered it to a whisper to say he had top secret information, but he couldn’t spill the beans on it. However there were a couple things he could tell us. Because of his high clearance at the Pentagon, he had access to files that proved we were about to have a nuclear war and it was time for us all to move to the country and grow a garden and prepare for the time of trouble.

He also told a story about an unknown man who picked up a couple of hitchhikers who turned out to be angels. The angels only rode a little way before asking to get out at the next exit because they were on business for the Lord. As they got out of the car, just before they dissolved into the Bellingham fog, they whispered to the driver, “Jesus is coming very soon.”

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My dad reminded us that it was time to put our lives in order and give up all sinning, “so we can be perfect before Jesus comes.” He had me memorize the writings of a church founder that said “Jesus would not come until his character was perfectly reproduced in his people.” I really felt the pressure, not only did I wonder how I was going to eat dandelion greens and ferns and hide in the rocks of the mountains, but I was mostly afraid of Jesus.

I’d been baptized the year before and I thought I loved Jesus at the time, but since then, I’d sinned by listening to John Denver. People at church said syncopation was the seat of satanic power. Even though I had paid for it by having a belting, I still liked the devil music and I knew in my heart I wouldn’t stop listening to such music forever.

I had also been told I needed to be right with God because I would have to stand before God without an intercessor. At night, I lay wide awake in fear trying to remember if I had an un-confessed sin. I’d heard Jesus was the intercessor so it seemed terrifying to imagine he’d abandon me during the scariest moment of my life.

In my panic, I gave up sugar, chewing my fingernails, reading comics and thinking about cute boys because those were my most obvious sins at the time. Fear and abstinence of all my vices pretty much stole all the joy out of life.

So if I could go back in time and talk to my thirteen year old self this is what I would tell her:

  1. Mount Baker is not the mountain to fear—at least not for another forty years. So you have some breathing space on that one.
  2. Nuclear war might be a possibility, but it’s not the only thing to fear. People can and will survive nuclear disasters, but love will never survive pride and hate. Pick your battles.
  3. God (this includes the Father, Son and Spirit) has said he will never leave you or forsake you (Isaiah 41:10-13). If any religious teaching says he will abandon you, this is a false belief based on a misunderstood teaching. When the Bible says “He that is righteous still, let him be righteous still, and he that is filthy let him be filthy still,” this is not an arbitrary command of God but actually a diagnosis of our human conditions. It is the revealing of what we have chosen. God gives you freedom of choice and you get to choose if you want to be saved or not. It’s always up to you. God will not force you to be saved or lost against your will.
  4. What about that word perfect? Well in the original language it means mature or complete. Jesus wants us to grow up in Him and act mature in love toward other people like our Father in heaven and he gave a list of what that actually looks like (Matthew 5). So it has nothing to do with chewing gum or even noticing a cute boy.
  5. There might come a time of trouble, but with inferred and other modern diagnostic tools, it will be pretty hard to hide in the mountains unless God performs a miracle. But the good news is God watches over his people (Psalm 91:4).
  6. Ignore that scary story because those hitchhiker angels are false angels. Jesus said only the Father knows the hour–not even the angels in heaven (Matthew 24:36).
  7. Big Foot and UFOs will pose a very small threat to your life—so will listening to John Denver. Syncopation is NOT the seat of satanic power—pride and selfishness are. As you get older, you will discover that pride and selfishness destroy love but God’s love and mercy are greater than your sins (1 John 3:20).
  8. Jesus isn’t going to come before you grow up, so ask him to help you plan your life.
  9. Oh, and President Jimmy Carter? He might be one of the best men ever to take the job because he was all for separation of church and state after all. Don’t let faithless conspiracy theorists manipulate your life. No matter how dark it is outside, no matter how dark your soul, God can always see in the dark and he will bring his light into the darkness all you have to do is ask him.

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
To be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!

Then I said to myself,
“Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light,
they’re all the same to you.
-Psalm 139:-12

10. History will eventually repeat itself. We are in another election year full of conspiracy theories and fear messages, people keep writing to tell me they are so worried they can barely sleep. My advice is do yourself a favor and tune out all the fear messages and spend some time with Jesus.

When people start to tell me conspiracy theories or even plausible stories that breed fear, I walk away or take them off my news feed, because God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear.

If you are afraid of being left behind, read the gospels, learn to know what Jesus is really like. Don’t take someone else’s word for it. When you know Jesus, your fear will be gone because it’s his perfect love that takes away our fear. (1 John 4:17)

*PS Jimmy Carter said in an interview in 2012 he has always supported separation between church and state and even stopped having worship at the White House for this very reason.

10 Replies to “You Won’t be Left Behind–Unless You Choose to Be”

  1. amazing…I am picking up some familiar mindsets and false teachings that have been coming back to me lately and haunting me..the perfect character, the teaching that we each stand in front of the Father without an intercessor…yep…I was taught that…I left that denomination a few years ago and find those very teachings coming to roost again…fear is overwhelming…I heard a teaching today from a messianic believer that spoke of the hebrew rendering of the words perfect…he says the same thing you are saying about being complete and mature…guess He is setting me straight..thanks for your writings, I really enjoy your voice in the wilderness….keep up the good work sister…M.D.S.W.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Modern Day Samaritan Woman,

    Yes, I think it is much more important that we recognize the character of Jesus or otherwise we will be afraid of him and not understand who we are because we were created in his image.

    We will never stand without Jesus, Sadly many Christians will miss this truth about God and focus on scaring others and themselves because they can’t give up being a right talker. 😦

    Peace and freedom to you!



  3. yes, I was raised as an Adventist…Ellen G. White was revered, many times above scriptures…she had a lot of great wisdom and insight…my brother will never step foot inside a church due to many of the teachings from that denomination. My mother is still and Adventist. I take her to a little Adventist church in Frostproof Florida.Its a really nice country church that is running a recovery program. I am grateful that they are addressing addictions and abuses on some level. When I came out with my book and was speaking out about addictions and abuse, people did not like to hear what I was saying. It is not just that denomination, it is the body at large that is coddling abusers and re-victimizing women. Twisting scripture is a form of spiritual abuse. I guess when I am feeling fearful in an unhealthy paranoid way I can be sure that it is not from my Father wanting to help me to see Him more clearly…thanks again for being real in an unreal world!!!


  4. Dear Modern Samaritan Woman,

    Thank you again for sharing. I am quite sure Jesus is more concerned with our hearts than which denomination we are a part of.

    And I second your comment that so many churches twist scripture and don’t acknowledge or help those who are abused on their watch.

    We have great comfort and hope in Jesus who always stood with the marginalized.

    Much love to you!



  5. Man, Cherilyn, congratulations on emerging sane from such an insane environment… you had to crawl through so much BS… and unfortunately there is so much of that around, it’s not just small minority, the insanity seems to be mainstream…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks Andrea,
    Some days we all wonder if we are sane. I think writing down the stories that formed my life at one time has been healing.

    Here in the states we have all brands of crazy with our current election. It’s nice to know there are still a few sane people in the world. 🙂

    Peace and freedom to you!



  7. So I’m trying to live the way God wants me to and I’m trying to change but is it bad that I’m scared to read the apocalypse And that I’ll get left behind?


  8. Hi Bryanna,

    It’s only bad that you don’t realize you are safe with Jesus and he is not planning to leave anyone behind who truly loves him and wants to follow him.

    God is not arbitrary. He isn’t like some wicked human king who just does whatever he feels like, God is love and all good things and all love originated with him. Anything good on this earth came from God and God is the giver of only good gifts. He is not the creator of sickness and death and fear. All of these are the result of separation from God.

    If you feel scared about the apocalypse or time of trouble, take some time every day to read from the gospels and get to know Jesus as a person and friend. This same Jesus who can stop the wind and the waves and heal people is still available to help you during any time of trouble. He doesn’t do miracles for entertainment and for those who just want a miracle, but he comes through when we are really needing him.

    Here is another blog I wrote about how God is our shelter in dark times.

    Peace and freedom to you!



  9. Hey, I’m 18 and I recently well trying to get to know Jesus once again. I have had many doubts about Jesus all my life mostly because of all my life struggles I want to know him so so badly but I fear the ends times because I have this idea that jesus and god are just some scary person in the sky ready to throw his hand on anything we do wrong but this little article helped me a lot gave me some what relief

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Tatyana,

    I’m glad it was helpful. The best way to not be afraid, is to read the gospels for yourself because that will help you know that you can trust God. Remember Jesus says He and the Father are one–this means if Jesus is nice to someone, then the Father loves them too.

    Peace and freedom to you!



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