165 The Eternal Mark

1 Awakened from a nightmare, I struggled to fall back to sleep, haunted by my painful past: I had been arrested and tortured for my belief in God—and, greedy for life and afraid of death, I was plunged into temptation. Before Satan, I denied God, which marked me with a blemish that could never be scrubbed clean. The turmoil in my heart was worse than death. I was too ashamed to meet with God, and each day, the tears streamed down my face. I once made a solemn vow to forsake all and follow God forever, and I resolved that no matter how great the adversity, my love for God would never change. Today, my oath became a lie: I turned my back on my faith and forsook righteousness, grieving God’s heart. I had lost God’s presence, and all that remained was limitless terror and darkness.

2 In the many years of my belief in God, I never pursued the truth and never bore true testimony. I was merely satisfied with doing service for God in exchange for an end of no death during the last days. I had no reverence for God, and less still did I appreciate that life and death are governed by God. In the face of adversity, I cherished my own life, and lost my testimony when tested. To protect my own life, I turned my back on God and offended God’s disposition—a shameful transgression, an eternal brand deep within my heart. If I could turn back time, even if it cost me my life, I would not drag out such an ignoble existence; my heart aches with contrition, as if stabbed, and I long to receive God’s compassion once more.

3 The judgment of God’s words pierced the depths of my heart: I saw that my nature is one of betrayal. After failing, after falling, I was ultimately awakened, and understood that nothing is more precious than gaining the truth. I despised myself for having wasted so much of time. I could not make amends for letting God down: It was an irremovable mark, one that became a source of eternal anguish in my heart. I seek only to pursue the truth to make up for my transgression, to live out a bit of integrity and dignity, to be a true creature of God. I shall do service gladly, even if no destination awaits me; whether God wants me or not, I shall follow God my whole life, to the very end. Only God can save me.

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