Don Sears: The Angry Agnostic Who Met God
Like most Northwesterners, Don Sears was not an atheist. He thought there might be a God somewhere, but didn’t think there was anything we could know about Him for sure. He resented Christians who talked about Jesus Christ, and told them there was no difference between Bible stories and comic books. Don, however has a serious problem with rage and violence. As a young man growing up in Alaska, his idea of a good time was going to the Indian part of town, finding a big Indian, and provoking him to a fight. He was possessed by a fury that would flash at little or no provocation. It would erupt in him like a volcano, and would not be satisfied until he or his opponent lay bleeding and broken on the floor. His rages were so intense that sometimes he could not remember what had happened after he blew up. He was this way for over thirty years, and said it got to the point that he liked the feeling of bones breaking under his fists. He became involved with a business, and began studying their manuals on salesmanship. To his surprise he discovered that they used principles out of the Bible, and he began to wonder about the Bible. One Sunday he went to what he thought was a business meeting in Portland, Oregon, and was surprised to discover that it was actually a church service. He was even more surprised that he didn’t walk out in disgust, but listened to the message. At the end of the service during the altar call Don felt an undeniable urge to go to the front and accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. Don, the angry agnostic walked down the aisle and genuinely gave his heart to Jesus Christ.
Years later I asked Don what it was that convinced him that this was real, and not just some emotional experience. He told me that the following week he was provoked by someone in a manner that had always caused him to erupt in a fury. This time, strangely, he did not get mad. He said he was surprised as he walked away, that he hadn’t beaten the daylights out of the fellow, but he just didn’t get mad. In fact, he told me, as time went on he discovered that he couldn’t get mad at people anymore. It was like someone had turned off a switch in his heart. He could still get mad at his car when it wouldn’t start, but not at people. Also, for all his life he had wanted nothing to do with Jesus Christ, Christians, church, the Bible, prayer, or anything “religious.” Now he discovered that his core likes and dislikes had been reversed, seemingly overnight. He wanted to know Jesus, pray to him, read the Bible, and amazingly he found he now loved being around Christians who genuinely loved the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been over twenty-five years ago, the rage has never returned, and his love for Jesus has never left him.
Obviously, for Don Sear’s life to be so thoroughly and permanently transformed, something powerful must have happened to it, but what was it? What was it actually that produced such a dramatic change? To born again Christians, Don’s transformation, while amazing, is not unusual. There are literally millions around the world who have experienced the same thing. Our churches are filled with similar stories going back all the way to the time of Christ. But to really understand what happened to Don Sears we need to back much further than that. We need to go back to the prophets who promised that one day the Savior of mankind would be born. Moses promised that the Savior would be a prophet like himself Who would come with God’s message to man. (Deuteronomy 18:19) Isaiah said He would be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) Micah told us that He would be born in the town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) Isaiah said that although He would be born a man, He would be the mighty God. (Isaiah 9:6) Isaiah said also, that the times of this Savior would be marked by miraculous healing. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart (deer) and the tongue of the dumb sing. (Isaiah 35:5-6) Isaiah promised that in spite of these miracles He would be rejected by His people, and killed, but it would be in his death He would accomplish His mission to man. He being innocent, would die in the place of all sinners. He would literally bear our punishment in our place, so we could be forgiven and allowed into Heaven freely. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: . . . Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace (with God) was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own wa; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53) David said He would not stay dead, but would rise again. (Psalm 16:8-10) Isaiah told us that the news of this Savior would spread around the world with many finding forgiveness and salvation through Him. All these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
There is another set of promises though that talked about the nature of the salvation this Savior was to offer to all mankind, and they describe exactly what happened to Don Sears. I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them an heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. (Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 11:19-21) God promised that in the times of this Savior He would begin to do a new thing. His salvation would be complete, He would not only forgive completely the sins of those who put their trust in the Savior, but He would also take out their hard, cold hearts that hated Him, or were disinterested in Him, and replace them with hearts that loved Him and followed Him. God promised that He would put a new Spirit in those who trusted in this Savior. It is a point of fact that this describes exactly what has happened to millions of people for two thousand years who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The fact that this new birth is real is only half of the story. Jesus said it was necessary. The wind bloweth where it listeth (wants to) and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and wither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8) Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) Have you been born again? Have you experienced the forgiveness of sins Don Sears and millions of others have? Have you experienced the salvation from sin God offers freely to all? Do what Don Sears did. Trust completely in Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible promises: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9) Jesus Christ promised: All that the Father give me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)
Think about it. Would God have gone to the trouble of providing a very real salvation from sin, if sin did not matter to Him. It does matter to Him very much. He warns: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Pray a prayer from your heart like this: Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I believe that you paid for them in full when you bled and died on the cross. I believe you rose from the dead, and are offering me forgiveness and salvation from sin. Please forgive my sins and save me. Just like I trust a chair to hold me up, I now place my trust in you for salvation from sin and hell. Thank you for your promise. Thank you for saving me. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, would you let us know so we can pray for you and help you get started in your spiritual growth? It only takes a moment to be saved, but growing as a Christian takes a lifetime.