Sinner’s Hope by Janis Zalitis

Retired draftsman in Physical Plant of UCD
December 1997


The questions were raised: How can you write? You are so ungodly. How can you tell others, God delivered you from alcoholism? You drink too much wine. I like wine with my supper and I don’t give up things I like willingly. The question of wine has been raised and I have to ask, Is God hurting the wine or is it man? Or will it really matter in the end? I believe we will know soon. I have a great desire within to be able to say, Lord I love you! I am unable. There is so much sin in my life. There was a time I had great faith. I was strong and clever. I said, “There is no God!” Then came the day I was sick, weak and so helpless. That night in a hotel room, in Veracruz Mexico, I laid on a bed and in despair gazed into the dark. Then came words, deep from within me, words that were so foreign and unlike me, “God help me!” At that moment heat started on one side of my neck and passed to the other. I realized the high fever was broken and I no longer had a swollen throat. That night forever stayed with me, but I kept it a secret until the time my wife’s aunt Julija was diagnosed with cancer. Erna, her mother and aunt were devastated, they know Julija would die. Erna just had lost her dad and uncle from cancer. Seeing their despair I had to share my secret. God does answer! God does heal! One evening God did heal Erna’s aunt from cancer. That was a beginning for all of us. With all my heart I wanted to receive everything God wanted to give me. I started to clean the house of everything that seemed offensive. One day, in the woods, I found a pamphlet. The pamphlet explained that I had to repent, ask God to forgive me and ask Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Everyone is separated from God because everyone has sinned and deserving death but because of God’s love and mercy God has sent Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, who died on the cross for every sinner. Jesus is the only one who can save, but the decision has been left up to each one of us to receive Jesus and live or forever be separated from God and on the day of judgment to be cast into the Lake of fire, a place of eternal torment, prepared for Satan and his angels. After studying the small pamphlet I asked Jesus into my heart and to be Lord of my life. In the days that followed I experienced joy I never knew existed, joy that never stops, a joy that feels as if you’re being lifted from place to place. We started to experience miracles in our lives and wanted to tell others. I happened to be working in a small office with two others. Although the space was so small a young women’s desk was moved in, from a different department. It was frustrating. Then a thought came to me, since it is so unreasonable and illogical, is she here for a reason. One day, at quitting time, we were alone, I told the young woman my story. I was convinced it was God’s hand, for all that time no one disturbed us. The next morning, at work, May Ann said, “I believe! Last night I went home and said, ‘Lord if you are, fix my leaky radiator.’ This morning the radiator does not leak.” A day or two later Mary Ann had gotten up in front of her class and witnessed about Jesus. We wanted to be with other believers. We were so excited we drove 90 miles, on a weeknight, to prayer meetings to hear about God and see God’s miracles. The evening on our way to the meeting came words over my shoulder “Slow down!” My foot came off the accelerator. I had been speeding. A patrol car pulled up and passed. One time on our way Erna said, “I don’t think I can make it.” I asked, “Maybe you will be O.K. if we get to the meeting?”

Erna had been suffering from ulcers for years. On our way back I remembered and asked, “How do you feel?” Erna had forgotten. From that night, no ulcers. The nights of the meetings we hardly slept, but never felt tired. Although Erna urged me to read the Bible I had no desire until a four week trip to Europe. I bought a large Bible and started to read, on the plane, and in four weeks as the plane landed I had read the whole Bible. I had been a heavy, problem drinker. One day a thought came to me, “Maybe I should give it up. It was as if someone was talking to me, Maybe you should not be so hasty, you really haven’t had problems lately. Hot taste after skiing feel so good. Do you really want to lose all that?” Then I thought if I ask the Lord to take the taste from me, if I don’t like it I won’t miss it. I said, “Lord take the taste of whiskey from me!” One day I remembered and realized and knew I would not like the taste of alcohol. I also realized I had not been smoking. I had smoked a pack a day. Some time later that happened again and I knew I did not like the taste. As New Year’s approached, that someone seemed to speak to me again, “You made it this far you’re not going to make it through the New Year’s party in San Francisco, you better get a bottle.” As we were driving to San Francisco it came to me again, “Well maybe you can make it but you should consider your friends and get a bottle for them, they always gave you drinks.” I thought, “If I think whiskey is not good for me do I really want to give it to my friends?” During the party I kept refusing drinks from my friends, but when someone close to us, poured a cognac and passed it to me I felt at least I had to sip it to be polite. I accepted and took a sip, I could not hold it in my mouth and spit it back in the glass. Cognac used to be my favorite drink That happened twice that evening. I used to have stress, irregular heart and high blood pressure. The doctor said he has to put me on medication. That sounded like the rest of my life on drugs, I was not ready to give in. I told the doctor about Jesus. He listened patiently and said, “I will give you two or three months.” The last thing I have turned over to Jesus is my dream cabin in Alaska, on the edge of civilization, how light it feels!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” How can a sinner like me ever have hope if I am so unworthy I cannot say, Lord I love you?

 

My trust and hope is Jesus and God’s love and mercy that one day my prayer will be answered and the Father will transform me by the Power of the Holy Spirit and I may be found pleasing in His sight.