I received the following in a message on Facebook from Peter’s Mom:
Today I’d like to share with you the blessed hope we have at this difficult time. The Helms family stands united in declaring to you that we have no strength or merit of our own to meet life’s demands or sorrows. Our hope is in the Lord, who gave Himself for us.
Peter would tell you freely, if he could right now, that he falls short of any goodness of his own, and as his mom I would add that he has his various assortment of teenage hangups, several that we have been challenging him on before he heads off to college.
Prior to encounters with Christ, we believe that, as sinners, we were in the act of running away from God, and as His enemies, unable to see beyond our own shallow desires and selfishness. When we wanted something so bad that we were willing to sin to get it, we revealed idols in our own hearts that we worshiped more than the Lord. Thankfully, the Lord opened Peter’s eyes several years ago to see the beauty of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial love for us. What an amazing thing that, “For our sake he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”! (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus bore God’s anger for the very sins we committed in chasing after other things more than Him.
When Peter was a child, there was a time when we were memorizing 1 John 2:15, 16: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. . . .” Peter came to me later, troubled, and confessed, “Mom, I don’t think I’m a Christian because there are things in the world that I love more than God.” Peter’s Dad and I discussed this with him over the course of several months. We took him to Matthew 22:37– “You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind.” He began asking God to change his heart to give him a love for the Lord and to save him from his sins.
At one point, he told us that he was sure he loved his parents more than God. I reminded him of Christmas and asked him, “Peter, when you receive a gift from Mom and Dad at Christmas, do you like the gift more or Mom and Dad more?”
He answered, “That’s easy. I love you and Dad more; why would I love the gift more?”
“Son,” I said, “Look at it this way. The Lord is the Giver of these things you love. Mom and Dad and these other things are only the gift. The Giver of the gift shows the love – it’s not the gift itself that shows it. God is the One you should love, because He is the One who is being kind to you.”
Eventually the Lord opened his eyes and brought him to the point of surrender. “Mom,” he told me one night in earnest, childlike sobriety, “I am ready to give all I have to Jesus and even to give my life for Him.”
For our Lord Jesus is the pearl of great price, who is precious enough for us to yield all we are and have. With his parents, Peter has acutely realized the daily need to embrace a life of continual repentance from selfish desires, and, by grace, to treasure the Lord more and more.
“My hope is in the Lord who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price for all my sins on Calvary .
“No merit of my own His anger to suppress,
My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.
“For me, He died; for me He lives,
and everlasting light and life He freely gives.”