Here is a powerful testimony from my friend, Dale Schneeberger, of how God worked a personal revival in his own life through a dream and his subsequent immersion in the Word of God. I’m confident that you will find Dale’s testimony inspiring, soul-searching, and, perhaps for some of you, life-changing. I print it here with his permission.
A Testimony of How I Came to Truly Know God’s Grace and the Power of the Word of God to Transform
by Dale Schneeberger
What follows is a narrative of how God worked a deep transformation in my life in September of 2016. The events of that month forever changed my life and drew me closer to God. Central to the story is my best recollection of a dream I had during that period. After sharing the dream with several spiritually mature and godly men at my church whom I respect and have known for years, I have come to believe that my dream was from God, given to me for the purpose of refocusing and redirecting my life.
It all began on Thursday evening, September 29, 2016 at Biola University in La Mirada, California. As has been the norm for the past 15 years, I was scheduled to teach a general education geology lecture from 6:30-9:30 p.m. However, that particular night, a world-leading chemist named Dr. James Tour was scheduled to lecture on the topic, “Does Science Make Faith Obsolete?” Dr. Tour is currently engaged in research that involves many areas of molecular chemical engineering. Dr. John Bloom, the department chair of the Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering Department at Biola requested that all those teaching in the physical sciences might consider bringing their students to the lecture that evening. My guess is that he wanted to ensure a full house for the lecture, but he also may have known the impact someone like Dr. Tour might have on our students. Normally, I would not have cancelled class for a lecture; there is, after all, a limited amount of time to cover the required subject matter during a college semester. However, for some reason I felt an urging that night to go—and to take my whole class with me. This decision would turn out to be life-changing for me.
Dr. Tour began his lecture by summarizing the various cutting-edge technologies that he and his research team were currently working on in the realm of molecular chemistry. My internal response—in one word—was “Wow!” Dr. Tour then shared his spiritual testimony of how he became a follower of Jesus Christ. His journey toward Jesus was not on an easy path. He grew up in a secular Jewish home that gave little credence to the Jewish faith—let alone to Christianity. Despite his early skepticism, he explained to us how a Christian friend in college kept sharing Christ with him, ultimately leading him to cry out to Jesus one night in his dorm room. As he prayed, he felt the presence of someone in his room. When he turned to see who was there, the room was empty. He then realized that the presence he felt must be the Holy Spirit, and he was forever changed by his encounter with the living God.
Dr. Tour then shared something I wasn’t expecting. He told us that from that moment forward, he started (and kept on) reading his Bible every morning and evening, every day of every week. His pattern, he explained, is to start at Genesis 1 and continue reading until he completes the book of Revelation. When he finishes, he starts all over again without missing a beat. He shared that night that he has been reading the Bible in this way for many decades. One other thing he shared that connected with me was that in his encounter with God, he became overwhelmed with God’s forgiveness of sin; he came to know that his sin was not only forgiven, but forgotten.
After listening to Dr. Tour’s testimony, I felt both convicted and shamed. Although I have read the Bible completely during the many decades since rededicating my life to Christ at the age of 33 (now 30 years ago), my Bible reading had only occurred in the context of various thematic or focused Bible studies such as Bible Study Fellowship and the like. I had never simply read through the Bible, starting at Genesis and continuing until I completed Revelation. Moreover, Dr. Tour’s comments about forgiveness of sin deeply impacted me. After arriving home that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much joy he communicated that his sins had been forgiven. I had to admit that God’s forgiveness was something I had acknowledged intellectually, but, honestly, had not fully appropriated in my heart. So before going to bed, I opened my Bible, and instead of reading in the book of Kings, where I had been reading, started reading at Genesis 1. Because it was so late, I went to bed after reading only a few chapters. I prayed just before drifting off to sleep, asking God to help me fully know and accept his forgiveness and grace.
The next thing I remember was standing outside somewhere in the country, though I had absolutely no idea where I was. Next to me was standing a man whose face I did not (actually, could not) look upon, but whom I knew must be Jesus.
In front of us on the ground was an old steamer trunk with its lid closed. The man looked toward the box and said to me, “Behold your sin. It is forgiven.” Immediately, the trunk opened up, and the inside was as white as pure snow! I had expected to see nothing but filth!
I responded to the man beside me, “But my sin is much greater than this!”
He then said, “Behold your sin.” I looked up and saw a large semi-tractor trailer. When the trailer door was opened, I discovered that its insides also were as white as pure snow! He repeated what he had said before, “Your sin is forgiven.”
Again I said, “But, Lord, my sin is much greater than this!”
In the blink of an eye, we were standing next to a train of box cars rolling slowly past, all their doors open.
As each boxcar passed by my view I could see that the inside of every one of them was as white as pure snow. I said to the man, “But my sin is just too great!”
He replied, “I have paid the penalty for ALL your sins: past, present, and future. Not only are they forgiven; they are forgotten! My grace is sufficient!”
At this point I began to sob uncontrollably at the immensity of what Jesus had done on the cross. I felt a sense of great sadness for not having previously known the extent of his grace in my life. Not only were my sins forgiven, but no guilt remained! For the first time in my life I felt the uninhibited joy of forgiveness; I experienced the amazing grace of Jesus Christ! Amen.
At that point I woke up with my heart pounding in my chest! I was in a cold sweat. I kept thinking, “What just happened?” My wife, Sandy, woke up and asked if I was OK. I told her I was fine, and then tried to go back to sleep. After an hour of tossing and turning, I got up, went into the living room, opened my Bible, and started to read. It was around 4:00 a.m. I read until about 6:30 a.m., at which time Sandy came out and asked me again if I was OK. I told her all about the lecture and the dream. She was astounded.
I felt so much joy that morning that I could scarcely contain it. I was overwhelmed with happiness. For the first time in my life, I truly felt the joy of the forgiveness of sin. No more guilt. No more condemnation.
I also felt “compelled” to read the Bible, from beginning to end. I simply had to do it. It wasn’t some conscious decision I made. Rather, it felt like something outside of myself was constraining me to do it. And even though for many years I had “head knowledge” about forgiveness of sin, I had not completely accepted it in my heart. I had grown up in a home full of judgment, condemnation, and guilt; as a result, I had never fully accepted God’s grace—his complete forgiveness of sin in my life. Until this moment, I always had the feeling that I wasn’t somehow good enough. Now, I truly knew, deep in my heart, how much he had forgiven me, and it brought incredible joy!
I could barely contain my newfound joy. I continued reading the Bible every morning and evening, just as Dr. Tour said he had done ever since his encounter with God in his dorm room. I have kept doing so since my own encounter with God that night. With great enthusiasm and a sense of urgency, I read the Bible in about six weeks. As best as I can figure, it took me about 120 hours to do it, since I’m a slow reader. Now I have begun reading it again, but much more slowly this time. What a truly enriching experience! And by God’s grace, I will continue to do so for the rest of my life on earth.
This is what happened almost two years ago. It has forever changed my life. I now understand the joy that true salvation brings. One blessing of reading every day is that the Word of God has come to life for me: the history of Israel, the faithfulness of God, the story of redemption … It is marvelous how fully God has revealed himself in his Word. I now feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in my daily life when I am seeking to follow Jesus and feel the separation when I am not.
I would hope that everyone who reads this testimony will be reminded of the forgiveness that was made available through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the power of the Word of God to change our thinking, hearts, and actions. Thank you for letting me share my story with you.
This post and other resources are available at Kindle Afresh: The Blog and Website of Kenneth Berding.