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Abbie Burnham '07

Year: 2007
Residence: Next House
Major: 5 & 7
I was raised in a strongly Christian household with a lot of rules. By the age of 8 I knew almost every Bible story, quoted Bible verses with the best of them, and had very little knowledge about any non-Christian media.

Generally, people believe what they’re taught – right? A kid’s parents are the smartest people in the world, so it’s just natural to get one’s view of life from them. I trusted everything my parents taught me and took their beliefs as my own. (And I thank them with every ounce of my being for the precious and invaluable gift of the message of salvation that they gave me.)

As I grew older, I read my Bible, was “pious” enough to be able to tell my friends what they were doing wrong (sadly, I probably looked a lot like the Pharisees), knew that Jesus had died for my sins – and although I had asked Him to be my Savior, He didn’t become more than just someone I knew a lot about. He wasn’t the one I trusted when something went wrong. I accepted that He died for my sins, that He took my place on the cross, and I was thankful. I just didn’t think that He needed anything more from me than my thankfulness.

When I got a bit older, things got harder. I was hit with self-doubt, loneliness, and bitter thoughts. My junior year was one big pit of despair. I cried almost daily because I thought I wasn’t good enough to be a Christian, my friends hated me, my parents didn’t think I was smart enough, and I was going to live the rest of my life that unhappily. None of those things were true, but my heart wouldn’t listen to the abundance of evidence to the contrary. To sum it up in a few words, I was depressed. I had this emptiness that I couldn’t make go away. There was something wrong with me that I couldn’t fix.

Then, all of a sudden, God turned my life right around. I found a Bible study group that was kids just like me – they knew about God, but hadn’t really made Him the boss of their lives. We had some good teachers and eventually started growing closer to God. I learned a lot of things from those people.

You see, God doesn’t just want you to believe in Him – the Bible (James 2:19) says that “even the demons believe – and shudder.” Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” That scripture basically says that there are two parts to getting to heaven – a belief and the action of stating your belief. Another part of Romans (12:1) tells Christians to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice…” Jesus did more than just love us from a distance. He became the ultimate sacrifice; He gave His life for us when He took our place on the cross. He gave His life for you, and you should give your life to Him.

[Just to clarify – you can’t work your way into heaven. No one can be good enough to get to God (“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23). But merely accepting that you are forgiven and living your life like it doesn’t matter doesn’t work – believe me, I’ve tried it.]

I used to live like I was the boss of my life. I made my own decisions; I chose what was going to happen to me. We here at MIT base a lot on head knowledge. I mean, I love learning. Biology and chemistry continue to amaze and enthrall me every day (and, hey, even physics does once in a while!). You probably, like I did, think that you know enough to take care of yourself. But I’ve found out that I can’t choose for myself anymore – because I ended up choosing depression, distrust, and bitterness. Now that I’ve given God control, He chooses joy, peace, and love. That’s what I want for my life, and I pray that that’s what you’ll find in Christ someday, too.