"What's Behind The Stars?"    

An Autobiographical Testimony (Part 2)


by Ron Medeiros
© MakeshiftDarkroom.com 2014
Posted 1/4/14


Begin with Part 1 - "Ski Pants And Snow Angels"


My mother, my baby sister, and I had been living around the corner in a different house for a few years now. Because we were so close to Nana and Grampa's, I got to spend a lot of time at the old house where I lived when I was small. I would sleep over Nana's often when I was young, especially during the summer vacation. It was a lot better there. They had a big color TV with a good antenna on the roof, and it would get pretty good UHF reception. We had a small black and white TV, at our house. On Nana's Zenith, I would watch the really cool shows like Lost in Space, Gunsmoke, and The Rifleman. My grandfather liked the westerns too, but he also watched boring things like the news, Lawrence Welk, Dorris Day, and HEE HAW. For the life of me I just couldn't understand grown ups - Lawrence Welk? What a waste of valuable TV time. Flying saucers, laser pistols, cowboys, and lever action rifles were much more entertaining. Whenever my grandfather would take control of the TV, I would just go on an imaginary space walk with Major Matt Mason, to pass the time.

At Nana's, I could stay up late watching great cowboy movies with lots of shooting, and then just sleep on the couch. And I could eat snacks from the refrigerator as often as I wanted, without getting yelled at. She would let me eat the pickles right out of the jar, without having a sandwich. Nana's pantry was always filled with cookies, crackers, small Table Talk blueberry pies, (the perfect size for a kid) and my favorite breakfast cereals like Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, Fruit Loops, and what I believed to be the king of all cereals... Cocoa Puffs. It was always better at Nana's house; it was home to me. It seemed like I was always getting into trouble at our house. I couldn't quite figure out what the problem was. All I wanted to do was just have fun, but grown ups were always getting upset about something. Man! life sure was full of trouble. I couldn't figure out what it was, but there seemed to be something very wrong with the world.

One night, when I was about age seven, my grandmother had just managed to get me off to bed for the night. As she was straightening out the covers I looked up at a crucifix on the wall. I remember the metallic figure hanging on the cross with the nails in his hands and feet. There was a long tan clipping of dried palm leaves tucked between it and the wall. I pointed to the crucifix and asked, "Is that God?" I thought it might have had something to do with God because it looked like some of those religious statues that I had seen before. Unprepared for the question she responded, "that's Jesus." "When we pray we say, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." She told me to say my prayers, then said good night, and turned off the light.

I don't remember exactly what my thoughts were as I lay there in bed, but I do remember thinking a lot about the whole idea of God and the things that were hard to understand, like life and death, and why we were here on earth. As time went by, and as I got a bit older, my thoughts about these things only continued, and grew deeper and more detailed in interrogative fashion. I was an early bloomer, and was somewhat ahead of schedule with respect to reasoning about such things. For a seven or eight year old, I had an adequate understanding of the vastness of the universe, probably from watching my favorite sci-fi shows on TV. I spent many a night laying in bed pondering the seeming limitlessness of the starry heavens. As I considered the endless black frontier of outer space, it didn't make sense to me that it just went on forever without end, and the question that came to mind seemed to encapsulate all of my other questions combined. "What's behind the stars?" Do they just go on and on forever, or is there an end to it all? If so, what was behind them? The question what's behind the stars? is another way of asking - what is above the sun? The phrase "under the sun" is used repeatedly in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes and is a phrase that signifies life upon earth - the visible world in which we live. This would include everything that we can see and experience with our five senses. The question, what's behind the stars? or what's above the sun? indicates a fascination or regard for that which is spiritual or eternal in nature; the unseen things that the human spirit was originally designed to comprehend and experience.

Many people usually have some great dilemma in their life before coming to faith in Jesus. For me it was a question; and the question was essentially, "what is true?" or, what is the truth? I want to know the truth behind all of this. I want to know what this is all about. There is something behind all of this, and I'm not getting any answers. I'm not getting to the bottom of it. There has to be a reason for all of this, and I need to know what it is. There has to be a reason for life, the world, and my existence. I didn't understand it then, but my heart was transmitting an interrogating signal to whatever or whoever was behind the stars. If God is behind the stars then won't someone please tell me. And if that is true, please tell me what that means. God consciousness was activating inside of me and leading me in the direction of God's truth and to God himself. I was being prepared, even at such a young age, to receive the answer to these and other questions.

Over the next few years these questions continued to occupy my mind. Why do we die? What happens to us then? It didn't make much sense to me that we would be born into this world, live our life, and then pass away into nothingness. I would think of my family; my mother, grandmother and grandfather. They were getting older, what if they died? I couldn't bear the thought of them being gone forever. And what about me? These thoughts about death would, at times, bring me to tears as I tasted the chill of it's impending reality in my life. It surprised me that the grown ups didn't seem too interested in these things. When I would ask them these questions they would say, "why are you thinking about that?" "You're so young, you don't have to worry about that now."



When I was about age ten, life at home had become very difficult. There was a lot of bad things going on in our home involving those things that you're not supposed to do. There was a lot of beer, shady looking characters, and loud music that didn't sound like music should sound. There was a lot of loud fighting, and the police came a few times. Times were different back then and because I was a bit "older" than my actual age, I had received my first .22 rifle when I was just nine. Because I proved to be competent in my understanding of how potentially dangerous it could be, I was allowed to keep it on the wall mounted gun rack in my room. The ammunition was kept separate in the top drawer of my bureau. I remember one night I awoke to the sound of someone fighting with my mother. It was the worst fight yet, and I remember laying in bed and looking at my rifle and wrestling with the decision, should I load my .22 and shoot him? The man in question was a very tough customer. My rifle was only a single shot .22 and I was afraid that it might not stop him before he got to me. Besides, I couldn't just shoot somebody. I am glad that I chose not to try it, because the fight ended before too long. That was not a decision that a young boy should have to make in the middle of the night. Many more things like this had been going on for quite some time. Why was there so much trouble in our house? I was so tired of it, but there was no lasting escape, except for a few days at a time at my grandmother's house.

It was about this time that my mother realized that she needed God. She didn't really know how to find him, but she started searching. I was glad she did. I don't think she understood why life was the way it was either. She took us to the church in town for several Sunday's, but nothing changed, and she didn't find God there or get any real answers to her questions. After that, she thought that God could be found in spiritualism, and she started to go to a medium and with groups that wanted to contact the spirit world. This fascinated her for a while, but one afternoon I remember that she came home very shaken after experiencing some intense and frightening manifestations from one of those meetings. She knew that this was not God, and stopped her spiritualist pursuits after that. But it was too late. She had opened the door to something very dark, and she had unknowingly brought it home with her. It was at that same time that I began to experience trouble of a different kind. Out of nowhere, I began to be deeply troubled in my sleep. I had reoccurring nightmares that I had never had before. It was more than a nightmare, however, it was as if I was being smothered or crushed by a weight in my sleep. It was like something was tormenting me, but could only do it while I was in my sleep. When I would wake up troubled it would end, but it was very hard to wake up. It was worse at times, I would scream in my sleep, and on one occasion my mother ran into the bedroom to see me sitting up in my sleep screaming and looking up at the ceiling. We later learned that I was being troubled by demonic activity, no doubt from the involvement with spiritualism. Such experiences are not from deceased human spirits, but demonic spirits that deceive and trouble those who choose to involve themselves with such things. At present time, I find it quite interesting that it was directed at me. They went after me. Why Me? Did they know something about me?

These things continued for a while. One day, an acquaintance of my mother's invited us to a Baptist church. This particular woman met my mother through the spiritualist group she used to attend, and I believe she was searching for God herself. She had decided to try a baptist church and invited us. It was just before my twelfth birthday in the month of August, I believe. My mother told us to get ready; we were going to church. She seemed like she wanted to go. I remember being somewhat interested. Angela was still too young, clueless but cute. (back then, I would never say that) We left within the hour. It turned out to be the most important car ride that we would ever take.



It was a hot afternoon late in the summer of 1977. The place was, New Bedford, Massachusetts. We arrived at the "church," which I barely recall, was one of those double wide trailer homes converted into a chapel. My mother, my sister, and I got out of the car and went into the building. Inside, it was furnished with pews and had a wood pulpit close to the back wall in the center. We took our seats on the right side. There was a small oscillating fan quietly running in one of the open windows. Even though it was hot and I was in an environment that I was not used to, it was quiet and peaceful. There was only a small number of people (about ten) who attended that afternoon.

The pastor was a very tall man who spoke with a strong southern accent. He was very clean cut with short dark hair. His wife sat up in the front holding their small child. She was very quiet and looked like a life sized porcelain doll with flawless skin and perfectly styled red hair. She looked too good to be real. It was clear, even to a twelve year old, that neither the pastor or his wife were from New Bedford. The pastor stood behind the pulpit and began preaching his message. That was the first time I had ever heard real preaching, where someone really explained the Bible and spoke so certainly about God. Something began to happen in me. There was much I didn't understand, but I remember following along with the message because I began to hear things that I believed might answer some of my questions.

The only thing I can recall about the message was when he mentioned Elvis. He said something like... "The king is not dead!" Elvis Presley is not the king, Jesus Christ is the king and Jesus is risen from the dead!" "The King is alive!" He must have said a few more things about Elvis that weren't very flattering, because I vividly remember that a woman, sitting to our left, got up in a huff, and abruptly walked out muttering, "I'm not going to sit here and listen to any more of your southern hot air..." She must have been quite an Elvis fan. She must have truly loved him tender. Elvis fans are extremely loyal, even unto death.

The pastor kept at it and finished his message. Upon concluding, he presented a very clear gospel message and gave an invitation to believe. He told us all that God had made us and loved us, but we were lost in sin and unable to save ourselves. We needed a savior, and that savior was Jesus who died on the cross to pay for our sins, and he will forgive us and give us the free gift of eternal life when we receive him. I thought to myself, that's it! That's the answer to all of my questions! When he asked for a show of hands from those who wanted to receive the free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ, I looked to the left and saw no hands go up. But this was my chance. This was the truth, I was sure of it. I gladly shot my hand up, and I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw my mother raise her hand as well. Then a few others also. As I held my hand up, I remember feeling as though I had finally resolved the greatest need of my life. And I felt assured of my decision, when the pastor looked at me to acknowledge my response. He called us all up to the pulpit to pray with him. We went up and kneeled to pray.



The Gospel was the answer to all of my questions. It revealed to me, in a very simple way, who God was, what he was like, what he had done, who I was, where I came from, where I was going, what was wrong with me, what was wrong with the world, and what the answer to it all was. The answer was in one name, JESUS. I remember that it took me about two or three seconds to believe and respond. For the first time, I had heard something different. I had heard from God. God had answered my questions! The truth of the Gospel had hit me like a gentle and benevolent lightning strike that went through my searching heart, quieting my doubts and fears and welding my feet securely to the solid rock of eternal life. I knew the gospel was true, and I believed it! But there was more to it than that; I was made to believe it. Somehow in a moment, God had made it certain to me. I knew this was the truth. I knew it! For you see, true faith is given by God, and is the real substance and evidence of the things that are unseen by the natural eyes of foolish men and women. The Gospel, in that moment, had given me new life, and had sufficiently answered all of my "whats" and "whys."

Three things happened to me that day moment when the Spirit of God came and made his home in me.

1) The fear of death vanished - when you know that there is eternal life, and that you have it, death looses it's sting!

2) I was delivered from excessive and compulsive lying - when you really discover that there is such a thing as truth, why would you want to or need to live in lies any longer?

3) The nightmares stopped - and to this day I have never had even one. It was as if God said, leave him alone from this day forward - access denied. Since then I have slept in peace. It was years later that I learned that Psalm 127:2 says, "He gives his beloved blessings in sleep."

These three deliverances serve as a clear evidence of what happened to me the moment I first believed.

The pastor was very insistent that we should be baptized, I guess that's why they call them, "Baptists." I remember being uneasy about it, but if that is what I must do as one who believes, then... yes. That same afternoon he brought us over to the Skipper Motor Inn and we were baptized in the swimming pool. That church didn't last too long. I think that pastor and his family had to move on to the next place, or return to where they had come from. I'm sure he does not remember me, and has little idea just what he did for me that day, or how much of a divine appointment our meeting him was. He probably doesn't fully realize how important it was that God had brought him briefly to our area, so that a young boy with a heart full of questions might come to know the truth, with the full assurance of faith. He had assured me, that all along, it was Jesus my Savior, who was and is behind the stars.  


"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)



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