When I first made my commitment to God, I had nothing to give Him but my heart. I was a cocky and socially unskilled gangster. A kid from the streets.
I went to a Bible college in California to straighten out my life, to get away from New York and the gang life. Although I was in Bible college, I never had an interest in becoming a preacher or an evangelist. With my thick Latino accent, I couldn’t imagine God calling me to do such a thing. In fact, I couldn’t imagine Him using me for anything. What good was I? What good could I do for God? I was confused and lost.
One night I was in my room feeling more lost and alone than ever. Lying on the floor, flat on my back and staring up at the ceiling, I began to pray, “God, why do I have to suffer so much? What do You want me to do? I love You, God, but I don’t know what You want from me! Please give me a sense of direction and peace. Please show me what You want!”
For hours I lay on the floor pleading with God to break His silence. Suddenly I felt an amazing calm in my spirit. It came over me like a wave. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I could sense God’s presence and feel Him speaking into my heart. “Nicky,” He said to my spirit, “my son, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten you. I brought you to this place for a purpose. I’ve separated you from your friends and your past, and now I’m giving you a new future. I have plans for you, Nicky. I need you to trust Me. I’m going to raise you up as an evangelist. I’m going to use you to touch the lives of young people. But you need to have faith. I’ll never leave you. I’ll always be right here by your side.”
I told God how much I loved Him and how much I wanted to serve Him. But the more I talked, the more I sensed Him saying, “Just trust Me, Nicky. Stay faithful and I’ll show you what I want you to do. You need to listen and follow when I lead.”
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.