I was not born into a Christian home, but while I was still very young, the gospel crossed my family’s path through a dear uncle. My mother trusted Christ in 1957 and my father was saved five years later. I remember a few changes as a young boy: my dad giving up smoking, my mom taking us to the The Breaking of Bread meeting and to Sunday School on a regular basis. I recall sitting back, observing the Christians remembering their Savior, but it meant nothing to me and I occupied the time any way I could. My Sunday School teachers would faithfully point out the fact that I was a sinner in need of God’s salvation, but, like many, I was having too much fun with my friends and there was so much to do; I just put the matter off for a “convenient season.”
Later on, I tried to make deals with God, if only He would save me. But when nothing happened, I just continued on with my normal pursuits. When I was 12 years old, I was passing a cemetery on my way to the store with my mother when the thought crossed my mind, “What if your body were buried there, where would your soul be?” No doubt, it was the Lord gently reminding me of my greatest need of all. However, once again, friends, sports and other activities quickly crowded out thoughts of eternity and I continued on in my sins.
My parents purchased a house about a quarter mile from that cemetery just one year later. What a reminder to me! Not long after that, while lying in bed – whether dreaming or just thinking, I’m not sure – I could see my parents in heaven and a great gulf separating me from them. Knowing all my righteousnesses were as filthy rags, and that I was on my way to hell, sobered me, and the desire to know my sins forgiven and a place in heaven became my top priority. My Sunday mornings were always a struggle for my mom to get my sister and me up for meetings, but on March 24, 1968, she didn’t have the usual struggle with me. As I sat in the morning meeting that day in Jackson, Michigan, I read through nearly all the old Sunday School papers I had stuffed in my Bible over the weeks, searching for salvation and wondering if I would ever get it. I was reading about a soldier dying on a battlefield. He called for a chaplain to tell him how he could know he was ready for heaven. I don’t recall anything else in that paper, but God in His grace revealed to me that Christ died for sinners, and for the first time in my life, just a little before 11:00 am, I saw that Christ had died for me. I was saved! I still remember standing at the back of the Hall after the meeting, and, with tears in my eyes, telling my uncle what had happened a few moments earlier.
Even though it has now been over 30 years since that day, how thankful I am that God in His Grace, through a faithful uncle, brought the gospel to our family and to me!