I’m a 48 year old divorced man. I have two wonderful children which I see on the weekends and the Lord Jesus Christ is first in my life, but it always hasn’t been that way. I was raised in a Methodist Church. We attended service every Sunday and I was active in our youth group. I would get on fire for God after a youth group retreat, but I would slowly drift away upon returning.
When I was eighteen, I joined the Navy and spent the next six years seeing the world. I was about as far away from God as anyone can get. I did every kind of drug imaginable, slept with as many women as possible, stole, lied, cheated and drank till I was drunk every day. When I got out of the Navy I got married and cleaned my life up. I had two beautiful children, quite doing drugs and was a faithful husband, but I didn’t have God in my life.
After eighteen years of marriage, I found out my wife was having an affair. When I confronted her, she refused to quit the affair and said she wanted a divorce. Shortly after that, I was sent out of town on work for the next year. I was glad to get away, plus it gave me a place to stay, since the ex-wife took the house. I had kept in touch with Sammy, a close friend of mine from home. We called each other almost daily to talk since we were both divorced and lived alone. Sammy started going to church and getting all religious on me. I didn’t want that. I was living on my own for the first time in eighteen years and it was party time. Sammy would talk about things that happened at church and I would talk about things that happened in the bar. Sammy would go to church on Wednesday night and I would go play poker. I had read the Bible when I was growing up and thought I was well informed on the subject of Christianity. We would get in arguments over his beliefs. I had convinced myself that all Christians where hypocrites and I didn’t want Sammy becoming one or being controlled by a bunch of them.
I began reading the Bible, so as to better arm myself with weapons to shoot holes in Sammy’s beliefs. As I read, it became clear to me Sammy was right most of the time and I was wrong. Something else happened as well. I began to feel God calling me back to him. The more I read the more I could feel a tugging at my heart. I wanted to get close to God, but did not want to go back to the same boring religion I grew up with. I began researching all the different religions; Buddhism, Hindu, Muslim, Christian Scientist, Scientology, Mormon and a list of others. Finally I came across the Unity School of Christianity. I thought this was great. Here is a religion that is easy to follow. No real rules. No real sin. No real evil and it’s all about me, me, me. No need to give to the needy. The best thing we could do for the needy was to be an example of success. After about a month of this, it became apparent that the Unity School of Christianity was about as filling as Jell-O. That emptiness was still in my heart.
Sammy told me that the only way to God was to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He told me that his church had a website and suggested I visit it. I did and found out you could listen to the Pastor’s messages on it. I began listening to the sermons almost daily and reading the Bible on-line every chance I could get. One day after work I came back to my apartment and listened to a message from Pastor Stovall. I don’t remember what the message was about, but when it was over I got up from my computer and said out loud, “Okay Jesus, I’ll give you a shot. Let’s see what you got.” I sat down on the couch, closed my eyes and began to pray. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and turned over my life to him. When I did it was like opening the floodgates. Tears were flowing as I told him what a mess I had made of my life and my marriage. I was praying so hard and everything was coming out. All my past mistakes, the people I cheated and stole from and all the drugs I did and sold. My fists were so tight that my nails were digging into my hands. All of a sudden, something incredible happened. An extremely bright light appeared before my face. I had my eyes closed as tight as I could, but it was like someone was holding a floodlight inches from my face. I wanted to open my eyes, but I was afraid to for two reasons. One, I was afraid the light would go away and two, I was afraid it wouldn’t and there would be this big ball of light chasing me around the room. Not knowing what to do, I decided to sit still and see what happened. I could feel the light go into my face and slowly envelop my entire body. It was a feeling like I had never felt before. I was looking for this “inner peace” I kept hearing about when you give your life to Jesus, but what I got was more like an earthquake. The experience was so real that I will never be able to deny it happened. From that moment on everything changed; they way I thought, the way I felt, the way I talked. It was not a slow process with me, it was an immediate change.
I called Sammy later that evening to tell him what had happened, but before I could he said “You turned it over to him.” I said yes and went on to tell him all about what had happened. It wasn’t until about three days later that I realized I didn’t tell Sammy that I had turned my life over to Christ. He told me. Four hundred miles away and he knew I had given my life to Christ before I told him. Isn’t the Lord amazing? My life has never been the same since praying that little prayer. The Lord has done many amazing and wonderful things in my life since then. Maybe sometime, I will tell you about some of them.