Once Lost but Now Found
Hello. I was born in 1957. When I was 5 years old, my parents divorced and both remarried. There were five of us children; then, each step parent brought one child from their previous marriage and each new marriage produced one new child for a total of nine children. Growing up I felt, at times, like a human ping-pong ball. Most weekends I traveled to whichever parent I was not living with during the week.
I began doing drugs in 4th grade, and in 10th grade I overdosed on LSD and wound up in the hospital. At that time, I turned all my attention to sports which I always enjoyed. By the time I reached 19 and entered college, I really had no idea about the purpose of my human life.
I remember in astronomy class, my freshman year in college, being overwhelmed with the incredible vastness of the universe. I occasionally thought a little about God. Growing up I was exposed to the Congregational church, the Catholic Church and Christian Science. Basically, I blended it all together and came up with my own philosophy that said, “If you just do more good than bad, when you die, you go to heaven.”
During my senior year in high school, one of my best friends, Steve, asked Jesus to come into his life and be his personal Savior. When he told me, my reaction was: after all we had been through together, he had now become a “Jesus Freak”. But every time I saw him, he seemed happier than I had ever seen him before. Occasionally, he shared bits of the Bible with me. The funny thing was even though I had gone to one church or the other my whole life, I had never heard the verses he shared with me. I began to wonder what to really believe and why. Steve shared with me that the moment I asked Jesus to come into my life all my sins would be forgiven by God. That sounded too good to be true.
Then one night in January 1977, I was up late watching TV and the movie “O What a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart came on. The point of the movie was that Jimmy Stewart had a chance to see what the world would be like if he never lived. He found out that he had a profound, positive, impact on hundreds, if not thousands of lives. For me, at the end of the movie, I began to think about my life. Through my drug days I had lied, stolen, and done a lot of things I wished I had never done. All of a sudden, all the words from my friend Steve came back to me and with tears I prayed a very confused prayer, “God, Lord, Jesus, if You are really there, I want to be forgiven of my sins and I want to live the life that I was meant to live.” In that moment, something happened. For the first time, I felt something of the presence of God and I felt something of His love and forgiveness. I went to bed laughing and giggling, “Steve was right! I can’t believe it. He was actually right. God really does love me and He has forgiven me!!!”
During the next couple of months, I had a lot of strange experiences. I felt like God was following me wherever I went. I began to read the Bible, and the words of the Bible, which once were confusing and kind of boring, came alive, and I began to understand what I was reading. Eventually I came to realize that the Bible is two things. First, it is a love letter from God to us. Second, it is a divine refrigerator. Whenever I would read it and pray, I felt inwardly supplied and strengthened. I also experienced more joy, rest and peace.
Eventually, in April of 1977, I met some Christians who were visiting my college campus. They introduced me to the wonderful ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Through these two brothers’ writings I was introduced to: God’s eternal purpose (Ephesians 1:1-14), how to enjoy Christ in my daily life (Romans 10:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Peter 2:2-3), and how to have a wonderful, supplying, daily church life (Acts 2:42-47). I also read several spiritual biographies (Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, and Watchman Nee) that really inspired me.
It has now been 22 years since that wonderful first prayer. I can surely testify to God’s awesome love, care, faithfulness, mercy, and grace. I never dreamed that my own life could have so much meaning. The Lord Jesus has blessed me in so many ways, both spiritually and humanly. In August, my precious wife, and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage; and our two children, are a constant joy and labor of love. My only desire is to faithfully serve my wonderful Savior, Jesus, and to hasten His return by being built up with other believers in Christ in the practical, daily, church life. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen!