- Parent Category: History
- Category: Personal Stories
- Published on Saturday, 01 July 2006 11:53
For eighteen years of my life, growing up on an Iowa farm in the favored country of the United States, Satan convinced me that the attractions of the world and its many bright lights would eventually bring satisfaction. But, in the lines of Galations 6:7, I truly had been deceived.
I was born into a home where the gospel and the truth of God were reverenced. My grandparents on both sides of the family were saved in earlier years and were among the 55 believers who gathered to the Lord’s Name at the commencement of the Hitesville Assembly, in December of 1927. Yet, neither my father or mother were saved until the early 70’s, many years after my own conversion in 1961.
My parents wisely insisted we attend the Sunday School and as a family we seldom missed the Lord’s Day evening gospel meeting. My grandparents could now see the result of Proverbs 22:6 “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” My parents always had a deep longing to know Christ as Saviour, and this prompted us to travel countless miles when various series of gospel meetings were being held in the area. Along with many believers in the community I had the distinct privilege of having three gospel preachers, Paul Elliott, Leonard DeBuhr and Robert Orr, living within five miles of my home. Joyfully I remember their testimony before me, and their soul winning spirit. In addition, five assemblies had been planted within twenty-five miles of my home. These unlimited privileges often impressed me in realizing that the Lord in His wondrous grace had set a hedge around this sinner. This hedge was impossible to ignore.
The coming of the Lord often sobered me. I thought of being left behind while my grandparents and other relatives would be taken. However, this often quickly passed as the devil whispered, “what about your friends?”
Even though the sports world and the applause of the crowd had captivated my interest, the Spirit of God often spoke these words, “just where is real satisfaction found?” Because the school cafeteria didn’t always supply enough food, we frequented the downtown café. This short walk made us pass by Paul Elliiott’s house. At each passing I would notice this sign on his garage door: “Jesus said, Ye must be born again.” This was, again, a vivid reminder and it spoke loudly to me as I sensed that I was running away from God. Little did I dream that it would be this man who would ask me to share in a gospel series eight years later.
During my last year of high school, I began to discover that the close friends were not so important anymore. Satan’s bright lights, which he showed me as a young teenager, began to dim and I often had disappointing experiences.
On July 2, 1961 we went, as usual, to the gospel meeting at Hitesville. It was the usual Sunday night meeting conducted by the local brethren, not a meeting of a special gospel series. That night Robert Orr spoke on Matthew 24:36 “for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” It was like an arrow from God. It pierced my conscience. After the meeting, my cousin, who was saved a year earlier, showed me various verses. Before he left he prayed for my salvation. God spoke so suddenly that it left me broken and troubled.
Four years of seeking popularity in high school left me with nothing, and before God I was empty for eternity. I remember thinking that I had played the role of the fool in permitting Satan to offer me that which would never satisfy.
Three full days passed. Troubled, I remember reading the scriptures and different gospel tracts. All seemed to be so dark. That Wednesday night, July 5, 1961, I found myself in Leonard DeBuhr’s study. He showed me many verses. The simplicity of Luke 19:10 conveyed hope to my darkened mind.
Later, alone in my “57 Chevy” I found myself reading that text again. For some reason my eye caught only a portion of the verse: “the Son of man came to seek the lost.” I had to admit that I was exactly that – lost! Before God I was lost, friendless and helpless.
Then I read the rest of the verse and discovered that the same Man who came for the lost, also saves the lost. Right there, I caught myself trusting what I had never trusted before.
I remember the SUN was setting in the west, bringing darkness for another night. But at the same time, the SON was sunshine to my heart. If I had known the hymn, I could have sung, “I seek no other argument, I want no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.”