What brought me to Jesus was a major catastrophe in my life. Our marriage blew up in October of 1978. What seemed to be an abrupt occurrence actually took place over the first 4 and a half years of our marriage.
When Connie and I married in 1974, I knew nothing about marriage. Personally, my concept of marriage (which included my assessment of intimacy) was based on Hollywood, television, and what I'd learned from my friends growing up. The two of us knew nothing about covenant and commitment. All we knew was that if we had a legal marriage license (and we did), we were legally married. Neither of us knew Jesus. We had no Scriptural, premarital counseling, so we had absolutely no Spiritual or Biblical influence whatsoever, and no spiritual foundation.
I was 19 and she was 18 when we got married. We were babies who launched out together on the road of life, totally unprepared. Things started going south soon after our marriage began. I could list all the things that were wrong with me, but since this is not my whole testimony I'll only say that I was extremely immature. My immaturity was one of the catalysts that destroyed what we did have.
God began tugging at my heart when I was 7 years old. My sweet Grandmother took me to talk to our Pastor just after the Spring Revival that year. The Pastor decided that I was ready to pray the sinner's prayer. I did and was baptized a week later. The problem was however, that I was on my own from that point. Looking back I truly believe God brought me near to Him at that time. I began to have an awareness of Him which prompted me to pray when I wanted something or when I was in some sort of trouble. But I never completely surrendered my life to Jesus.
In the very same year that things fell apart, 1978, the Holy Spirit attempted again to draw me to Jesus. It's ironic that Connie and I visited a couple of Spring Revival meetings that year. I begin to feel the drawing again, but soon afterward I begin to resist the drawing, and continued to live in rebellion to God. We were nearing the 4 and a half year point and Connie and I continued to drift further and further apart.
On a Sunday afternoon in mid October, 1978, Connie told me she didn't think she loved me anymore. I cannot express how that jolted me. I truly loved her, even though I was immature, needed Jesus, and was very selfish with my life. Add to that, at the time we had 2 beautiful children. I was devastated to know that I might lose Connie, and in addition, our 2 children.
A friend and former boss of mine had been attempting to witness to me for about 8 months. Joe was a new believer himself and God had drastically changed his life just 8 months earlier. His Dad was dying and shared Jesus with him as he lay on his death bed. Joe was so moved by his Dad's death that he desperately cried out to Jesus. He was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit soon afterward. I became a target for Joe to witness to me for 8 months.
The very next day after our marriage fell apart, I got with Joe and poured my heart out to him. Joe was the only person I wanted share this with because he had been sharing Jesus with me, and somehow I knew he was in touch with God. At this point I was no longer drifting away from the wooing of the Holy Spirit. I was now desperately running to Him! I cried out to Jesus and He heard me. He answered the cry of my heart! I was saved. Then Joe prayed for me and I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have never been the same!
The first extremely noticeable change in my life after giving all to Jesus was a wonderful peace. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. As I left Joe's house that day, I drove down his rather long driveway to the main road. When I got to the end of the driveway God spoke to my heart for the very first time. I will never forget these words, "Everything is going to be alright." I cannot emphasize how important those words were to me. I knew there was a challenging journey ahead, but that all would be well in God's timing. What God did in my heart and life, and what He spoke to me at the end of Joe's driveway would be the basis for my eternal commitment to stand for Jesus through it all!
It has been almost 43 years since that day in October of 1978. Jesus restored our marriage and has blessed us beyond measure. We went on to have 4 wonderful children total, and as I make this post, 16 beautiful Grandchildren. Jesus continues to open incredible doors to us. We've shared the love of Jesus in several nations. Connie has been my wife and my best friend for many year now. I absolutely adore living life with her. Together we have discovered the blessing of marriage as we have committed to making Jesus Christ (and serving Him) the foundation for our marriage.
What brought me to Jesus? The very circumstances the enemy had designed to divide and destroy the God-ordained institution of marriage between Connie and me. Fact: Jesus will heal your marriage if.....you are willing to give it all over to Him. The greatest blessing is that He can and will do what you may believe to impossible. But never forget...ALL things are possible to those who believe! (See Matthew 10:27)