The gospel and me

As a teenager, I remember jeering at a television broadcast by evangelist Oral Roberts. I was surprised when my father said Roberts had some good things to say.

A few years later at the age of 20, my mind and heart were in a very different place. I was feeling down after dropping out of university and was living in a boarding house while holding down a job.

One of my fellow boarders was a Christian soldier. He saw my interest in English literature and suggested we study the Book of John in the Bible since so much of English literature is rooted in the Bible.

I agreed and a few months later I became a believer.

What had changed? Why did a scoffing teenager become a follower of Christ?

As I look back, a number of things happened.

For one thing, my self-confidence had taken a beating. One of the big barriers to believing in Jesus is a feeling that I don’t need God. I can handle things on my own. The world revolves around me.

Another thing: I had never really understood the good news of Jesus Christ. I had attended confirmation classes at an Anglican church, but the reason Jesus came to earth had never sunk into my consciousness. The Anglican priest’s words did not break through into my heart.

Finally, the Holy Spirit chose the precise moment I met the Christian soldier to open my eyes to the gospel. As my friend and I worked through the gospel of John, I came to understand that the Son of God offered to bear the penalty of death in my place so that I might live eternally with God.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that God had planted a few seeds long before that as I was growing up. But I wasn’t ready until I was 20 years old.

I write this because it gives me confidence that God is at work in the lives of many, preparing the way for them to enter his embrace.

The gospel – God’s words about his loving grace – has great power.

Knowing this, I continue to pray for people who haven’t yet had their eyes opened to Jesus.

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2 comments so far

  1. andyjsmits on

    Great reminder, Bob. I especially appreciate the comment that it wasn’t the lack of faithfulness on the part of the Anglican priest that kept the gospel from penetrating to your heart so much as God’s timing and your circumstances that softened your heart to recognize good news.

    “The gospel – God’s words about his loving grace – has great power.” -Amen!

  2. Robert Douglas on

    Thank you, Andy. I have heard stories of other believers who have seemingly failed to understand the good news until suddenly it becomes all clear in an “Aha!” moment. The Holy Spirit seems to pull back the shutters and the “Son-shine” flows in.


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