Continued. (All four posts here)
Several events during my late teens and early twenties pushed me farther into sin and away from God. The death of my grandfather, the senseless murder of one of my childhood friends, my parent’s divorce (after many turbulent years of separation) as well as my own failed relationships, all made me question much of what I barely knew to be true. I soon found myself living alone several hundred miles away from my family, estranged from my father, having all but flunked out of college, and barely able to pay my rent. The only thing I had to enjoy in life was my sin. I was twenty-two years old.
It was during this very low point in my life when I actually made a very mature decision. I had been living in Trumann, Arkansas for barely a month - just getting settled in when I got a phone call from my 19-year-old sister. She was living with my mother in Sheridan at the time and was several months pregnant. She had called to tell me that her boyfriend just ended their relationship. She was distraught. So, in a rare moment of reason and responsibility I made a quick choice to pack up my belongings and move back home to take care of the two women in my life. Looking back, I can only attribute this to the beginnings of God’s merciful drawing of me to Himself.
Though I was home to help these two women who had experienced broken relationships, I spent the summer in and out of several sinful relationships myself. I was enjoying my sin for a season, but there was certainly no lasting value or purpose to my life. This was the summer of 1992. Just a few months later, in the fall, I met the girl that would three years later become my wife.
I was smitten by Anita’s beauty and our personalities couldn’t have complimented each other any better. I was certain that we were a match made in Heaven. Since I knew Anita was a “religious” girl, I knew I had better watch some of my sinful habits, but I wasn’t necessarily ready to walk the straight and narrow. Nonetheless, after our very first date, I ended up inviting myself to her Baptist church the following morning. I had no idea why. Again, in hindsight I see the hand of God.
I still remember the title of the sermon that morning, “So Close and yet Lost.” The fiery, red-headed and red-faced preacher gave example after example of people who had lived good lives, done good things, served in church, etc. and yet did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He was talking about me. And when the end of the service came and the invitation was given and the question was asked, “If you died tonight do you know you would go to Heaven?” I was pierced to my soul. I knew the answer to that question. I knew I had no hope of Heaven. I knew I should walk the aisle. But I didn’t.
To be continued tomorrow...