"The entrance of your Word gives light" Psalms 119:130
I do not remember when I learned this verse from God’s Word. It may have been learned in Sunday School or in my private reading. The fact is that God’s Word enters into a person’s thinking and understanding revealing to that individual God’s perspective on truth.
When I was around six years old, I overheard my older brother talking to a friend of his. A very serious discussion seemed to be in progress. I came away with the idea that I was about to die and nothing else that I heard from my brother could change my mind. My mother found me in my bedroom and tried to find out what was wrong. The more I tried to explain my fear and what I had heard, the more confusing things got. I was sent outside to play, hopefully to forget my fears about death.
Not long after this episode, two men were knocking on doors in our neighborhood, asking parents if they would like to send their children to a Bible based Sunday School just up the street from our house. My parents agreed and the next Sunday we started to attend Chelsea Heights Sunday School. It was at this Sunday School that I learned why I was afraid to die. Our Bible lessons came from both Old and New Testaments and I was taught that as a sinner my sins deserved punishment. I learned that I was not the only one with this problem but that all of mankind had it, and that it started with Adam disobeying God’s Word. The idea of being an enemy of someone I had never seen was hard to understand. My teachers were very patient and kept opening up the Bible using examples and stories to impress me with one truth: although I was an enemy because of my sins, God was offering to me a pardon or forgiveness for my sins through Jesus Christ. My Sunday School teachers made it very clear that this Man was the only Saviour of mankind.
Both my parents worked full time and this caused a problem of who was to look after me and my brothers during the day. My mother’s father agreed to move in with my family to watch over us. I can say now that God seems to go out of the way at different times to help someone understand Him better. What I learned about God in the Sunday School didn’t seem to be very practical to me. God was kind, and loving, and strong and patient, and a lot of other things, but it was not until my grandfather started to take care of me that I could understand that God was a real person and not just a character in a book. I have no memory of my grandfather ever swearing or taking God’s name in vain. Although he was a very religious man, he never seemed to have peace in his life. Usually on a Sunday morning my grandfather would take us to his church and in the afternoon we would go to Chelsea Heights Sunday School. It was after a Sunday morning church service that I heard some men speaking to the priest about the Lord Jesus. The priest said that Jesus never cried while he was here on earth. One of my Sunday School lessons was about the different times that the Lord Jesus cried and I told the priest that there was a place in the Bible that says that Jesus cried. The priest was not very happy that a boy would speak out and correct a mistake that he made and neither were my parents or grandfather. I was told never to do that again. That Sunday afternoon I related the incident to my Sunday School teacher and said I could not remember where in the Bible it said that Jesus cried. My teacher opened the Bible to John’s Gospel as well as Luke’s gospel and let me read what it said. When I saw that the Bible and the priest did not agree, I asked why. My teacher wisely said that not everyone believes what the Bible says. That statement was like an arrow in my own heart because I did not believe that I was as bad a sinner as the Bible says I am. From time to time I believed that God was speaking to me through things that happened in my life, yet could not face the truth that my sins would take me to hell. I disagreed with God as to the seriousness of my sin.
When I was seventeen, I was invited to Gospel Meetings at Chelsea Heights Gospel hall. After attending two nights, listening intently to the preachers, I came home convinced that I was not looking at myself the way God was. Sitting at my bedroom desk, I read and re-read gospel verses that I had learned and could see no hope of me ever being in Heaven when I died. While I knew what God said in the Bible about trusting the Lord Jesus as my Saviour, I could not accept that I was the sinner for whom Christ had died on the cross. Nothing seemed to make sense, so I gave up reading and went to bed. While lying in my bed, the thought came to me from a verse I had learned : "Christ died for the ungodly". I knew that that was true and that I needed to accept it for myself. There has never been anything in my life that was harder to do than to stop arguing with God and to simply trust His Son! While I was struggling with God’s Word another verse came to mind: "Whosoever believeth shall be saved" Just then it was as if it was the first time I heard God’s offer of forgiveness for my sins. I could see that I was the one person that God sent His Son into the world to save. I trusted Him just then and have not regretted it to this day. That day was Thursday January 13th 1972. I do not remember what time it was, because I had no watch or clock to look at. However, while I was thanking God for saving me, the steam whistle blew at the factory across the river from our house, signaling that the eleven o’clock shift had started. I am still learning the truth of my introductory verse,
"The entrance of your Word gives light."