It was the same routine every week. Bath on Saturday night, clothes laid out for church on Sunday morning, and heaven help us if we weren’t ready on time! My dad was Head Deacon at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Fostoria and we never missed Sunday service unless we were truly sick or somebody died. I hated it! I hated singing songs about a God Who meant nothing to me. I hated listening to boring sermons and I hated having to act so “nicey-nice” around people I didn’t like.
My way of providing excitement, and maybe getting even, was to steal money out of the offering plate. Sitting in the balcony with my friends, I’d grab a handful of money out of the plate before they came upstairs to pick it up. Then it was down the fire escape and downtown to have a cream soda or a cho-cho. I’d get back just as service was letting out and mingle with the crowd. Of course I eventually got caught stealing and learned at an early age that crime does not pay.
The Marines taught me that life wasnt all peaches and cream. The training was tough and I longed to be home with my family and friends. I even missed the old church. My dear mother would send me letters encouraging me to serve the Lord but I’d throw them in the trash. Still, the words of those old hymns would linger in the hallways of my mind… “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way…. Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling!”.
Exit the Marines and off to college. No inner peace or satisfaction there either. Finally, after suffering two collapsed lungs, losing my father to accidental drowning, and flunking out of college, I came to the end of myself. Sitting on a floor in 1963 with a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and a picture of Jesus hanging on the wall, I deliberately counted the cost of being a Christian and surrendered my heart and life to Christ. Has life been a rose garden ever since? Of course not. Along with the many victories have been disappointments, failures, etc, but I’ve never regretted the decision I made back in ’63 to serve the Lord. My only regret is that I didn’t choose Him sooner. Thank God for His mercy and His power to save us! What a glorious, wonderful, loving Heavenly Father we have. His love for us is far beyond our comprehension, penetrating the deepest sin and the hardest heart.
Being a part of the NewVision FM ministry has been such a blessing to me. What a joy and privilege it is to be used of the Lord to impact the lives of our dear listeners. Every time I round the last curve on Route 23 and see the WXML tower beacon, I get a chill down my spine. I call it the “Beacon Of Hope”. My hope is to be continually and increasingly used of the Lord at the station.
My hope for you is that the God Of All Hope is the all-consuming love of your life and that you will call to mind the words of a plaque that my mother gave me as a child: “Only One Life Twill Soon Be Past; Only What’s Done For Christ Will Last”. God Bless You and God Bless NewVision FM!