When I was a kindergartner, my family and I lived upstairs in an old house that was across the street from a hardware store. Our move to that location changed the direction of my life forever. We only lived there for a couple of years…through my kindergarten year. The owner of the hardware store was a member of the church of Christ which was soon to construct a new meeting house about a mile down the road from us. Because of his influence our neighbors downstairs became Christians. My mom and dad were next. They were taught the gospel and were baptized into Jesus Christ. And that’s how the Lord found us. He gave us a new direction. On March 5th, 1958, when I was in fourth grade, I got my first entire Bible (containing both the new and old testaments). It was the best gift I had ever received. My mom, ever the hard-working, money-saving, woman, gave me a couple of filled top value stamp books so I could get my Bible. It was a King James Version Bible. It lays beside me on this desk as I type. It’s cover is worn out. But it’s truth has never worn out. After receiving it, I began reading. It was not unusual for me to hop on my bike in the early morning and head uptown (our little town didn’t even have a stoplight) to Bellbrock Park, where I would open and read my Bible. It would be about three years later as a seventh grader that I responded to the gospel invitation and was baptized. Wish I could say I always lived true to that decision. I didn’t. But God kept showing me such patience and love. When I turned from Him, my conscience wouldn’t leave me alone. So…here I am today. Wishing I had done better. Wishing I was further, much further, along the road to Christ-likeness. Wishing I had not let Him and others down so often in my life. But, that’s not all! I am here today still cherishing His Word…still engaged by a living hope…still wanting and trying to help others get to know my Lord through His truth…still trying to honor Him. Someone said, “Get your direction before you try for distance.” God said through His servant Jeremiah (10:23), “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”
I believe that your story, my sister, my brother, while different in many particulars from all others, also shows that our Father God has always, to this day, been working for our good. He not only shows us the direction, He helps us go that way and keep on going the distance. I am grateful that He is using us, as well as other dear ones, to help one another keep saying “Yes!” to Him and His will for our lives.