The Awakening

"There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." - Romans 3:10-12

I traveled from California to Missouri with my friend, Glenn, on a train, stopping at the Grand Canyon for a day. We had a good time there — but my thoughts were always on my new-found love, Gunnie. I was one "moon-struck" person.

Shortly after arriving home, we were notified that our personal belongings had arrived in Philadelphia, and we decided to drive and pick them up. Glenn had bought a car by that time, and my dad wanted to go with me. He had a pickup truck, and that suited me fine. I wanted to spend some time with him, anyway, since I now knew that I was going to get married the next year, and would be living in California. His only stipulation was that we needed to be back home in Missouri in time to hear a revival preacher that he really wanted to hear. The preacher was an Indian from Oklahoma, and my dad wanted to hear all of his messages. I wasn't interested, but in deference to him, I agreed.

The Fall foliage was beautiful. I had spent my entire naval career in Hawaii and the Far East, and had not seen such color before. As we drove through the eastern states, we wondered at the beauty and color. The trip was a wonderful time of reconciliation with my father, and I will always be glad for it. We arrived back in Missouri just in time for the revival services.

We lived 22 miles from West Plains, but my parents attended a small Baptist church in town. So, every night that week in October, we drove in and attended the meetings. At first, I was not impressed at all. Then, on Wednesday night (probably about October 16, 1962), the preacher said, "If you can't remember when you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are NOT a Christian!"

Well, that really caught my attention. I "knew" I was a Christian, because my mother had told me all about when I prayed to receive Christ at her knee, when I was four. But I didn't "remember" it at all. After the service that night, a lady came to me and asked if I was a Christian. "Yes," I replied. "I am surprised that you would ask that."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because the Bible says that our spirits bear witness to each other if we are Christians. Right?" I stated.

"True." She said. "That's why I asked you. I don't sense that you are a Christian!"

Needless to say, that didn't set well with me, at all. Here I was, in a church filled with Christians, convinced that I was one, like them, and they could not tell! Actually, I was somewhat hurt that they could not tell. What kind of Christians were they, anyway, that they could not tell that I was one, too?

Salvation!

"Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
- Matthew 11:28

That night, when I went to bed, I could not get the words of that preacher out of my mind. I could see him saying "If you don't remember . . ." and looking straight at me, pointing his finger. I don't know whether he really pointed his finger or not, but in my mind, he did. I could not get that lady's words out of my mind, either. I struggled with what I "knew" about myself, and what the preacher and the lady said. I tried to put their words out of my mind. I tried to sleep, but sleep would not come!

Finally, I opened my eyes and looked at the ceiling of my room. Tears began to flow, as I cried out to God. "Lord, I don't really know whether I am a Christian, or not! But, I want to be. I don't want another night to pass without being Your child. I want to forsake my way of living. I want to know You more than anything. I want to KNOW that I am saved. Please save me now."

I don't know how long I prayed, or what else I may have prayed, but I have often thought of that night as being my night like the night that Jacob struggled and wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 32). The next morning things were different! I remember that the air seemed cleaner and the sun seemed brighter. I could actually converse without every fourth word being obscene! The Lord had cleaned my tongue! I was amazed.

Every day I wrote love letters to Gunnie. Sometimes they were eight or ten pages or more, and often I related the wonderful good news of what the Lord had done for me. I would study my Bible, and relate the truths of what I was learning to her in those letters. The more I learned, the more excited I became; yet there was a nagging worry that was beginning to come to my mind. I knew that we were heading for a crisis—and I didn't want to face it. Finally, one day in November, I wrote the hardest letter I have ever written. You see, Gunnie was Catholic, and I was Baptist. We had originally thought that we would "compromise" and be Methodist or Presbyterian. But, I knew — I just knew — that we could not do that. So, I wrote to Gunnie and told her that if she could not become a Christian with me, and if we could not be Baptist in our faith, we should not marry.

There was a certain dread as I posted that letter. I immediately started another letter, but the words would not come. I would write and then tear it up. Finally, I just began to pray. "Lord, Please prepare Gunnie for the letter. I love her—but I love YOU more!" Wonderfully, when she got the letter, she began to think about what I said. She talked with a preacher in Spokane, and his advice was to come and meet my parents and my pastor, and let things go from there. She took his advice, and in December, she came to Missouri.

A few days after she arrived, we met with my pastor, and she was saved, too. The next Sunday, she was baptized, and about three weeks later, we were married. That was over 40 years ago, and the honeymoon hasn't left us yet! I give God all the praise for what He has done in my life and in the lives of our loved ones. We have six children and six grandchildren. All of our children have professed Christ as the Lord and Savior, and most of our grandchildren are saved (some are still too young). We have many nieces and nephews who are saved. The Lord has been so gracious to us. We know that He is real—for He has done what only He can do. May He be praised and glorified forever!

Amen

"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." - Luke 15:7

 


 

Would YOU like to know more about this salvation I have talked about? Would YOU like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Maybe you would just like to read something more about it. My favorite Gospel Tract is God's Simple Plan of Salvation. You can find this tract by clicking on the button below. Go and read it today!

 


 

Maybe you would like to talk with me personally about my testimony. My e-mail address is jlehewsr@gmail.com. I will be happy to share the Lord with you! If you have prayer needs,I will be happy to share your prayer requests with others. Write me!

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