A Testimony of Deliverance
“I used to wear seductive clothing,” the wife said. She was sitting on the sofa, beside her husband, and, to look at her, you would never have suspected it. She was well covered, very plain and humble. You would never have suspected that she used to take drugs, either, or that he had as well. He also told me that he had been addicted to rock music, or more accurately, to the spirit of rebellion in the music. There were four children in their family, from a teenage young man to a little girl of preschool age, with an adolescent girl and a pre-teen girl in between. There was nothing obvious from the parent’s sinful background that manifested itself in the offspring, either.
But the story that they told my wife and I was horrible. It was a story that is all too common, and it would only be another one of millions, except for one thing. The noteworthy thing is the deliverance that they found. How uncommon that is!
“My parents were Old Colony Mennonite,” she said.
“What did you think of the Bible?” I asked; “of people who lived right?”
“It was all right for them,” she replied, “but it was not for me, I thought.” She paused a moment. “It wasn’t until our first child was born that I began to seriously think about God.”
I was silent except for nodding my head. But my mind was immediately riveted upon 1 Timothy 2:15: “Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing.” It seemed that my thoughts were opened to a greater comprehension of how God has arranged life—the perpetual waves of birth, growth, and death. Why He made it so that we are so associated with the beginnings—the babies, the retracing of the same paths of learning. How He has designed it to talk to our hearts, and it does. Here too, day unto day uttereth speech, and night, knowledge. What more solemn reminder could there be of eternal things than to be so intimately involved with the beginnings of another human life? How good God is to us! How much He loves us and wants us to be saved! For God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
That is exactly what happened in Sister Kathy’s case. It has been true of many others as well. Such is the goodness of God.
A little later in the conversation, Isaac told me the same. “I was so selfish,” he confessed, “but when the children came….”
Did they get saved then? No, but it stirred their hearts to serious thinking. There is much down here that is calculated to remove thoughts of God and eternity from the mind, but God, in mercy, has also placed things that are designed to remind and to entreat. They plead with the eternity-bound soul, “Be ye reconciled to God.”
It seemed a little strange to accept that the man who told me these things was the same man who confessed to locking his wife and children out of the house when they came back from church services once. He didn’t appear to be that kind of man, and he wasn’t—any longer. He had been, but he was different now.
His rebellion against everything in his teens was expressed through rock music. He reveled in shocking others, in acts of defiance. “At first,” he said, “I didn’t pay any attention to the lyrics. It was just the music.” But eventually that changed. And, when he began to notice what was said, the shocker began to be shocked. “I had never really thought about it,” he stated. “At one concert, I realized that the lead singer was really Satan’s preacher, and the words were what he was preaching to us.” This scared him—as well it might. The songs meant what they said, and what they said was horrible.
He repented as best he knew, and forsook drugs and rock music. His wife had gotten saved before him, and the change in her was just as profound. They became involved with a very strict group of professed Christians. These folks taught a deeper life, and Isaac and Kathy were drawn to that. The concept of a deeper life proved out to be an oppressive yoke and bondage in that place. They were not happy. He gave up and gave place to bitterness. She prayed that they would move to another congregation, and the Lord heard her prayer.
So he left his job where he had been a union man for about eighteen and one-half years, sold his home, and moved with his wife and family across the continent to an area where they had no relations or family connections. Her brother and his family moved to the same area at the same time. And there Isaac could not find a job.
“I had a certain way of thinking about what I did for a living,” he related to me. “It was a labor union way of thinking.” He paused. “I wanted to start at the top,” he continued, “and eventually, I had to start at the bottom.” His wife and children went to services in the new locality, but he did not. “I was full of bitterness,” he stated. It was at this time that he locked his family out. They went over to her brother’s, and they stayed there for about the next three months.
“I had taken them for granted,” he said. “It seemed that God was saying to me, ‘I’ll give you back your family if you will live for me.’ I didn’t want any part of that!” Isaac said he refused to be blackmailed by God. “I didn’t want to follow anyone.”
“Master of your fate?” I questioned. “Captain of your soul?”
He nodded. He had fought for three months. “I won’t follow.” No family, no job. Listening to rock music again. Pride. Unwillingness to bow. “My choice,” he said, “God and my family, God and work, or no God and no family, no work.” He gave a bittersweet grimace. “I called God a blackmailer,” he said; “said I wouldn’t yield. My choice.”
“Like Balaam between the stone walls and the donkey that wouldn’t go,” I said. He nodded.
It was obvious what had happened. He gave up. God won. How good for him that God had won!
“When I gave up,” he continued, “I asked the Lord to forgive me….” He stopped a minute. “And He did,” he went on, “but I felt I needed to pray with a minister before I was really saved.” He stopped again. “I think it was a holdover in my thinking from the folks I had been with,” he said. “I thought I had to have the approval of others.”
“Salvation is a transaction between the soul and God,” I said. He nodded. I thought of a quote from the book Salvation, Present, Perfect, Now or Never: “Every man on earth can come directly to the Author of salvation through Jesus Christ, and be saved, independent of all men or angels.”
“Anyway, I went the next day to services at the chapel and stayed to pray with the minister afterwards. I told him I wanted to get saved, and he said, ‘Okay, let’s pray.’ I asked the Lord to forgive me again, and—” Here he paused; a look of wonder came over his face. “The Lord spoke to me and said, ‘I forgave you yesterday. Why are you asking me again?’ ” He was already saved.