Many Struggles, Only One Solution
Richard's dramatic true story as he faces life's obstacles and discovers the One solution for everything that life throws at you.
My name is Richard, and this is my story. I can remember living in Oklahoma as a small boy. We lived with my grandparents for periods of time. Grandma always went to church and mom and us kids would go with her. Sometimes grandpa would go with us, but my dad never would go to church. Church was never important to him.
When I was about 12 years old a friend and I were going camping. As we were walking and hitch-hiking an elderly lady stopped and offered us a ride. After awhile she told us this was as far as she was going. As we reached the door handles, she said “Can I pray for you boys?” My answer was a reluctant “yes” but my friend who was in the back seat bailed out of the car quickly. I didn’t realize till some time later how much that prayer influenced my eventually coming to Jesus Christ. (The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (Woman) avails much.) James 5:16b
When I was about 14 years of age or so, a young man came by and invited my sister and I to come be part of a youth group at the local Baptist Church. We went but soon stopped going because mom and dad were not attending. We lived in Florida at the time. Grandma and grandpa still lived in Oklahoma. There was little encouragement at home. Mom would occasionally take us to church.
When I was 16 years old, a friend and I went from Florida to Georgia to go fishing and hunting. We were on our way back home late at night. I was driving and my friend was in the back seat asleep. We were going around the big Lake Okeechobee about 75 miles from home. I began to notice the lights on the car starting to go dim. It was a very bright moon-lit night and I called for my friend to wake up. I told him what was happening. I had already tried turning the lights off for a few minutes and turning them back on. When I turned them back on they were bright again. We traveled on like that with the lights off and back on again. I remembered the last time I turned them back on revealed a stop sign, with the highway ending and only a right or left turn. At the speed we were traveling and a sharp drop off on the other side, the car overturned and suddenly everything was eerily quiet. We realized we had escaped what could have been a very terrible accident with only a few scrapes and bruises.
I dropped out of High School at age 17. Two friends and I were bored and had decided to join the Army. We were underage but could join if our parents signed for us. The recruiter asked us what we wanted to do in the service and where we wanted to spend those 3 years. After 8 weeks of Basic Training at Fort Benning Georgia then 8 more weeks at Fort Sill Oklahoma for advanced training we went our separate ways. I went to Fort Bragg Fayetteville, NC. I had been assigned to the 92nd Artillery which was a unit of 155mm Howitzer division. While we were on maneuvers one day our unit commander came by my squad and gun crew. He wanted to know if one of us wanted to be trained for and become a cook. It sounded interesting to me, and I accepted.
Within the next hour I started to fill the position as cook for 300 men. I spent the rest of my enlistment cooking. No more K.P. and no more guard duty. I was discharged from the Army in 1964 barely 20 years old. I soon realized things were not the same. I was older and home was not quite the way I remembered it.
I met a girl, and we were married for 14 years. We had three precious little girls. Because of reckless and wasteful living our marriage was soon in trouble. The oldest girl was 12, the next was 8, and the youngest was 5 at this time. I was in a tailspin and trying to figure out how to hold on and to make it work. I was learning or, realizing a very hard lesson about marriage and family. I remember realizing the only hope at all was for God to know about it. I thought, “Who knows God?” I soon remembered a family member and I got a telephone number and called. I said “The marriage is in trouble. Please will you pray for us.?” We separated soon after that and after a while we were divorced.
Meanwhile I was stirred in my heart and God caused me to realize what had been missing. I remember that Sunday morning that I had waited all week for, finally came. There in that worship service I went to the front and took the preacher by the hand. With tears streaming down my face I asked in prayer “God forgive me of my sins and the mess I have made of my life, Lord Jesus come into my heart and be Lord of my life.” That day I was born-again into the family of God. I felt a heavy weight being lifted from my heart and soul. (That if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.) Romans 10:9-10
John 3:16 says (For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.)
God immediately began to do amazing things in my life. Even though the marriage did not survive and ended in divorce, He began to put broken pieces of my life back together. He gave me such a hungering to read His word, to talk to Him in prayer. He would take the broken pieces and He would make me into what he had saved me to become. About a year and a half later with my little girls we moved many miles away, near some family members and started attending a small church nearby. After about 5 months, there was a young woman and her son who moved to the little town and began coming to church. We began to spend more and more time together and realized that I had lived next door to a relative of hers before coming to this little town. As time went by, we began to understand that God had brought us together across many miles that he might give us to each other. We were hoping to enlarge our family but after 2 miscarriages we trusted that God always knows best.
Now at retirement age my wife and I feel God has given to us a ministry. As we travel, we share the Lord Jesus with individuals He leads us to. We ask the question
(“In your personal opinion what do you understand it would take to get to Heaven?”)
We then say, can we tell you what the Bible says?
In Him, meaning Jesus Christ, we have forgiveness of sin through His blood.
In Genesis God created a perfect place with perfect people to live, but Adam and Eve disobeyed His one commandment not to eat or touch THE tree in the middle of the garden and so God cursed the whole earth.
(For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23)
(For the wage of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23)
Jesus left heaven to walk on Earth and then to die on a cross for the sins of all. He then rose from the dead and the grave and returned to heaven for us!
Realizing then that you and I are sinners don’t you think it would be good to confess your sins and ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior? (John 1:12 But as many as received Him to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.)