I was born in Picton Ontario, the third son in a family of four boys. Two of my brothers were close to ten years older than I and my youngest brother almost 4 years younger.
Our family moved to the country side, on a road named Yerexvile, with much too much grass to cut. Look at all that grass! Hours and hours of cutting grass.
Things went south way bad one day for a 7 yr old, when Joe and Wes came to get me out of class. Joe and Wes were my father’s best friends, and it made no sense to see these two men during the day. The trip home was less than a half mile, but it seemed to take forever.
The next thing I know, I’m in my parents bedroom, with my brothers standing around my weeping mother. Dad had passed.
Soon, my mom brought a boarder into the house to help pay bills. She had been influenced by a cult, and felt it was important to teach a 7 year old boy of the Great White Throne judgement in the Book of Revelation.
One night prior to bed, she showed from the Scriptures the coming judgement and eternal agony of sinners.
I went to bed shaken, and the message dug deeper into my thinking. Sleep came to me, full of nightmares, and I buried myself in distractions. First, it was studying and getting approval from my teachers. Eventually. I sought approval from my friends. When smoking, alcohol and drugs were offered, I ran after them. I needed to be distracted.
By the time I was 20, I had no direction, no friends and no focus. I was floating through a college course that I neither wanted or found interesting – unless I was wasted. My work sharing course took me to Orillia for 8 months.
While in Orillia, I traveled via bus to visit my brother in Hamilton. During this ride I met a young lady, eating chocolate covered raisins and drinking V-8. But she sure enough was pretty. Immediately, she spoke of God and Jesus, and how she had been rescued from certain death in a car wreck. She showed me pictures of her in the hospital – definitely not the standard flirting I was accustomed to! I spent the next couple hours chatting with that girl on a bus, and in the Toronto bus terminal. When her uncle came to pick her up, I realized I needed to see her again. (I just didn’t realize her faith was what made her so appealing, and this same faith was what I needed to understand but wanted to avoid!)
After we parted, I ended up arriving in Hamilton, and by the end of the night, I wrote this girl a letter. I wonder if she still has that letter. I will have to ask her when we have breakfast this morning. You see, we married eight months later and have been together for close to forty years now. She is the mother to five wonderful kids and been an awesome mate. But I am getting ahead of myself for this story.
Out first date was difficult since every other girl would go to the bar with me to assist in the distracted living I needed. Not this girl. I was lost as to what we could do. Eventually, we ended up at a bowling alley – not a great place for a guy in a cast. (I had broke my ankle earlier on a bad acid trip).
We couldn’t stay apart. I found my self driving to her hometown – about 30 mins north of Orillia, to visit each night. One night, very early in our relationship, we were invited to a get together at her brother’s house. A party game was pulled out, and some benign questions were being asked of the folks, such as “If you had to be in a parade, where would you want to be?” I guess it was meant to get conversation started. Everyone was enjoying the light discussions and I found it to be very comfortable. Until the host switched question cards. Granted I did not see him do this, or even if he did, but my next question was – “If you were to die tonight, where would you end up?”
I not sure if all the blood drained from my face after hearing this question, but my reaction must have given the host notice. The party recovered and later that night, the host invited me to his home on Wednesday of that week to discuss that topic.
Remember that with the previous teaching, the boarder also had informed me of the imminent coming of God in judgement. Wednesday was three days away, and I knew inside that he may have some secret I needed to escape judgement. Those three days were horrible. Eventually I arrived at his house on Wednesday, but he was busy at the church, so I waited. It seemed for hours. What was taking so long. What if judgement fell before he got back from church. I was a nervous wreck.
February 21st 1981, at 7:30 pm, I finally understood that the One who had every right to judge me and condemn me to the lake of fire, had taken my punishment on the cross, supplying forgiveness and life to this poor man.
The weight literally fell off my shoulders when in prayer, I asked for forgiveness. He is the Savoir of the world and I had begun to understand His grace.
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Romans speaks of the mercy of God leading to repentance. Certainly a mystery to me in my teen years, but looking back, His hand protected this fool many, many times. Many times in my rebellion, God supplied forbearance, patience and mercy to a young man that hated His provision.
May His name be praised.
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