- Parent Category: History
- Category: Personal Stories
- Published on Saturday, 01 July 2006 12:17
It was the happy privilege of the Apostle Paul to relate his conversion before kings and multitudes alike, Acts chapters 22 and 26. His God-given desire was to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive the forgiveness of sins. Centuries have gone by, but human nature has not changed! These lines are written in the hope that the reader too might come to know the saving power and glorious liberty that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was born in a small mountain resort in Lower Silesia, Germany. My childhood days were happy and carefree – too happy to think about God and eternity. All I retained of religious instruction received at that time, were the first three commandments. What the friendly Sunday School Teacher at the tiny church on yonder hill failed to tell us, was soon to be stamped forever, on our young minds, viz. the total depravity of the human race of which I was a member by birth and practice.
It started on a lovely spring day in the year 1945. The mountain and valleys, which up to this time were the happy playground of golden summers, suddenly echoed back the frightful sound of heavy artillery day and night. Soon we had to flee. I remember sights then which led us to questions no one seemed to be able to answer – a lonely mother weeping beside a freshly dug grave – numbers of unhappy doomed souls behind the barbed wires of a concentration camp – a man beaten to death a few feet from me – then the cries, those horrible cries during the night, from helpless victims of hate, revenge and greed. Enemies sometimes turned to be friends and friends turned to be enemies.
In view of all this suffering, was there a God? Where was justice? I did not know then that I would have to wait thirteen years for The Answer.
Time will heal wounds, however scars will remain. Why should the human mind stop searching for the real reason for two world wars involving highly civilized nations and claiming sixty million fatal casualties when prosperity starts to cover the land again like a deceiving fog on a blood-soaked battlefield? Of this fatal error Moses wrote, warning Israel, in Deuteronomy chapter 28, “Woe to that man. Woe to that nation.”
I remember that God started to deal with me again about the time I left school. A burning desire to know the purpose of life, left my spirit restless and seeking. Where was real happiness and peace to be found? Man is by nature, a religious being. So I turned, first of all, to religion, but there was nothing to satisfy my soul’s need. Was genuine contentment to be found amongst the wise of this world? Soon I searched some works on philosophy. It too failed to fill an empty soul. Was the concert hall with its applause the answer? Here was some satisfaction but it was not lasting. Was there true contentment in pleasure? The testimony of many an aimless, wrecked, young life seemed to say, “NO.” Where then was the rock, unmoved by the ages on which to rest? Foreign lands beckoned and fields in the distance looked green. Soon I had set foot on the shores of the New World. Lands may change and a river may change its flow of its own accord, but the human heart does not! I found myself restless as ever.
Walking thoughtfully through a park, in the city of Toronto, on a warm summer’s night in 1958, I came upon a small group of people preaching from the Bible. It seemed strange to me indeed, but I thought it worthwhile to sit down and listen. In about half an hour the message of the crucified, buried and risen Saviour that came to seek and to save that which was lost, did, what the doctrines of nazism and communism could not do in years. It captivated my soul. Soon I found myself attending special Gospel meetings and heard more of God’s way of salvation. A sinner away from God will judge the world by his own standards and will get nowhere. A sinner hearing the Gospel is judged by God’s standard and will see himself condemned as a member of a fallen humanity whose very thinking has been affected by the fall. Pride kept me, for some time, from admitting that before God I was the sinner and the offender. I heard of a suffering world because of sin, a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun.
Beginning to see the world as God sees it, I realized that I had to be saved. Acts 4:12. I remember so well that the preaching on the sufferings of Christ spoke to me as never before. What was His real mission and why was He here on earth? This I asked myself, again and again. Was He here to make the world better? I knew, through history, that there was no indication of this. Or did He appear to die for sinners? I knew this all my life yet was not saved! But why then was I still in darkness when others told me they were saved and on their way to Heaven?
It was on a Lord’s Day night, after the preaching of the Gospel that I stayed to talk to someone willing to help me. It was then that I rested for the first time on the scriptures alone, through the reading of St. John’s Gospel, chapter 6 and verse 37 – “Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out”. These were the very words the Saviour uttered and what a promise this was! I had been trying to save myself, and it did not work. How absurd and foolish! All I was asked to do was to come to Him with all my sins and He had promised to save me. So I just came or rather, I waited. I did not have to wait long. Through reading the Saviour’s own words as recorded in John 5:24, I saw for the first time that He died for me and that God had laid on Him, upon the cruel cross at Calvary, all my sins. Believing this I knew I would never see Hell nor condemnation.
A few years have passed and have proved the reality of so great a redemption, with the assurance of eternal salvation secured by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has never left a seeking soul in darkness.