A short story about my personal salvation experience.
I was blessed to grow up in a wonderful Christian home with parents that took me to church regularly and taught me to pray at a very young age. Actually, I cannot remember a time when I didn’t pray and well recall my mother coaching me in prayer as a very small child.
By the time I was eight years old my family and I attended Mt. Lebanon Baptist church near Augusta, Georgia. It was on one bright Sunday morning during Sunday School that I discovered I had left a necessary booklet inside our family car. I walked from the classroom to the parking lot and uneventfully retrieved the item; however, while walking back I noticed an elderly gentleman standing near the steps that lead to the church sanctuary, motioning for me to come closer.
I obediently complied and observed that he was quite tall and handsomely dressed in a dark colored suit, though I specifically recall he had quite a weathered and aged appearance. Almost immediately he asked if I had “ever allowed Jesus to come into” my heart, to which I responded, “no sir.”
He lead me to be seated in the empty sanctuary and began to explain, in language an eight-year old could understand, what it meant to allow “Jesus to come into” my heart. “Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks,” he said, “and if we will only invite Him to come into our heart, He will save us from our sins and we will live forever with Him, in Heaven.”
When the elderly gentlemen finished his brief discourse, he explained that Jesus was also knocking at the door of my heart and asked if I would “like to ask Jesus to come into” my heart, to which I responded, “yes sir.” With that, the gentleman asked me to repeat after him and we prayed the sinner’s prayer. Then, as though he had prepared for this very moment, he pulled from his inner coat pocket a little, red New Testament and, with pen in hand, wrote the following on the inside of the back cover before giving it to me:
“On Sunday, Sept. 8, 1968, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and He did! Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving my soul, for forgiving my sins and for making me a Christian. I love you, Lord Jesus and I truly want to please you by everything I say and do the rest of my life.”
After church I related what had happened to my mother, who was overjoyed that I had been “saved.” She even telephoned my maternal grandparents (long-distance was a big deal in those days) to share the good news that her eldest child had become a Christian. Indeed, the day was one of much jubilation.
Later, my mother, my siblings and I returned for the evening service and I agreed to show her the gentleman that had conducted this marvelous symphony of salvation with her son, but I didn’t see him.
The following Sunday, my dad (he often worked out of town and had not been present the weekend previous) insisted that I point out the man that had led me to Christ, but the man, once again, was not there.
Each Sunday I searched the pews for the elderly gentleman but as I explained to my parents I had never seen the man before…and I never saw him again. Whoever he was, whatever he was, the Lord’s Hand was most assuredly upon him that day as he led one of God’s lambs across the valley of the shadow of death, and into the fold of the redeemed in another victory for the great symphony of God’s elect.