testimony 01

My testimony 2022

Summer of my 7th year, 1958, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart and be my savior. This was a familiar Sunday school lesson, and I knew what to say.  Our church building was under construction on a second floor. The pastor met with me between the unfinished 2 X 4 walls.  The fresh-cut wood and drywall dust scent are still with me today.  At that time and age, I was ready to make a lifetime commitment to love the Lord Jesus and to seek out HIS will for me in life.  But my personal experience with our precious heavenly father came a few months earlier in the spring.

My childhood was blessed by the Christian values of my family and the community I lived in. I learned from these Christians that you must take every word of the Bible as the true and complete word of God in faith or not. It is our individual choice to believe fully or not at all.  There is no place in the middle.

With my family, I attended a local church regularly. But something was missing from the experience of fellowship. I was a believer because I was told to believe.  Yet I did not share the joy of having faith in the church teachings.  Was the Bible a book of truth, or had something been lost in the translation?

My grandfather was a pastor and musician at his church.   I can still hear him playing his trumpet. The church was out in the country, surrounded by the local cemetery. The building was cold with that closed-to-long smell. And the piano was out of tune.  I asked him once why he stayed at a small church instead of one of the fancy ones. His answer was right to the point. The smaller church needed so much that there was plenty for him to do.

Then we talked about my faith.  I asked him how could I love someone that I had never met?  I did not want to believe in the Lord just because my Sunday school lesson said to.  How can I know the Lord is real?  His answer is still blessing my life today.  He put me on his knee and held me close. Then he said, “You need to just ask the Lord to make Himself known to you when you pray.”  Grandpa encouraged me to have a personal conversation with HIM.  “Speak to the Lord the same way we talk with love towards each other,” Grandpa told me to simply ask the Lord for a sign that HE existed. I was not aware that my aunt was listening to this little chat.

Then a short time later, my aunt and I were in her car riding home from a family get-together. It was after dark during a bad rainstorm.  The rain was so heavy it was hard to see the road and drive the car. But it was the thunder and lightning that scared me the most.  It was that quick flash of light so bright it lit up the night.  A loud crack like a gun always followed.  My aunt tried to settle me down.  She did this by suggesting that I try to pray for what grandpa had shared with me. I knew then she had heard him tell me to ask for a sign that the Lord was there.

I was blessed to grow up surrounded by men and women that knew how to pray. So breaking into a serious prayer during a rainstorm was no problem for me.  I closed my eyes and began to pray. Soon after that, time stood still.  My body was overcome with a breathtaking good feeling.  This was also experienced by my aunt sitting next to me.  She was so affected that she had to pull off the road and stop the car.  We just sat there hugging each other between the flashing light and the roar of the thunder.  She was the first to speak. “Honey, you got what you asked for now. Let’s go tell grandpa.”

I was very much aware that I had experienced something spiritual and physical.  Oddly enough, I was also aware this new feeling would not last, and it was slowly fading.  This blessing lasted for three days, then it was gone, but the memory never fades.  Members of the church came to my grandpa’s home to see and talk to me.  Some of them said that the Lord had touched me because my face had a healthy glow.

All at once, I could recognize sin, and it was offensive and appalling to me.  Yet this also would fade and leave me back in the old way of thinking. But now, I could firmly stand on the faith that the Lord Jesus had made himself known to me.  Many times later, my path crossed with someone that did not have any faith to stand on.  I wished they had experienced something like what happened to me as a young Christian.  I thank the Lord nonstop for answering the prayer of a young man.

This experience is as fresh and real today as when it happened back in the 50s.  Several times during my life, when I found myself in an uncomfortable position, I  was able to call upon his name to help me. The first big fear of my youth was going to Vietnam to be in the war.  During my high school years, dreams of being captured by the enemy kept me from getting a good night’s sleep.  Back then, if your grades were not good enough, they would draft you right out of high school.  One day you were in school, and before you knew it, the military was your new home. When I was requested to register at the draft board, they told me they needed young men small like me for a particular service.  They would give me a flashlight and a 45 then they would make me a tunnel rat.   My job would be to seek out and destroy the enemy that lived underground in the tunnels. I knew that the Lord was always there for me. It was easy to put my trust in HIM because of my personal experience as a child.  To this day, how a 4F military deferment came to me in the mail is a mystery. But I knew that my personal relationship with our Lord had saved me from what I feared.

I have witnessed other people struggling with the trials in their lives.  For some, it was easy to see that they did not have the Lord in their heart.  They could not fall back on the truth that the Lord was there for them also.  Sometimes I tried to share my personal experience with them.  But it seemed too hard for them to believe, so my testimony sometimes was ignored.  I felt almost ashamed that the Lord had made himself known to me, and I had that to stand on, and they did not.

My favorite prayer these days is to thank the Lord for my heritage that came during my youth from the Christian men and women that raised me. The Lord was a real part of their daily lives. They taught me how to pray and worship HIM.  I am sure that I did not live up to their expectation, and I appreciate their patients with me.  The best I can do is to follow in their footsteps and seek HIS will for me, and witness to others.

Ronnie Lee