On February 29, 1956, my almost-30-year-old father was at a crossroads in his life. He was without a doubt on a destructive, downward-spiraling path. It was on that day that he picked up a Bible that was on the arm of the sofa (where my mother had left it the previous night). The Bible fell open to this passage:
He read the verse. In his words, he realized this was what he had been seeking. Peace. Not a peace that could be found in the world. God’s peace. Even better, the promise was accompanied by a comforting word about a result of God’s peace—an untroubled and unafraid heart.
That day, he gave control of his life to Christ and committed to follow His leading for the future.
I have always marked that day as a turning point, not only in Daddy’s life, but in the lives of his immediate family at the time (my mother, myself and my three younger siblings). But as time has passed, I have added that it was also a turning point for future generations.
So many things could be traced back to that decision that day. Among them, as a direct result of his decision to claim the promise in John 14:27:
He accepted God’s call to preach. He took our family to Ouachita Baptist College (Arkadelphia, Arkansas) and earned a degree in New Testament Greek.
He was subsequently called to pastor Pleasant Hill Baptist Church (near Jefferson City, Missouri), where I met my future husband (and my sister met hers, my husband’s brother).
Everything in my life from that point was a result of his following God’s call to pastor that church.
My husband and I have been married 50 years. We have two children.
Our son is a pastor. He met his wonderful wife at Southwest Baptist University where he was preparing for ministry. They have two adult children now.
Their son is called to pastor and is a college/seminary student. He has recently married a very special young woman whom he met when his dad (our son) was called to pastor a church in the Pacific Northwest (sound familiar?).
Our son’s daughter has long felt God’s missional call on her life. She is this week graduating from a Christian university and already accepted into the Journeyman Program with the International Mission Board, leaving this summer to spend two years as a short-term missionary in Mexico.
Our daughter’s life is a blessing and actually a ministry to many. She is well on her way to finishing a master’s degree in counseling at seminary and feels called to Christian counseling. Her beautiful daughter and awesome son know that God also has special plans for their futures.
And my siblings could write similar stories, broadening the evidence of my thesis. Though their stories are not mine to tell, I will mention my sister who married my husband’s brother, how he became a pastor, and how they served as international missionaries for many years and even today are pastoring a church. I will mention my brother who is today serving as the Worship Arts Pastor in a church, continuing his years of influencing many for God’s kingdom.
Yes, I could boast on and on about my family, my children and grandchildren. But in this case, my purpose is to boast about God, and to show that one person’s reading of this verse, and making an about-face, life-changing decision to accept its promise, has not only eternal consequences but also unending and ever-reaching results.
And, honestly, the story continues…
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