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He Found Me!

Not long after I joined the Air Force, I found myself in conversation with others about how they were raised to believe: Catholic, Mormon, Pentecostal, etc. They all were sure their parents would not lie to them about religion. With this thought in mind, I asked my dad how he knew that what he believed was the truth and the only way to believe. He held up his well-worn Scofield King James Version Reference Bible and said: “The answer is in here. I can’t make you believe it all, but the answers you are looking for are in here.” –And so, my search for “Truth” began.

A Youthful Choice

I had been raised in a godly, Christian home. My parents served the Lord faithfully through the church. Dad was a deacon and Mom played the piano—and they sang together beautifully. Both taught Sunday school. So, growing up, I spent a lot of time attending church and going to Bible and missionary conferences. From my parents’ example, I learned to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” of a Christian, but I, myself, was lost. What I had was only head knowledge of the gospel.

No surprises, then, when as a teenager, I rebelled and fell in with the wrong crowd. Causing my parents great grief, I ran away from home, only later to return to find that I had one of two choices—go to reform school or join the military. Tired of taking orders and desiring to be on my own, I chose the military—and my life of adventure began.

Much later I found out that my father had claimed God’s promise: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). Dad probably felt he had failed me because of my rebellion, yet he trusted that God would make up for his shortcomings and bring me to a knowledge of Him in due time. He had done his very best to raise me in a godly home. Although my father did not live long enough to see God answer that faithful prayer, I am certain that he is aware of it now.

To the Air Force and Back

In my search for the truth, I gathered material on various religious beliefs, including the Bible, hoping to find the one that had its basis in truth. None gave me help beyond what I had already explored. But I kept reading and searching. In the meantime, I, a medical corpsman (enlisted) met and married my wife, Patricia, an Air Force nurse (officer). Of course, this was not supposed to happen, according to Air Force fraternization regulations. But the nurses found the enlisted fellows to be more gentlemanly than their officer counterparts, and many nurses stationed with us ended up marrying my enlisted comrades.

Our first son, Paul Douglas, came to us seven years later. Shortly after that, we left the military so I could attend optometry school in Oregon, from which I graduated in 1975. While in Oregon, our second son, John Gordon, joined the family. It was during the last year of optometry college that our funds ran out, and I faced the need to seek financial aid. I applied for and received a scholarship which paid for my last year of college—but with the stipulation that I pay back the government with two years of active duty as an Air Force optometrist. Since I had nine years of enlisted time in the Air Force, it seemed like going back home.

God’s Overseas Assignment

Two years later, we found ourselves stationed at Zweibruecken Air Force Base in Germany. At this point, my search for truth had come to an abrupt stop—because it was proving to be fruitless. Every cult and “ism” I studied was fraught with error. I realized that this intellectual effort was getting me nowhere! In total frustration—and with tears streaming down my face—I uttered this prayer: “God, I cannot find you! If you exist, you will have to reveal yourself to me, and then you will have to show me where truth is, because I cannot find it!”

My search for truth was now in His hands—if indeed He existed at all—and I ceased my searching. Of course, now I realize that God had been waiting for me to let Him take over, once I realized that my human efforts had failed me. And things began to happen once I put all my study material to the side and left it up to God.

We lived in base housing (a sixapartment stairwell), and in every apartment the families living there were either atheists or agnostics. Then, suddenly, all these families moved out, and we were the only family left! Slowly, God began moving new families in, and in each apartment, at least one member was a born-again believer.

Oblivious to what God was doing, I signed Pat and me up for a Bible study at the base chapel. When I came home and told her what I had done, she began to cry. All teared up, she said, “This is what I have been praying for!”

What was so interesting was that at least one member from each apartment in our stairwell had also signed up for the study! We went to class together once a week, and the material we studied led to many conversations in the stairwell as we discussed God and His Word. It was a wonderful and fulfilling time. This was God’s way to begin to soften up my heart.

Our sons, Paul and John, rode a bus to Sunday school at Zweibruecken Baptist Church where they also attended Daily Vacation Bible School. During the Friday night service where the parents were invited to see what their children had been learning and doing all week, God gripped my heart even tighter—to the point of breaking, but not quite! Seeing my two sons up front, professing that they had received Christ as their Savior, something was happening to me! I was not sure what it was, but my heart was softened even more.

At this point, we began to attend Zweibrucken Baptist Church as a family. I enjoyed the fellowship, but at the same time discomfort gripped my heart. It finally came to a focus when at home one Sunday afternoon (April 4, 1980) for the first time in my life, I knelt down on my knees and dealt with the Lord regarding my eternal destiny. It was then that I opened my heart and received Christ as my Savior, and I was baptized a few weeks later.

What a release of pressure! I no longer felt the need to search for truth, because I had found IT! No, I found HIM—or rather, He found me! When I sought the Lord with my heart—and my mind—He revealed Himself to me and answered my prayer. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, KJV). Why? Because “... without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Now I know that He is mine and I am His!

The Way of Truth

Truth was an important theme in the Apostle Paul’s letters to young pastor Timothy. He first speaks of “the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, KJV) as required for salvation; then of his own teaching as “the truth in Christ” (1 Timothy 2:7, KJV); then of the “the church of the living God” as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15, KJV); and of Christians as those who “believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3, KJV).

Paul stresses the importance of studying the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV) and that true repentance requires “the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25, KJV). Jesus Himself, in His high priestly prayer for His followers, prayed “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17, KJV).

Just as my father said, I found the truth in my King James Bible! Jesus said, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). I came to Jesus; He saved me and now guides me. He is the source of my blessings, and I am confident that He is sufficient for my needs. Looking back at how God worked in my life while I sought for truth, I have complete joy knowing that He is in control of my life.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13, KJV).

I know that I am His and He is mine!

Dr. Gordon Woods served in the United States Air Force as a medic for nine years and as a doctor of optometry for 15 years. He taught science at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida, for 15 years and has been with Baptist Missions to Forgotten Peoples (BMFP) since 2005. Dr. Woods taught at Ark Baptist College in Saint Augustine, Florida, for several years and now serves with Berean International Bible Institute.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20200403
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Oct-Dec 2020. CCMUSA.