A LIFE IN TURMOIL
By January 1957, I decided to submit totally my life to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only possible means of maintaining my sanity and, probably, my marriage. Again, in my bedroom I yielded my life to Him without reservation. Of course, no one (including my wife) knew this so I had no guidance as to how to proceed.
I decided to start studying the Bible so I got up early each morning and read in Genesis. There are better places to study for spiritual growth, but this was better than nothing. I became active in a liberal church and tried to serve the Lord. My mental and emotional adjustment improved to some extent but my wife saw my church involvement as another copout so it was less than satisfying. About two years later, after we had bought a small home, I learned that our company was interviewing for positions in Denver. I decided privately that an offer of $50 per month increase would be an indication that we should move to Denver. The offer was exactly $50, so I went home and announced we were moving! Within three weeks our house was sold (without a realtor), and we were on our way.
The Lord led us to a Bible-believing church where we are still members. I began to memorize Scripture using the Navigator system and did much compulsive work in the church. I still could not stand myself enough to be quiet at home. I taught Sunday school, went calling, became a deacon and did many other things, which caused me to neglect my family.
On March 27, 1964 (my youngest daughter's birthday), I attended a college-age retreat at the Navigators international headquarters in Colorado Springs. During a lecture by Mr. Lorne Sanny, the Holy Spirit seemed to impress some Scripture passages upon me from Isaiah 60. These were:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee;
Whereas thou was forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.
During a time apart from the group, I was studying the Word and came across Psalm 37:3-5:
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass.
As I read this passage I broke into tears; the Holy Spirit witnessed that this was a direct promise to me – the first such promise in my life – at age thirty-four. I hadn't the slightest notion as to what the promise was to entail but I knew that God had promised to bring it to pass, whatever it was. But then I began to wonder – "Who do you think you are that God could use you? If He were going to do so He would have started before now. Your life is half over; it's too late to get into something different." These and a myriad of other thoughts vied for my attention. I alternated between believing that God had spoken and being totally incredulous that such a thing could be.
Needless to say, I didn't share this with Sue since I thought she would feel, as I did most of the time, that this was just another of my many tangents. She could not accept the fact of my feelings of inferiority and insecurity even though we had now been married about fourteen years. Therefore, the more I hurt, the more she hurt but we bore our hurt in silence. There were attempts on both parts to reach across the chasm without success. We shared the same home and the children, some good and bad times; but in the innermost recesses of our heart, we walked alone.
Though at times I was relatively certain I had a promise from the Lord, depression and anxiety remained a way of life. My ulcer had been healed by the Lord in 1960 but other psychosomatic ailments continued to persist. As there was no tangible reason to believe that the Lord was to intervene in the affairs of my life, the financial responsibilities of my family loomed larger and larger. I began to worry about being laid off from my position and thought it would be better if we sold our home. This appeared logical to me at the time. We had one or two persons look at the house but we had no offers so the sign came down after a period of time.