"I Found a New Life!"
For forty-eight years I lived without any understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. When I was a child, my mother told me that God knew everything I was doing, so I thought I just needed to be careful and do the best I could.
I can look back now and see how God watched out for me even before I knew Him. During World War II, my PT boat was attacked and sunk. When planes started strafing the water after our boat blew up, something caused me to pray, “Lord, if only it would rain maybe they wouldn’t see me.” And it rained! Afterward, however, I assumed I had just lucked out, not realizing then the power of prayer.
A doctor had just told me that a sore on my lower lip was cancerous. I was bound by cigarettes and already had tried to quit many times.
A few years later I prayed again. A doctor had just told me that a sore on my lower lip was cancerous. I was bound by cigarettes and already had tried to quit many times. One time I stopped for an entire month. Then my wife threw a pack of cigarettes down on the table, saying, “I can’t stand you this way! You are so mean and irritable!” So I went back to smoking. But this day, after leaving the doctor’s office, I sat in the car alone. I bowed my head and said, “Lord, I’ve tried to quit so many times. If You will just help me, I will never have another smoke as long as I live.” Immediately, the desire was gone! It was just as if I had never smoked. However, I still didn’t know God.
God was working
One Sunday I was invited to a morning service at the Apostolic Faith Church in Medford, Oregon. My wife and I went. It was just before taxes were due and I hadn’t yet made out my return, so I had told my wife not to plan anything for the afternoon or evening. As we started to leave the church after the service, someone said missionaries from Korea would be there that night to show pictures. They asked if we would come. I meant to say no, but the words that came out were, “We’ll be here.” That was a surprise to me! God had started working in my life, though I didn’t recognize it.
The next day I had a dental appointment, and the Lord used that time to speak to my soul. I had been in many dentists’ chairs before, and there had been nothing to cause me to be afraid. I had no pain, but suddenly a fear came over me. It was a quiet stillness, and I felt like I was going to take my last breath. That caused me to pray again. I said, “Lord, if You will help the dentist get this tooth out, I will go to church every Sunday if that is what You want.” At that moment the fear left.
“Lord, forgive me!”
For the first time in my life, I heard people tell of victory over sin.
The next night I went to church again. I knew the Lord was there. For the first time in my life, I heard people tell of victory over sin. When the invitation was given to come forward and pray, the love of God drew me. I knelt down and said, “Lord, forgive me if I am a sinner.” Suddenly there was no doubt; God showed me that I was a sinner, all right! He showed me forty-eight years of sinning—what a sight! I cried out, “O Lord, forgive me! It will never happen again!” At that moment the greatest surprise came to me that ever came to anybody. God gave me peace that passes all understanding. He put joy in my soul, and right then gave me the strength and power to walk uprightly before Him. I knew that my sins were forgiven and that I had been born again.
When I got home that night, my wife already had gone to bed. I turned on the hall light and stood in the doorway. My wife told me later that she could see my face glow from where she was. I said, “Darling, the Lord saved me tonight.” She said, “God bless you, Honey,” just like she knew what it meant. The next Friday night the Lord saved her too.
A deeper love
A few days after my wife was saved, we were standing in the kitchen. After twenty-five years of living together in a sinful life, she turned from the sink and said, “Ollie, forgive me for anything I have ever done to hurt you.” There was nothing I could think of to forgive her for, because the Lord had delivered me from resentful thoughts. There was just happiness and joy. I felt like a newly married person, and in my heart there was a deeper love for my wife than I had ever known.
Before I was saved, I had been so selfish. My son had grown up and graduated, married, and left home before I realized there was something else besides business and my pleasure. I had been a slave to the bowling alley, going there almost every day of the week. Finally my wife had said I might as well move my bed down there! When I got saved, though, the Lord changed all of that. In fact, all the old habits I had tried to get rid of left instantly.
A changed life
Though not a heavy drinker, before being saved I would put away quite a bit of beer. Every evening after work, one of my brothers and I would pick up a six-pack of beer, start drinking it on the way home, and finish it up at his house. About the time I got saved we quit working together, but a couple of weeks later I was at his house to divide some checks that had come in. Someone went to the refrigerator and asked my brother if he wanted a beer. Then he said, “Ollie, you wouldn’t want one, would you?” That was the first time I realized I had been delivered! I had gone more than two weeks without drinking; the thought of having a beer never entered my mind.
Other things in my life changed too. I used to watch television until two o’clock in the morning. The next day at work I would feel dragged out and tired, and would be mad at myself and think, Oh, how weak you are, Ollie. After I was saved, something came up about television at a prayer breakfast, and I said, “You know, I forgot I have a television!” I hadn’t even turned it on since I had been saved.
The Lord gave me a hunger for His truth. We had a Bible that my mother had given us when we were first married, but I had never looked at it before I was saved. Now, first thing in the morning I put the coffeepot on and then sit down and read the Bible. Next I pray. And how the Lord blesses my soul!
Restitutions to make
The Lord put it in my heart to make restitution. I had worked for a large contractor, storing plastic drain fittings. One time when my neighbor needed some fittings, I let him have them. Another time, I gave some to one of my brothers. After I was saved, I made it right with the contractor, saying, “I wasn’t honest before, but the Lord has saved me and established my paths in righteousness. I owe you for some plastic fittings. You can be assured this will never happen again.” I asked if he would forgive me, and the Lord blessed me for doing this. Less than a month after I paid that restitution, this man gave me a $100 bonus. You just can’t outgive the Lord!
The Lord has been my Healer too, many times. One morning I woke up and my back had slipped out of place. Another man and I had a concrete job to do that day, but I could hardly make it from the bedroom to the kitchen. I said, “O Lord, who is going to help Doyle today?” The concrete was coming early and there was no one lined up to work with him.
I was trying to get to the phone to call him, but as I got to the chair by the phone, I just sank down on my knees. I said again, “O Lord, who is going to help Doyle?” It was just as if the Lord said, “I am.” He began to bless my soul, and He healed me while He blessed me. I came up praising the Lord. The Lord sent me out in good shape.
My heart is thankful when I think of these blessings. And they don’t happen just once in a while! The Lord walks with me every day. He has given me a beautiful life, and I love Him with all my heart and soul. I pray each day that He will keep me strong in the faith. The Lord has been so good to me!