I’m sitting here in my rocking chair listening to Love Came Down. I’ve been listening to that album since before Julia died. The title song is about God’s love and how it rescued me. Sometimes it is hard to realize this. God loves us. In fact He loves us whether we love Him or not. He came down and rescued us even when we didn’t believe or love Him. So Jesus loves us whether we “accept” Him or not. We are all children of God. It’s just that some of us have come to now and love Him while others, many others don’t even know He exist. So when we want Jesus to come quickly, we are in some way condemning many to an eternal life without Him. He has come to set us free, but we have to make a choice. He gave us that power because He wanted to know that we loved Him too.
As I have said before, Julia and I was both raised Baptist. I honor my heritage. It got me into the scripture and taught me many truths. I was saved when I was nine years old. We were having revival meetings, and I heard about hell and eternal damnation and I wanted to be with Jesus for eternity so I gave my life to Him. I truly think that it was a salvation experience, although there was a period in my life where there was no fruit, and I was not walking closely with Him. I was taught to be good, do good, keep my nose clean and when I died, I would go to heaven. That was pretty much it. This carried me through High School, but I was getting bored in my senior year. There had to be more. I was beginning to wonder where the line was. You know, the line I could go up to while having fun, but not cross. I was taught, “once saved, always saved”. I began to think about having fun. I began to picture Jesus as a lifeguard on the beach. I could swim and go out deep into the ocean because I knew that He would save me if I got into deep trouble. This became my predominate view of Him, and with this view I could pretty much justify doing anything.
It’s no wonder that when I got to Ga Tech, I was in full-blown rebellion of most of my beliefs and upbringing. I partied hard. I was in a Fraternity, and I enjoyed myself. I also managed to almost flunk out of school. But I think that God was watching over me even then. I did avoid the draft and Viet Nam by joining Air Force ROTC. This eventually got me into pilot training. Things weren’t much different there. I would fly and I would party. That was my life. But you know something. God loved me just as much then as He does now. I know that some of you really don’t believe it, but think about it. Who did Jesus die for? For God so loved who? The believers, the Christians? No, He loved the world, all of us whether we loved Him or not. He loved me and had a plan and a destiny for me. I truly believe that I why Julia and I got engaged on the first date and married so quickly. He was protecting me, bringing her into my life in the only way possible. She has often told me that if she knew how I really was, and had seen me at parties that she would have never married me.
God loved me enough to eventually get us to Montgomery where I was able to fly again and then get me my dream job against all odds. He was even drawing us back to Him all the time. We had been watching Christian television on Sunday mornings some. (This is really going to blow some of your minds.) Yes God can even use Christian Television. We were watching Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. We both liked him, and I liked his messages of hope. I had never heard anything but fire and brimstone messages. Anyway I sent in a contribution and received a necklace back. It was a charm that said “Keep on Believing”. I think I still have it somewhere. Anyway I latched onto that phrase, “Keep on Believing” during the time I was trying to get the job with Delta. In fact I was wearing the charm and praying during the interview process. It’s really amazing to me how God used that in my life. At the same time we began to start attending, irregularly of course, a big Methodist Church close to us. We did it so Jennifer could go to Sunday school. His love was slowly pulling us in. As I look back I can see His handprints on our lives in so many ways.
You see, it’s not about our goodness or how many good deeds we do. It’s not about our ministry and how effective it is. No all it is about is His love for all of us. His unconditional love for us. He is proud of me for all the right decisions I have made, and all that I have done, but His love for me is no bigger now than when I was first born. He loves me so much that He not only died for me, but He allowed Julia to come into my life and remain with me for 38 ½ years. What a blessing His love is.