This is the second installment in the “Why I Believe” series. As mentioned in the first one, this series welcomes readers input. I would love to punish my audience’s stories to inspire others.
Before I share this story I would like to state that people should not expect the events in this story to happen to them. I have been lucky enough to have a number of Gideon moments in my life but I don’t know why. Maybe God knows that I am stubborn.
When I was 15 years old I went to a very well known play called “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames.” If you ever attended an Assembly of God church you’ve probably seen it too. They pioneered the play, though, now it is shown all over the world. The play depicts multiple people dying in various ways and some ended in hell, others in heaven. Needless to say, the play was basically one of those plays than ended with an altar call.
That night I decided that I was going to turn my life over to God. My best friend and I both responded to the altar call and went up for prayer. At 15 I did not know what that really meant. I was not raised in the church and I did not go to church. But I knew I wanted to be on the right side of God. When I talked to a gentleman after the show he walked me through what my commitment meant. Right before I left he shook my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said “this is the best choice of your life.”
We rode home with his mother that night and mostly sat reflected on the play. When I got home that night I thought about the play. I thought about my decision. Then right before I went to bed I took the church pamphlet that I kept from the play and I wrote inside the cover “Best choice of my life!” 15 years later it is still the best choice I’ve ever made and I have the pamphlet to still today to remember.
The play itself is not important to the story other than the fact that I decided that night that it was time to make a commitment to understanding what I believed. Or rather, figure out what I wanted to believe.
The very next day I told my father about what I had done. He was a Christian at that point in his life and he was quite excited to hear the news. I told him that it was time to start reading the Bible. I didn’t know what was in it but I figured if I was going to be a Christian then I should probably read what I profess to believe in.
My dad then went to the book shelf and gave me a Bible. He handed me a 5 pound KJV Bible with a red leather cover and XL print. I was not very keen on the idea of learning to read Old English but I was still very happy that I was able obtain a Bible so easily.
What happened next is that I did what most 15 year olds do, I set it by my bed with the intent on reading it…. and then I didn’t read it. I tried once or twice but I really struggled with the Old English. However, what happened next changed everything for me.
At my mother’s how we had both my twin brother and I sharing the basement. His half was fully finished. Mine was not because it was only temporary while we were re-finishing my actual bedroom. We had an issue with the rains where the house was and almost overtime it rained heavily the basement flooded. My brother’s have of the basement was build off of the main floor to avoid some water damage. My half was just concrete floor.
About two months had passed since I was given the Bible and we experienced a basement flood. It rained for what seemed to be a week. I salvaged what I could and stayed in my old bedroom upstairs even though it was a wreck with plaster tore off the walls awaiting to be dry-walled. It was two weeks until the water in the basement had evaporated enough to start cleaning up the mess.
I went in with 50 gallon trash bags and started throwing away damp and molded clothes that I had left on the floor. Nothing that was on the floor was salvaged. I tossed out a bag full of closes as well as some other odds and ends.
What happened in the cleanup I will never forget. Near the head of my bed I was picking up nasty wet and musty clothes when I lifted up a shirt and saw just the red corner of the Bible I was given. My heart was immediately filled with embarrassment. Why did I leave this on the floor? What would my dad say? Why had I not even read it?
I put the garbage bag down and reached down to pull out the Bible. To my amazement, it was untouched by the water. I’ve told this story a few times to people and I always get mixed reactions. Thus, I would like to clarify one thing. The Bible was not just barely wet or slightly wet, it was completely dry. It was not dirtied, or wrinkled, or water-logged, or had water marks. It looked exactly the way it did before the flood and it was covered in inches of water.
I cannot explain to you why such a phenomenon happened.Â I do not know if God was trying to communicate something specific to me through this. What I do know is that I felt very certain that day that it was time to stop putting it off. It was time to stop making excuses to read the Bible.Â After that day and the years following, I read that old KJV Bible. I kept it in use even after I was eventually given an NIV with my own name on it.
The last time I saw that Bible was in 2003 when I was in a mission trip in Nicaragua. A young boy who knew that I was with a mission agency asked me for a Bible. The only one I brought on that trip was a pocket Bible and my big red KJV.
I took one look at the kid before I handed it over and I said to him, “make sure you read this.”
Your comments are welcome below. As I stated previously, I would love to hear your own stories. Submit them via the forum or through the Contact menu button at the top of the screen.