God Searches for Us – Part 6: Baptism = New Life
Sixth in a series. Read part five.
When the deacon and his wife came to our house to counsel me about salvation through Christ, the youth pastor and his wife (who remain friends to this day) came along to talk with my wife.
Unsure about this “Christian thing,” my wife held out.
Meanwhile, the deacon reviewed a number of Scriptures that pointed to our need for a Savior. How we had all fallen short of God’s glory.
“I grew up in church,” I thought. “I know a lot of those verses. Let’s do it.”
When it came time to pray, I confessed that I had broken all of God’s commandments. I had hurt countless numbers of people. I had made a mess of my life. And I was now asking God for His forgiveness.
From this day forward, I said, I planned to lead a new life.
The following Sunday, I eagerly awaited for the invitation to accept Christ. The pastor always gave an altar call at the end of his sermons.
I stepped out into the aisle, then looked over at my wife and said, “You coming or not?”
She did. I’ve always been grateful for that step. Living a Christian life is hard enough. I came to know a number of people in the church (usually women) whose spouse wasn’t a believer, and they typically had tough sledding.
A week or so later, the pastor came to our house to discuss baptism. He wanted to make sure we understood its meaning and still wanted to do it.
He also shared his conversion story. At one time an insurance sales rep, he and his wife were regularly at odds with each other. He often left his office early to visit a bar and play pool.
When I asked how he managed to keep up with his business with that kind of habit, he replied, “I had a good secretary.”
However, once he learned the truth about Christ and made the decision to turn over his life to Him, the pastor’s life changed dramatically.
He not only pursued a theological education and ordination, he and his wife were appointed as missionaries to Africa.
Although they decided to return to the States after four years overseas, he was still excited about his relationship with God. His enthusiasm was infectious.
Ironically, our baptism was set for the same evening my stepson would be returning to Denver on a late Greyhound.
That afternoon, we went to have dinner at a former co-worker’s house. While we enjoyed the meal, when we went out to start my wife’s old car, it was dead.
Without any jumper cables, we asked a friend if he could give us a ride. My wife called the church to let them know we were coming, but would be late.
It was after eight o’clock before we made it, but they waited on us.
“Old slew foot (the devil) was sitting on the hood of your car, trying to keep you from getting here,” the pastor grinned when we finally walked in the door.
It’s been more than 40 years but I’ve never forgotten that night. How good I felt when I came up out of the water a new creation.
That ceremony didn’t make life perfect. It didn’t eliminate heartache, financial struggles, disagreements or the inevitable disappointments that are part of living in this world. But the decision to get baptized is one I have never regretted.