When I look back on my life, I am reminded of how marvellously God has led me. I grew up in a Roman Catholic home and loved going to church with my grandparents. But something was missing.
When I was about twelve years of age, my Mom and Dad started studying the Bible with some Seventh-Day-Adventist Friends. I would listen in on their conversations sometimes, and they were talking about the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath. It was very interesting, but little did I realize how drastically our lives were about to change.
We discovered that the Ten Commandments in the Catholic Bible differed from the Ten Commandments found in the book of Exodus chapter twenty. The Second Commandment had been omitted. This is, of course, the Commandment that refers to the act of worshipping images, which is an abomination to God. The Fourth Commandment was shortened from four verses to “Remember the Sabbath Day.” And the Tenth Commandment was split into two.
My Dad sought out his cousin, who was a priest, about these matters. He asked him about the Sabbath. He questioned why we worshipped on Sunday instead of the Seventh Day, according to the Bible. “Oh, we changed it,” was his response. Dad proceeded to ask how “man” can change God’s law, which was written in stone with His finger. From that time forward, we decided to keep God’s Commandments.
As Catholics, we rarely read the Bible. When I began Bible studies, I found it to be filled with beautiful promises and gripping stories. The Holy Spirit was convicting and converting me. It was at an evangelistic series when I gave my heart to the Lord. I never knew I could have a personal relationship with God. Jesus loved me so much that He gave His life to save me! I could go directly to Him for forgiveness. I could talk to Him anytime, anywhere, and about anything. It was so wonderful!
My Dad informed his employer that he could no longer work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. And though he promised to work any other day, he was told that if this was his final decision, then he shouldn’t bother coming back ever again.
Holding to his convictions, he stayed home from work the following Friday night and was promptly fired. Word of our conversion swept through the community like wildfire. All the parents told their children to stay away from us because we had joined a “cult.” I didn’t even know what that word meant. Everyone treated us as if we had the plague. Scornful and disgusted looks were hurled at us like flaming arrows. It was dreadful. All we wanted to do was keep God’s Commandments. In hindsight, I believe these dear people thought that they were, in good conscience, doing the right thing. But at that age, I could scarcely understand it.
When my grandparents heard about my parent’s decision, they were very upset. As a child, I stayed with them often, and we were very close. They tried talking me out of becoming an Adventist. They even attempted to persuade me to pray to the image of the Virgin Mary for help. I believe they did this with the deepest sincerity. However, I could not yield; for I was convicted that I could pray to no one but God. They were very distressed over this, and their travail caused me much suffering and guilt; after all, they had been so loving and kind to us all my life. With tears, they told me that they would be forced to disown us if we left the Catholic church. A fierce struggle ensued within me, for I could never imagine my life without them. However, I knew in my heart that Jesus must be placed first and best in my life. I soaked my pillow with tears that night, but deep down, I knew that I had a Friend who could dry my eyes and heal the heart that broke within me.
Dad was disowned by his whole family, but that wasn’t all. We were no longer welcome in our community and were soon in the process of being thrown out of our house. Dad gathered us all together and knelt to ask for God’s guidance to endure this fiery trial. Somehow, through the midst of it all, I had been given a peace that I could not explain; and I am very grateful that my parents didn’t buckle under the pressure.
Dad miraculously found a job at a Seventh-Day Adventist mill in Williams Lake, B.C. He was only working there a short time before we were evicted from our house and at the time we had very little money.
Dad was finishing his shift before coming to move us to Williams Lake when something terrible happened. A board came flying out of one of the machines and hit him square in the chest! He was in tremendous pain, and his co-workers pleaded with him to go to the hospital, but he refused. He had to get us moved out of that house immediately!
We were just children and all still very young at the time. We were unable to help move any large furniture and Dad was in no shape to do any heavy lifting due to his injury. He earnestly sought the Lord again in prayer and left the matter in His hands. Early the next morning, a knock came at the door. It was my aunt’s boyfriend who was looking for her. He was unaware of our situation, and having no prejudice against us, was happy to help! We were all convinced that God had sent him to us in answer to my father’s prayer! Not long afterward, an x-ray showed that Dad had broken his sternum and that he was lucky to be alive.
But our problems were not over. We had been forced out of our home in such haste, that our parents had no time to secure a house for us in Williams Lake. We arrived with our U-Haul full of belongings and parked behind a gas station trying to figure out what to do next. My Dad figured we could live in a cheap motel long enough to find a house. This would not be easy, as there were six of us. Again he prayed to the Creator for guidance. No sooner had he said, “Amen,” a man appeared in the alleyway. He recognized Dad from work. He asked the man if he knew of any cheap motels in the area. The man eagerly spoke up and offered us his basement for the time being. When we arrived at his home, his wife was very kind and welcomed us with open arms. We took our meals upstairs and worshipped together with them. Never had I met such kind and loving Christians all my life. It was amazing to see how God took such tender care of us.
We enrolled in an SDA school and soon made many friends. Time passed, and we were able to rent a townhouse. I finally felt like I belonged. It wasn’t easy being completely uprooted from everything we knew and being torn from those whom we loved. Even in light of all this heartache, I would never change a thing. I learned that no matter how hopeless and dark the road ahead might be, God never fails us. His promises are sure. Nothing is impossible for Him.
This was just the beginning of my journey with God, and there were many more answers to prayer. But I cannot conclude my testimony without sharing some very heartwarming facts. Though one of my aunts never forgave my Dad, my grandparents came back into our lives. We became closer than ever. One of my aunts and her family were baptized as well as one of my uncles and his family!
Dear friend, if you are facing problems that seem impossible, don’t give up. The same God who helped me is waiting to help you. Just give your life to Him today. I promise you will never be sorry.
Written By Denise Lamming