Part 1: Life Without God
I was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1944, into a family that was not religious and did not attend church. My mother, Elaine, was angry and alone. My father, George, Sr, was a Chicago policeman, but also an alcoholic and abusive to me and my mother. When I was 7, my parents divorced. I became a ward of the court because neither parent wanted me. Because the court determined I should live with my mother, I was permanently separated from my father. I never saw him again.
When I was 10, Elaine remarried. Her husband, Ed, was stern and unreasonable. To him, I was a stupid idiot who couldn’t learn and would never amount to anything. My half-sister, born when I was 11, became the favorite; she was spoiled and used her parents’ favoritism against me. Because of the treatment I received in my own house, I became a loner and an introvert.
Ed was Catholic, and he decided when I was 12 that I should be one too. I spent several years under Catholic teaching. Instead of believing what I heard, though, I became increasingly skeptical of church and religion. My mistake was that I turned away from God and became lost for many years.
My 21st birthday present was a two-week notice to get out of the house. Twice during the next two years, George, Sr. attempted to contact me, but I wanted nothing to do with him. Years later, when I tried to find my father using a Christmas card that had once been sent to Elaine’s address, I found out that he died in 1971. My stepfather Ed died in 1976, and I lost contact with my mother and half-sister. When my mother died, she left everything to Marlene, my half-sister. Marlene told me not to contact her because she wanted nothing to do with me.
Part 2: Life With God
My first wife committed suicide. She had a gambling obsession and took her own life with a bullet one night. It is impossible to prepare for something like that. However, her death was the dividing line between my old life and the life of being brought back to God.
One day after my first wife's death, I was talked into going ballroom dancing (something I had enjoyed during the good times of my marriage), but wasn’t yet willing to participate. A sweet, timid voice asked if I would dance. I looked up at Evelyn and immediately said yes. We began to date shortly thereafter. During one of our dates (and I have no idea why except that God was at work), I asked Evelyn where she attended church. Not long after I found myself driving 30 miles to her hometown and walking through the doors of First Baptist of Belle Chasse.
First Baptist was not what I expected. The people were friendly and receptive, and Pastor Sam Gentry’s messages captured my attention. I enjoyed different church functions—especially the senior’s dinner with food, fellowship, and singing—and began to get more involved. I didn’t know at the time, but Evelyn had told Pastor Sam about my past and my attitude toward Christianity. Pastor was confident that since the Word of God had been planted in my heart, I would eventually respond to truth. He married us in 2010.
The following year, 2011, I and my new wife moved to Lafayette, Louisiana. After searching, we began attending First Baptist Church of Milton. It was there that I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior and was baptized. With God’s help to live my new life in Christ, and with my wife’s encouragement, I have been changing from the man I used to be. I now understand that I am a sinner, but that Christ died and was raised to life again for me. Because of what He did, I have a future in heaven. By reading the Bible, the Book I knew very little about before I was saved, I discovered that God uses people to accomplish His work. Though Evelyn passed away in 2020, I am still grateful for how God used her to aid my coming to Christ.
There are many things I have done and said in my younger years that I am not proud of. Whenever I think about my past (and I often do) I am ashamed. I have left those things out of this story for two reasons. One, much of it is simply between God and me. Second, I know I have been forgiven for what I have done; Jesus paid that debt for me.
Now that I understand the Bible’s teaching on heaven and hell, it deeply troubles me to think of where George, Sr., Elaine, and Ed are today, since none of them trusted Christ before their deaths. The future of my half-sister also concerns me. I believe she still has an opportunity for redemption, and I wish she could find God as I have. Through the Bible and the church, God has taught me to forgive those who wronged me so many years ago. It isn’t easy, but He has helped me.
I am grateful to my church family for their friendship despite myself. I am grateful to Evelyn for introducing me to the truth. I am grateful to Pastor Johnson; his preaching and teaching on the Gospel has been more helpful that I can express. Most of all I thank and praise God for the mercy and grace He showed in bringing me back to Him, giving me salvation, and saving from an eternity that I do not want any part of. And I thank you for taking the time to read my story. May God use it in your life, as He has worked in mine.
The above article was written by George Schubert. He is a member of and head of security at NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at email@example.com.
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