I thank God for every conversion and certainly minimize none, but occasionally there comes across our path an unusual experience of salvation that makes us rejoice more than usual.
In our church, we have a fine lady with three wonderful children who for years prayed for their unsaved husband and dad. Our church prayed, and my own heart was burdened with his salvation. Again and again, we witnessed to him, but to no avail.
Recently his son was preparing to go to Tennessee Temple College, and it came to the last week of his life at home with his dad still unsaved. I became especially burdened about him that particular week, and I simply had to go by to see him again. The son was to leave for college at noon on Sunday, immediately following the morning service. I went by on Saturday to make one last effort to give the young man a Christian father at least one day while living at home.
As usual, the father was courteous but seemingly disinterested in becoming a Christian.
I left the home that Saturday with a heavy heart, feeling that I had failed. Trying to salvage something out of the visit, I pleaded with the man to come to church with his family the following day. I said, “Paul, you only have one more chance to sit in church with your son before he goes off to college.
The next morning their 13-year old daughter rushed to me saying, “Dad’s here! Dad’s here! Dad’s here!
The boy going away to college caught me in the hall and said, “Pray for Dad. He is here!”
Hundreds of our people were thrilled and electrified to see him in the service. Hundreds were praying during the entire service for the salvation of this one man. (Bear in mind, the son was leaving for college as soon as the service ended.)
The invitation came. He did not come forward.
His son put his arm around his dad and pleaded with him to be saved. Still, the answer was “no.” The invitation was now coming toward its close when I felt I simply had to go back and speak to Paul.
“Paul,” I said, “this is the last chance you will ever have to look at your family while they are all at home and say to them, ‘You have a Christian father.’ In a few minutes, your son will leave home for the last time. Let him say goodbye to a Christian dad.”
I could say no more. I was weeping so much I could not speak, when suddenly Paul broke for the aisle, came to the altar, and received Christ.
During the rest of the invitation, I kept saying to my Music Director, “Have the choir sing louder.” He reminded me after the service that the choir could hardly sing at all for weeping.
In a matter of a few minutes Paul, as a Christian, said goodbye to his son. That night during the invitation, Paul reached over to his wife and said, “I don’t have to sweat so much now!”
In a few days, I received a lovely letter from the daughter telling me about her new daddy and what a wonderful dad he had become. I doubt if he has missed any service-Sunday morning, Sunday night, or Wednesday night-since he was saved. He is truly “a new creature.”
Just recently the aforementioned convert was dedicated to being a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Hammond. He is one of our most faithful and active members.