A Personal Testimony
Over the last two thousand years, countless stories have been written about the grace of God. They are always the same, yet always different, for while the problems grace solves are as varied as the people who have them, the victories which grace produces always have the same majestic imprint. To that book of stories, I add one more chapter.
When I was six years old, I woke up one morning complaining of abdominal pain. Later that morning, my mother took me to see the doctor who immediately said that I was constipated, and prescribed a laxative. By that evening, I was in excruciating pain, and my parents took me to the emergency room. In twenty minutes, I was on the operating table. My appendix had ruptured, and had the drive to the hospital been longer by just minutes, my story would have ended that night.
They removed my appendix, but over the next eight days, my condition worsened. They didn’t know this, but bowels had locked and gangrene had set in. On the eighth afternoon, the doctors told my parents that I would have one more night. That evening, Mr. Gover, a godly man, came to the hospital. When he opened the door to my room, my mom was at my bedside, and he asked to speak with her. She stepped out into the dimly lit hallway. He quietly said, “Mrs. Gregory, the Lord spoke to me this evening. He said that you need to be willing to let Sandy go.” He added that he would pray, then turned and walked away. Mom told me that she came back into the room, knelt by my bedside, and said, “Lord, thank you for giving him to me for these six years. I want him to keep him, but I give him back to you.”
In the wee hours of that next morning, the doctor woke up, and in a moment of remarkable clarity, he saw what was wrong, and how to fix it. He climbed out of bed and called the surgeon. They soon met at the hospital, and with attending medical personnel, performed another surgery and my life was spared.
Everyone agreed God had performed a miracle, and as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years, I never lost a sense of wonder that God had spared my life. But it didn’t seem like much of a life. My relatives had told my parents that I was retarded and should be placed in a home for retarded children, and I had a stuttering problem. I had been in the hospital for twenty-eight days, which put me behind in school. The kids made fun of me, and the teachers would embarrass me in front of others. My life had been spared, but why?
I heard about Jesus at church, and I had an increasing awareness of my need to be saved. One day when I was eleven, I called our pastor and asked to see him. We soon met in his office where he explained what I already knew. We bowed our heads and I asked Jesus to be my Savior. I was baptized, but my life did not seem to change. For the next six years, I would continue to wonder … and wander.
When I was seventeen, there was a lay-led revival at church. Men from two states came, at their own expense, and spoke about the romance of real religion. That Sunday night, I heard a testimony, and one of the men spoke of having an “impression.” A few moments later, it was clear that that impression was from the Lord, and that made an impression on me. I knew that I needed what those men had. Six weeks later, I was on the side of my bed, weeping, at 2:00 in the morning. All I could say was, “Oh God.” A broken and a contrite heart He will not despise, and somehow in the wee hours of that morning, grace came to me with unusual force. As God stretched out His mighty hand, something happened. I climbed into bed and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning and went into the kitchen, I didn’t stutter. And I found that His strength would be made perfect in my weakness, for when I was a senior in college, I won the national championship in persuasive speaking and was named a President’s Scholar.
God gave me life, spared my life, gave me a life, and over the last forty-three years, He has never let me go. I can see why Paul said we will live forever “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6).
 See Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2
My friend, Mr. Gregory, has a web site – http://www.galatians.net. I commend his book: Galatians: An Expository Paraphrase. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .