Peace In These Troubled Times

By: Dean Driver

I was born into a family of simple country folk in Tennessee.  Our family owned a garage and I grew up working on cars and anything else that needed fixing.  My home was not a happy place; there was a lot of anger in it.  The atmosphere was very volatile; you never knew when someone was going to explode in anger and curse you, call you bad names, throw something or hit you .  Everybody in my world seemed to act this way....Some said they were Christians, but I couldn't tell any difference in the way they lived and talked from those who were not.  I didn't realize that sin was at the foundation of all this, and that I was a sinner too, so I adopted this same life-style myself with cursing and a violent temper.  Yet I seemed to know deep down that there was something better somewhere, a better way to live, a better way to act....I just didn't know how to go about finding it.  I remember, as a small boy, in 1941 sitting under a shade tree , looking at the clouds and asking God for a better way of life than what I was seeing I didn’t want to be that way.  Yet that is exactly what I was becoming until a warm Summers night in (1948).

When I was about fifteen (1948) I went to church to a prayer meeting with a friend.  When the invitation was given for people who wanted to be saved to come to the altar and pray, the Holy Spirit stirred my heart to let me know I was a sinner, and that Jesus had died for my sins so I could be saved, I considered that really good news.  I knelt there, confessed my sins, called on the Lord in prayer, and He forgave me and gloriously saved me.  I went home that night and woke my parents up to tell them the good news.  I thought they would be happy for me.  My dad cursed me because I woke them up and told me to go on to bed and to shut up.  Even though that hurt me deeply, I knew that Jesus Christ had come into my life to give me a new family, and to change my life....I knew I had found that "something better" I had been looking for so long. 

I remember my excitement because I had embarked on a totally new and different life.  Even though my circumstances didn't change, the turmoil in my life was replaced by peace and joy and a sense of well-being I had not known before.  The Lord changed my deceitful, angry, attitude, stopped my cursing, and started working on my selfishness right away.  He gave me hope that my life could indeed be better and better if I would surrender to His Lordship and not insist on having my own way.

 Sometimes I slip back into some of my old ways, but the Lord is faithful to correct me, forgive me, restore me to fellowship with Himself and to remind me of His "better way."  He brought me to a crisis in my life once when He broke my heart and took me to my knees to teach me to stop criticizing others and to love them the way I was supposed to.  He showed me how terrible my own sin was, so how dare I find fault with my fellow Christians.  I never know what He will be teaching me next, but I appreciate the fact that He hasn't given up on me, and He promises that He never will.

Some of the things God has brought my way have been very painful but He has always comforted and encouraged me to continue in His Love. In a one year period of time I was excluded from Church for going to school to learn more about God’s word, my youngest daughter was diagnosed with a serious illness that could lead to her death, my second daughter was almost killed in a car wreck, our house burned, I lost my job and had to move to Memphis. In later years my grandson suddenly died at 3 years of age, and the last major event was the death of my wife of 45 years from cancer. I can only thank God that  He placed in the heart of His people at this Church a caring and loving attitude that has been a great comfort in my latest loss. You have prayed for me, loved me, cared for me, cried with me, fed me, encouraged me and I pray God’s blessings on each of you. Though I have been sad and cried over the tragedies, I have never felt sorry for myself nor despaired, because I know God loves far greater than I can imagine and my loss pales by comparison to His Son who actually gave me a new life. My latest loss has given me a greater appreciation for the time I have on this Earth, to see the beauty all around me and to make a difference in peoples lives, to help lift their loads but above all to let them know I care. I am not ashamed to tell people I love them, give them a big hug, encourage them in some way or to cry with them when they are hurting.

 I retired in January of 2000 and in April of 2002 married a very wonderful woman with one son so we now have between us 5 children, 9 Grand children (1 died), 5 step Grand children, 9 Great Grand children (2 died), 3 step Great Grand children (1 died). So it seems that God never ceases to bless in ways we cannot understand. In all these years since 1948 His Love still burns in me like a fire, that was set on that night at the altar where I asked Him to come into my life and make me new. I don’t know what the future holds but I know He will Love me through it.

Jesus once said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me."  I have found Him to be exactly that.  He was the way for me to escape my former life of confusion and bitterness; He has always led me into truth when I have looked to Him, and He is my new life....and He is "far better" than anything this little country boy could ever have imagined. I will always remember , as the song says, I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see.

 Have you ever had that feeling deep down that there must be something better  than you are now experiencing?  Do you need a new family, a new life-style, a new attitude or the love of a father you never had? Jesus wants everyone to find these things in Him.