"A Man Born Blind"

I REALLY didn't know any better.

I remember sitting in church occasionally as a child. Back then most

of my family attended Catholic churches, and most of the "mass" was

in Latin. I remember being self-conscious and worrying about being

in sync with the rest of the crowd - standing when they were standing,

sitting when they were sitting, kneeling when they were kneeling.

I remember trying to figure out where we were in the little paperback

liturgy booklet and chiming " ... and also with you" in the appropriate

gaps of the priest's two-note melody. I remember lots of "Hail Mary"s

and an occasional Lord's prayer. But most of all, I remember gazing

at the beautiful stained glass and the dozens of candles and trying to

figure out what the statue of a bloodied, dieing man bound and nailed

to a cross had to do with all this.

By the time I had reached school age, my grandparents and parents had

had a falling out with the church - seems we weren't giving as much

money to the church as the pastor felt was appropriate. So my

churchgoing days were pretty well limited to when my other grandmother

took me - not often, but already too often for my tastes. I had never

really gotten the hang of things and always had a kind of spooky, eerie


It was some time later that I first opened up a Bible - and even then

for completely the wrong reasons. You see, a bunch of my friends used

to get together to play the home game "Jeopardy" and for the most part,

I was the undisputed champion - unless the game had a "religion" or

"Bible" category. Then, I'd fall so far behind in that one subject

that I'd never catch up. I studied up on Genesis, Exodus and Matthew

enough to regain my title as neighborhood champ. I thought for the most

part they were pretty good stories, although not quite as interesting

as the Greek, Roman or Norse mythology I had taken a liking to.

Of course, I had never made any sort of mental connection between any

of this and my salvation. For starters, I was never really all too

sure there even WAS a God. I was very fond of science, and it sure

seemed that every day another "miracle" of God was being explained

away as some sort of random act of nature. The sun wasn't placed in

the heavens to give us light and warmth - it was flung there by chance

in some all-encompassing "Big Bang". And life wasn't "created" - it

just sprung up with the right mixture of chemicals and electricity.

And of course man was nothing special - just the latest stage of an

endless line of mutations from those first simple life forms.

Even if there was a God, how could I be left out of His Kingdom?

I was a pretty clean kid - never stole, rarely "swore", certainly never

murdered or raped. I could point to dozens of people who were far

"worse" than I was - besides, one of the few things I was ready to

believe about God was that he was all-forgiving! How could He forgive

those gigantic sins of everybody else and have a problem with my tiny


And finally, even if my misunderstanding should somehow displease God

and I would spend the rest of eternity in Hell, I didn't care! I

could handle it! ( I have no idea how that ultra-macho idea got into

my brain, but boy, does it sound stupid, now.)

Well, my slightly-inflated self image took a beating pretty soon

thereafter. It seems like in very short time I became a college dropout,

a divorced father of two, and an alcoholic. Even this didn't particularly

phase me, but it was at this time that I started to recognize that there

was something missing in my life. I married again shortly after, and

finally began to see the light. My wife Lory was not yet truly a believer,

but she did know much more about the Lord and His promises than I did.

Some of our best discussions (and worst arguments) were about religion.

I took a very negative stance at first, but God slowly softened my heart

and allowed me to accept the truth. An old friend of hers recommended

a Bible and we began to study God's word together.

Soon we discovered some Christian music that we liked - mostly Keith

Green and later Don Francisco and the Talbot brothers. It was through

their testimony in song that I first got a glimpse of what it FEELS

like to trust in Jesus. We had been talking for some time about

looking for a place to worship God and learn more, but didn't know where

to start. Even our meager studies of the Bible at home had convinced

us that we could not be comfortable in the denominations we were

familiar with, so we were really looking for something new. God led us

to a small congregation not far from our home, where the Bible is

studied, spoken and practiced.

After a few visits to this church, Richard, the pastor, came to visit

us. He took the time to explain to us that, if left to ourselves, we

are all lost. Even the single tiniest sin separates us from God, and

the only way to be forgiven is through God's grace as offered through

Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. After Richard left, I felt convicted

immediately, as if all my shortcomings of the previous 30 years had

finally caught up with me. Lory felt the same way, and after more

study and prayer, we both came to trust in Jesus as our Saviour.

The Lord has blessed us greatly in the years since, and I thank Him for

each blessing - but no earthly blessing can possibly compare with how he

opened my eyes to His truth, and died so that I might yet live.

Jim Kostich

This article originated on The Salvation Online Network

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