After Darkness

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
More than sixty years had rolled over the head of Tim Collins, leaving their unmistakable marks behind them. Those years had been lived in worldliness and without God, although many prayers for his conversion had ascended to the "throne of grace." Tim Collins was still in his sins and apparently unconcerned.
I first noticed him during a gospel meeting. As the preaching proceeded, the usual placidity of his face gave place first to interest and then 'to evident concern. Later, learning his name from some Christians who had for a long time been making him a special subject of prayer, a longing took possession of me to see that man truly converted.
Thinking of Matthew 18:1919Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:19): "Again I say unto you, 'that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven," I found three other Christians who agreed with me to cry to God for his salvation.
Soon I made my way to his house and found him working alone in his garden. For nearly three hours our conversation centered on the burning question of his soul's salvation. With a note of despair in his voice he had said: "Yes, I am the black sheep of our family. My brothers and sisters are all converted, I believe, but I am still unsaved. I suppose there must be a black sheep in every flock."
Poor fellow! One would have thought he had been under the pernicious teaching of blind fatalism to talk like that. I tried to show him that, no matter how far he had wandered and how black he was, the Good Shepherd had given His life for the sheep, and was still seeking him. The Savior was only waiting to hear his cry for salvation, acknowledging his lost condition. Then He would cleanse away his blackness by His precious blood.
His tears fell thick and fast as I reminded him of the many prayers that had ascended to God for him. Could God be unmindful of those prayers? No! With what joy He would answer them! He was only waiting for Tim Collins' repentance.
As we parted I told him that three Christians had agreed with me to add their prayers to all the rest for the conversion of his soul. His eyes filled with tears as he exclaimed, "Well, it is good of you!"
The next time I called to see Tim it was clear that deep soul-concern had taken the place of the indifference which had marked him previously. However, the darkness of unbelief surrounding him was so deep that only much prayer and God's precious Word could pierce it. Passage after passage of Scripture was read, and again and again we got upon our knees. "O God, save me!" he would cry. "I have nothing to plead but my sins! Oh, take me as I am! If I could only shake off this hardness!" Despair seemed to be stamped upon his face as he would get up from his knees and say, "What shall I do? Do you think God will ever save me?"
Finally I had to leave him, but felt sure that God's salvation was at hand. Knowing that he was now truly repentant, I pressed upon him the verse: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:3131And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31).
When next I saw Tim his words were, "No light yet, sir—only darkness," and the cloud upon his face depicted the state of his soul.
"Oh, if I had only turned to God when I was young!" he mourned. "I can remember Christians pleading with me, and telling me I would find it hard if I grew old in sin; but I was so blind! Can God have mercy upon me after all these years of going my own way?"
Again we turned to the Scriptures, and again we got upon our knees; but "No light!" was all he could say. Again I had to leave him with that dark cloud upon his face.
Few indeed are converted when forty years or more have been spent in sin and self-will. Let my reader beware. Whatever your age, waste not another moment. Every passing day the heart gets harder and the lures of sin are strengthened. Dare you seek to turn to the Savior with the dregs of a misspent life? Once more I determined to visit Tim Collins, though almost dreading the interview. I knew that his only help was to be found in God's Word. Romans 4:2525Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:25) and 5:1 were pressing upon me as I walked to the house. Slowly I read to him how God had delivered to wicked men His Son Jesus for our offenses and raised Him "again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
As I paused, the light of God's love and grace streamed into Tim's soul. Rising from his seat he exclaimed, "Oh, I see it! Oh, how glorious! He was delivered for my offenses! He was raised for my justification. Therefore being justified by faith, I have peace with God."
Soon we were praising God together. The light of God's Word, which is the sword of the Spirit, had pierced and destroyed the hardness and darkness of unbelief of a heart grown old in sin.
Friend, don't refuse the Savior's pleadings. "Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart." Remember, "now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Prov. 27:11Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1).