Aiden wrote to our ministry and asked:
How did Stephen come to Christ?
Aiden, Thanks for asking this. As far as I can remember, this is the first time a Wisdom listener asked me this. Here's my story:
I grew up as the child of missionaries who loved the Lord and faithfully served Him for decades. My brothers and I were all taught the gospel of Christ. Our parents' lives in their missionary endeavors gave us an excellent example of self-sacrifice. But even though I was the son of faithful missionaries, I was not a true follower of Christ – and I knew it.
While I wasn’t addicted to drugs or alcohol, and I kept on the safe side of the law, I had no interest in the Lord. And I certainly had no interest in serving Him with my life.
All the while, God’s Spirit was convicting me of my lost condition. Eventually, into my later teen years, I began to fear being left behind following the rapture of the church. That fear grew, and by the time I was 17, I thought about it nearly every day.
On one occasion, I even got my Uncle Lowell out of bed because I was so afraid of the rapture taking place without me included. I was on a date, and it was growing late as we drove to some friend's beach-side home for a cookout. We pulled up at a stoplight, and the stoplight flickered. The momentary flicker of that stoplight caused me to panic – perhaps the rapture had just occurred and some cosmic disturbance caused the lights to flicker?!
I pulled over at a phone booth – one of those tall rectangular structures with a telephone inside it! I searched the phone book and found my uncle Lowell’s home phone number. I dialed the number, and it rang and rang. Finally, a very sleepy Lowell answered, “Hello?” and I quickly hung up . . . he was still here!
I didn’t want to call my parents out of fear they might be suspicious. And I knew my Uncle was saved. I knew that the rapture hadn't occurred if he was still on the planet, and I was safe for yet another day.
The truth is, as a 17-year-old, I wasn’t ready to live simply because I wasn’t ready to die. And I certainly wasn’t ready for the rapture. All of this deeply troubled me. I didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ that many family members enjoyed. I was a self-centered, rebellious young man, running from God, living the life of a hypocrite even though I was in a Christian school and in church every Sunday.
I wrestled with the demands of following Christ. I knew what it meant to give my life to Christ genuinely – there was no percentage held back from Him – true Christianity meant that I was entirely His!
Sometime before my senior year of High School, I dreamed that I was in hell. It was a vivid dream, and I woke up covered in sweat. Trembling as I lay there, wide awake, it became clear to me that I was battling a sovereign God, and I was risking my eternal future. The truth of God’s word, implanted in my heart, came to my mind as I lay there considering the claims of Christ and the gospel of salvation.
A few minutes later that night, I got out of bed, knelt on the floor next to my bed, and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. It was more than “fire insurance” – it was a genuine desire to live for Him, repent of my sins, and follow Him from then on.
Even though I didn’t make any public announcement to family or friends, the change in my actions and attitudes soon revealed to everyone that I had become a true follower of Christ. Of course, it wasn’t long before I lost some friends, including my girlfriend, as I began walking a different path.
Soon after I began my senior year, I was voted senior class Chaplain by my classmates. They knew something was dramatically different. To God be the glory.
And one more thing . . . I never caused my uncle to lose another night’s sleep!