Presence of the Holy Spirit

I was raised by Christian parents as an only child that was loved, protected, and in church from infancy. When I was nine years old my mother said it was time for me to join the church. I was not counseled–it was just assumed that my joining the church was because I had trusted Jesus. I was in my teens during the Youth Revival era. Many youth gave their testimonies, but I was never asked because I was playing the organ for the services. There were some times of doubt–once when I went to my parents concerned that I would go to hell, they quickly got their Bible and read 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.” So I was soothed. But of course I loved “the brothers”–I loved everything about church! I grew up, married a Godly man and had three children; heavily volunteering at my church, teaching a class, playing piano, etc.

One day, at age 27, I was accompanying a “junior” choir rehearsal under the direction of John McKay, when he began to tell the children about how much Jesus loves them; and a little girl on the front row began to cry. John asked me to take her out and talk to her. She was obviously under conviction of the Holy Spirit, but I quoted the Roman Road–verses she already knew–and she could not be quieted. Then I thought about how my pastor said, “When you’ve quoted Scripture to no avail be sure and give your own testimony. I “tried” to have a testimony, but all I could really say is that I joined the church. The Holy Spirit was so heavy on my heart I was almost struck speechless! The little girl got saved but I was the most miserable of souls for six weeks. Satan can really do a number on one who is already a church member and actively involved.

I finally became physically ill and I wasn’t myself to my husband and children. Thankfully I don’t remember a great deal about those weeks; but one night I had tossed and turned unable to sleep when I finally said, “Lord, you and I both know that I’m a sinner and have never given my life to you. I love you and want more than anything for you to forgive me of my sins and take this burden away. I want to spend eternity with you in heaven. In the name of Jesus, I pray.” That was my first experience with the forgiveness and faithfulness of God. I turned over, completely relaxed, to go to sleep. Immediately this thought came to mind, “OK, so you got saved, so what? Everyone already believes you to be a Christian so there’s no need to tell them. Just relax and go to sleep.” Well, I was lost as a goose but I wasn’t stupid! One can “learn” to be a Christian and I had learned all there was to “know” about that. I also knew if I didn’t tell someone immediately I might never speak up, so I woke up my husband and told him; and he wasn’t a bit surprised!! We went to sleep and I was up early the next morning, called my pastor before breakfast and went to his house and told him.

It’s amazing, but God gave me the courage the next Sunday to play the introduction to the invitation and then get up and go to the altar to make my public confession of faith in Christ. My friends had trouble believing me because there was not a great change in the way I lived. Remember, I had learned well to be a Christian. The change was a “heart” matter–the way I loved to read and actually study my Bible, I prayed consistently with great thanksgiving and contentment. I am HIS evermore! I am so grateful for His faithfulness to care for me and protect me through the early “lost” years. I was never in trouble or openly disobedient to my parents. I would not have hurt them that way. I do not know why He waited for me all those years–maybe so that He could be glorified through my testimony of His great love. I pray for people my age and older who may have had the same background I did. Counseling someone who made a decision was just not done in those days. Thankfully, that has changed. To God be the glory!!

Ruth Hendrix
July 3, 2017

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