God's Grace and My Testimony


He spoke to me. There was a point in my life when God ‘intervened’ in the course of my life and spoke to me. To this day, it blows my mind that God- the God of the universe and everything in it, took the time to speak to me! Who am I for God to waste time on? How is it that God even cared enough to notice me?

I was not famous or even popular. While I may have stood out in a crowd, it was more due to the loudness of my voice or the absurdity of my actions rather than anything noble or kind that I could have done. Actually, kindness was something that other people did. That was not me.

I have said that, “I am one of the reasons people have left Detroit!” That would be the summery of my contribution to mankind to that point. I was a violent person with a slow temper but once loosed, my temper ruled my actions. Revenge was a matter of course whenever possible and forgiveness was a foreign concept. That is the brief of who I was. I want to leave it there in order not to glorify the wrong that I have done.

I was twenty years old when I faced the most critical event of my life. Regardless of anything that may occur in the future, I must state that nothing I have experienced to date has come close to the knowledge and decision that I faced when God spoke to me. Taking God at His word, no other event matters as much as when I said, “Yes”, to God.

My bedroom was the stage of rebirth. No church scene for me. I had not attended a church since I was a small child. I was born into a Catholic family that was a perfect example of why so few people follow God. I mean to say that although my parents said they believed in God and even went to church regularly, they did not live like they believed in God. As a child therefore, I was taught by example, what a hypocrite was. From an early age, I learned that God could not be real or people who claimed to know him could not act like this. Therefore, God was a lie. With that, I was drawn to science to explain the universe and all in it. Of course science does explain a lot but leaves much to the unknown as well. Still, for me, I felt more comfortable believing in science than God. Science did not disappoint me then. Back to the bedroom: I was doing what I normally did when I was home- watching MTV (Music Television Videos) and reading SciFi. I was listening to the TV through my headphones and reading silently. In a startling moment I heard a voice say, “Chris, you are going to die soon and I have done everything I can to save you.” The voice was a man’s voice which was soft but firm in its conviction. It was also everywhere at once. My reaction was instant. I whipped off my headphones and looked about my room to learn where the voice came from. I was momentarily relieved to see that no one had entered my room without my knowledge. I even checked under the bed and in the closet to make sure that no one had been hiding there.

I sat back down on my bed with my heart racing; I was unable to reconcile what I had just experienced with any reasonable explanation. A voice without an apparent source had just addressed me by name and told me I was going to die. Dying didn’t bother me. I did not expect to live past thirty anyway. What troubled me is that the voice knew who I was, where I was and what I was doing yet spoke to me with the tone of a father who loved his child and was warning him of trouble to come. What bothered me even more was that the voice stated that it, or he, had done, “all I can to save you.” What did that mean? Save me from what, I wondered? I could not adequately describe what I saw in that moment nor the mechanism by which I was given the view I had: I saw myself, at my age of that moment but not the way other people could see me or even the way a person could see themselves in a mirror. Again, words are inadequate to describe the vision completely. I saw myself, recognizable only the way a person can recognize their image in a mirror knowing there is no one else in the view. The person I beheld, however, was horribly disfigured. The skin was grotesquely ruined and mottled by blemishes and puss-filled boils. The hair was wild and filthy. The expression on the face of this creature was filled with rage and hatred. Its eyes were dark and cold. Horror movies often show grotesque figures which cause the viewer to think, “Eewww-gross!” Unlike such a scene in the movies, this was something I was experiencing up-close and personally. I was looking at myself. Somehow, I knew that this was how God saw me- my soul. All of the ugliness that made up who I was inside- He could see. How could something so horrible live? How could anyone stand to look at it? Without knowing the word, I was given the knowledge that this was the effect of “sin” on my being. It was sin that had disfigured my soul such that I became the figure in the vision.
The closest illustration that could better explain this would be a scene from the movie,
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. In this book and movie, a young man commissions a painting of himself by a close friend. The portrait takes on the corruption, decay and even the sin of his life thereby making him relatively immortal. Only Dorian knew that the portrait held his secrets.




I was dumbfounded by the vision. I knew it was me that was so corrupted. I knew that only God- the One who is all powerful, all knowing and all loving, could show me this. He would be the only one who knew what I was like- on the inside. The memories of all that I had done came crashing back to me. If I had faced this in the flesh I would have flinched back. “I” was horrible to look at. I could not stand to have this image of me in my presence. The image left me and was replaced by a scene from my early childhood.

I saw myself when I was four years old. I was standing on a chair feeling around on the top of the kitchen refrigerator. I was too small yet to look down on that surface but I could reach about and grab with my hands. I found money! It was only coins; nickels, dimes and quarters but to a four year old in the 1960s it was treasure! I grabbed all of the coins I could reach. I could not count the value at that age so I stuffed the coins in my pocket. I knew that the money was not mine and I did not care. I found it and that made it mine! Such was what was in my heart: to steal without remorse. I relived that moment completely as though I were living both then as the child and the young man all at once. The voice spoke to me again and said, “That is when you separated yourself from me.”
It is often said that little children are innocent of sin (not the nature to sin but not yet held accountable). This may be so but only by God’s Grace, for I was already corrupted in my heart enough to fully defy a law I knew and took that which was not mine. I gave no thought to the consequences of my actions. I just did what I wanted to do.

What could I say? How could I deny what I had done? It was all laid bare for me to remember and witness. I could feel the horror rising up within me. Everything that was testifying against me was undeniable as though my life was video taped for all to see. Nothing was hidden as I thought it was. He knew. He had heard and seen everything that I had done. Even those things which I only thought silently to myself, were there to speak against me. If I could have hidden under a rock I would have asked to have the largest and heaviest one to cover me in the hope that He would never see me again. I cannot express what I was feeling completely. It is still beyond my ability to communicate this moment of my life to the fullest. There may be others who could truthfully say they understand because they have been there but I have yet to meet them.

My life was this wasted thing; useless for any good purpose. The pain of what I was in his sight was awful. I knew that He saw everything. “Take it away!” I thought. I could not stand it anymore. I began to cry uncontrollably. This whole experience was taking place in seconds and yet it changed my life forever.

I knew that only God could do this, even though I would have denied his existence only seconds earlier. I also knew that if I did die soon, everything that I was, would condemn me. I realized that the things I saw of myself could not stand to be in His presence. If I could have run away from what I was, I would have in that moment. As I sat there crying, I silently cried out to the God who had just revealed Himself to me, “God, if you will take away these things from me, I will serve you for the rest of my life.” And I meant it with everything in me.
If a life could be experienced as two sides of a two dimensional creation, I would say that is what just occurred- All of what I knew I had done was flipped over like a coin and I was now on the other side of an invisible line of existence. I was still “me” but I was no longer the “me” of a moment ago. I felt different. I was lighter, like I could almost fly away. I was happy beyond anything I had ever known and for the first time in my life, I understood love.

I ran out of the bedroom and told my mom what had just happened. She looked at me very skeptically and dismissed my experience. It was a long time for me to convince her that I had changed. “A mother’s son can do no wrong”. In her mind, I was always “good” in a manner of speaking.

“Grace” and “forgiveness” were two words that I learned about early in my new life. And while I was given both freely, for a time, I found it quite difficult to extend either to others. Grace, I learned is when you give someone what good things they don’t deserve and when you don’t give them the punishment that they do deserve. Forgiveness, I learned must be given completely without strings attached. This I discovered was very difficult for me.

That was September, 1983. I know this account is fantastic. I do not expect everyone to believe it. I have not found another person who has had a salvation story like this but many others can speak about their experiences with God and the miraculous things they have witnessed. I have had several other supernatural events occur since that time which would also appear as fantastic to those who do not know God. For those that do, such events are known and understood.

Through the years, God has given me patience for people. He has taught me to be merciful- a real character shift for me! He has taught me more and more about having faith in Him as well. Having lived trusting no one, this was problematic for me. However, I quickly absorbed from the Bible that the biblical characters that trusted God were never disappointed. God was faithful to them and when I asked him to take away the terrible things that had corrupted me, he did! Once I learned that lesson, I grew in my faith more quickly.

One of the difficult things I experienced the first year of being a believer was putting down my weapons. I typically carried an assortment. In January, I departed for the 82nd Airborne unit of the US army which I had signed up for before being saved. It was through this time which God dealt with me about compassion towards others. Leaving all weapons behind when I would leave my house finally happened. God gave me courage to walk in faith of Him- rather than fear of others and placing my security in my weapons. The compassion that was given me began to show in my life as I acted compassionately to others. This is one of the big ways God has been demonstrating His character in me. I have a love for people that is not my own- but His. I can show mercy now where I knew no mercy before Him.

There is more to this period of my life as well as the twenty years that followed. For now though, let this stand as my testimony of God’s grace given to me, a sinner. Instead of giving me the justice I deserved, he granted mercy and forgave my trespasses. He taught me to trust in Him- someone who I cannot see, yet my being firmly believes that he is and that he is faithful and just. He taught me to love deeply.

I testify therefore, as a witness of God’s love and mercy to me. He forgave me and made me a new creature. He loves me and is teaching me to love others.

In the Bible, people ask believers the question of “How can we be saved [from sin]?” The believer’s response is straight to the point: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” I now understand this. As the Bible states, “For God so loved the world [us- you and me] that he gave his only begotten Son. That whoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” – John chapter 3 verse 16, New Testament. I can now say that I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that God the Father sent Jesus to die for my sin. I accepted that Jesus died in my place, for my sin. I now have the freedom to follow God and choose His ways.


Jesus is Lord!



Along with my personal story of salvation, I want to share some of the wonderous events that God has has done in my life. Here are some things that I must consider "miraculous". The Bible is full of miraculous events that are read by many with skepticism because they happened so long ago that having any tangible evidence is difficult to display. Yet the Bible states that if all of the miracles that Jesus performed were written down, the volumes would fill the whole Earth. Please read on and consider what God could do in your life when you trust and obey. Click here to read about miracles in my life.

If you are visiting in Tucson, AZ, come and worship with us at Mountainview Church!

Visit us on facebook!