My Father Planned it All

In the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, something good happened in Cochranton, Pennsylvania. The local Presbyterian church was in need of a pastor. And being unable to find a pastor from their own denomination, they interviewed a man from the Evangelical United Brethren. The church extended the call to him, but before accepting, he made one stipulation. He must be allowed to give a salvation invitation at the conclusion of every service. The leadership of the church agreed to this and the man began preaching the gospel in the United Presbyterian church.

The Spirit used his presentation of the gospel to open the hearts of quite a few people, including a little boy named Hobart. As Hobart listened to the message, he began thinking about his own sinfulness. Could God save someone like him? One morning, as the pastor preached, the good news of the gospel pierced his heart. But when the invitation was given, he didn’t respond. He wanted to make that commitment by himself away from the pressures of the crowd. Finally one evening, Hobart knelt beside his bed and called out to the Lord for salvation. And that night, God saved him.

Shortly after Hobart’s conversion, the church began to experience a division within its membership. While people had been saved under this pastor’s ministry, some of the members began to feel agitated. It may have been his constant use of the salvation invitation that caused them to dislike him. But some think the problem was the fact that many of the older members simply didn’t know the Lord. The pastor’s continued stress on salvation caused them to squirm in their seats. But, whatever the case may be, the older members got their way, and the gospel preaching pastor finally left the church.

This true story was told to me by my father-in-law during the week of Thanksgiving. The story is especially interesting because it is the account of his own conversion. It is also a wonderful account of how God graciously placed his servant in the right place at the right time. As you consider what God did for one boy many years ago, think also of the details of your own conversion. No matter how exciting or dull your story may seem to be, it is good to look back and see how God planned it all out. What a great God we serve!