August 28, 2010

The Epistle of Dale - Bruce Atchison

Unlike spoken communication, writing allows a person to organize thoughts without distracting interjections. Though we have telephones, letters via the post and the Internet still provide time for contemplation.

During my rebellion against God, he used a most unusual man to introduce a key truth to me, one that eventually lead to my repentance. From my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir, here is how the Lord used a radio program host thousands of miles away to point me in the right direction.

In January of 1994, I discovered Tempered Steel, a Christian death metal program, on an American shortwave station called WWCR. The aggressiveness of the music appealed to me and the lyrics that I could understand didn't sound preachy.

I entered a contest and won a compilation cassette of Vengeance, one of the bands featured on the show.

When I received the tape, I wrote Dale, the program host, a thank-you letter. As he seemed like a decent guy who would give me straight answers, I asked him about why Christ denied my many petitions for full sight.

Instead of a photocopied form letter, he sent a four-page hand-written epistle. I opened the letter after supper and read it all.

Dale wrote in part, "Bruce, I want ya to know that I truly sympathize on ya on your situation -- not sorry, just compassion. Well bro, based on the Word of God, I honestly believe ya are gettin' some very bad council. Let me try to explain. I believe very VERY strongly in the sovereignty of God. By that, I mean in God's control & direct influence on the events of our lives. I believe that our lives and the course it takes is determined by our Heavenly Father."

Dale then told me of his personal struggles and how he saw God work through them. "However, Bruce, I'm totally convinced that the Lord can deliver me from the 'bondage' in an instant!" But, guess what, it hasn't happened yet!"

Then he surprised me by writing: "Is it because of sin in our lives? Everyone is guilty of that." He referenced John 8:7 which says, "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.'" Dale then added, "Because our parents sinned?" and referenced John 9:1-3.

A light came on in my mind. I had never connected the blind man's plight in the story with my own situation. Could my poor sight really be something through which God could glorify himself?

"Lack of faith?" Dale added. "No bro, it is Jesus who does the healing."

He ended his letter by saying, "Bruce, I truly believe that everything happens for the primary purpose of bringing honour and glory to the Lord."

That sounded nice but it didn't help me deal with not being healed.

Leaders of the cult church that I was a member of for more than fifteen years kept insisting that I had unconfessed sin, a lack of faith, or ancestral sin blocking my healing. John 9:1-3 showed me that I wasn't lacking in faith or righteousness but God is glorified even through disabilities. My hope now is that I can encourage victims of name-it-and-claim-it preachers that we really do have a loving heavenly father who is glorified through our weakness.

Please visit my web page where my two memoirs and writing career information are presented. God willing, I hope to have How I Was Razed in print by the end of the year and a blurb about that book on the site.

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