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Jul20FriThough I had strayed from God and the church, he never gave up on me. July 20, 2018 by Barry Morgan
In October 2016, I lay in a hospital bed, facing a grim future. I’d been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a serious lung disease caused by the asbestos I’d been exposed to while working as a firefighter. Even though it was the middle of the night, I couldn’t sleep. As I lay there worrying about the future, I realized that I didn’t feel alone in the room. Although I’d been away from my faith, I knew God was with me.
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Born and raised in Conception Bay South, N.L., The Salvation Army has always played a role in my life. In 1969, I was enrolled as a junior soldier and accepted as a corps cadet in 1973. I wanted to be an officer when I grew up.
But as I got older, I fell in with the wrong crowd. I got out into the world and hung around with people who weren’t Christians, and I allowed them to pull me away from my faith. I began playing guitar in a bar band, and got involved with drugs and alcohol.
I wanted a different way of life. I wanted to stop faking it.Despite everything, I still found time to attend church. Every time I went, I would go to the altar and ask Jesus into my life, but the next day, I would be back doing the same old things and living the wrong way. I felt like a fake. This pattern continued for many years.
Finally, in 1993, I met a woman named Shirley and we were married. While I settled down, I still felt as though something was missing in my life.
Everything changed that night in the hospital, when I poured out my heart to God.
Before then, I hadn’t been to church in about 10 years. But on October 30, 2016, I returned to The Salvation Army’s Conception Bay South Corps. I wanted a different way of life. I wanted to stop faking it and make it real this time. I was ready to make a true commitment to my faith.
I went to the mercy seat and asked God to take full control of my life.
The moment I did, I was like a man walking on air. A big weight was off my shoulders and the load of sin was gone.
I began attending the new believers class so I could learn more about my refound faith. I also discovered that there was a hymn written just for me: He Touched Me.
I love the song because that’s exactly what God did to me in that hospital bed. He reached out and touched me to tell me that I wasn’t alone. God never gave up on me.
In God’s Hands
In June 2017, I jumped at the chance to be enrolled as a senior soldier by General André Cox as he led congress and commissioning events in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was an honour.
In October 2017, things got even better when Shirley gave her life to the Lord. I was overjoyed. We’ve always had a good marriage, but now it’s even better. It’s made a huge difference in our home.
Shirley is now attending the class for new believers and she is involved in the home league. She never misses church now.
I’m involved at church, too. I help with technical operations in the sound room, sing and play my guitar for Sunday services. I also provide the music when the men’s fellowship group visits local nursing homes to minister to the residents.
Since January, I’ve been on the waiting list to have a lung transplant. I have good days and bad days with my health, but I know I’m in God’s hands. Whatever I face, I will not be facing it alone.