A Sailor Saved Through the Scriptures

T. J. Lawson, B. A.

Part 1 of 1 of the series Testimonies

Category: Seniors' Pages

It was in the year 1941 that I was called for service in the Royal Navy. That proved to be the great turning-point in my life and carter.

For a young man of nineteen, brought up in a comfortable home in a quiet country village, with parents who were at least God-fearing, this was something of a crisis, looked forward to with mixed feelings, I certainly anticipated a measure of freedom, but couplet) with that there was a sense of awe as I faced an unknown future.

As I left that little East Anglian village behind, with Service life ahead, I was firmly convinced in my own mind that I was a Christian, and " as good a fellow as the next," I had attended the village church regularly, and considered this quite! Sufficient; but now I began to wonder whether my Christianity would stand the strain and testing of Service life.

Looking back, I can see that, once the home influences were removed, I began to drift unconsciously, because I had "pro­fession " without " possession," using the title o£ Christian without knowing Christ as my personal Saviour, I was trying to build without a firm foundation.

Very soon I was drafted to Iceland, where at that time we lived under very primitive conditions. The men with whom I was stationed found their recreation in the beer-canteen. All too soon, as one who could not swim against the current, I began to go with them, quite unaware of my sad spiritual condition. I still attended church services regularly at the camp: Sunday morning would find me in the little chapel, seeking to worship God and perhaps to ease my conscience; but on Sunday evening my footsteps would be drawn once more towards the canteen. It seemed as though I were living a double life, both sides of which were empty, for Satan had thoroughly blinded my eyes to the truth of the gospel.

After a year in that dismal land, I returned home and was immediately drafted to a ship in the River Clyde. Here again I was faced with something entirely new-life on board ship, which often leaves much to be desired-and I continued my downward drift. Then one day a young man joined the ship and, as we lived and worked together, we soon knew each other well. I took to Mm at once, though his outlook was quite different from mine. His life was lived on a higher piano and he seemed satisfied, whilst I lived a life of self-pleasure and knew little satisfaction. The more I saw of him and of his life, the more dissatisfied I became, and I can see now that through his life I was convicted of sin, and that brought the longing to know the peace, joy and satisfaction that, he enjoyed.

Then came the great turning-point in my experience for, as I sought for " something," I knew not what, I was driven to read God's Word-a thing I had never done before, in spite of all my church-going. At night I would go down to the little chapel, searching the Bible for peace. So anxious was I becoming now, that I determined to buy myself a Bible. Then I would read it in my hammock, in the rather eerie gleam of a lone police light. But the Holy Spirit illuminated the words I read and it was grad­ually brought home to me, for the very first time, that on the Cross Jesus had died for my sins. How often I had sung the old Easter hymns, without realizing the truth of the words I Now I accepted the blessed fact that " He bore my sins in His body on the tree." I had been christened and confirmed before, but now I was converted) Yes, praise God, lie saved me, and I knew what it was to have peace and satisfaction for the first time.

In reading the Scriptures, I had sought and found the Saviour, and now, several years later, I can truly say, " the more I get to know Him, so the more I find Him true, and the more I long that others should be led to know Him tool" So may God use this simple testimony to encourage you to obey the command of the Lord Jesus Christ and to prove Him true to His word:

"SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; FOR . . . THEY . . . TESTIFY OF ME " (John 5. 29).