I was a demanding husband and father. I was convinced that I was in good spiritual condition but felt that my family members had significant spiritual needs. I think the reason their “problems” bothered me was because they made me look bad. After all, I was well known in the community and served as a deacon in our church—I wanted my family to make me look good.
Needless to say, I had a real problem with pride!
Revival began in my life with my getting honest with God. He began to quietly work on me. I’d been having trouble sleeping, and one night I was awake all night thinking about something I’d done several years earlier and had tried to forget. God was urging me to deal with this—something I considered a “closed case.” I knew that if I did what God was prompting me to do, I would risk going to prison.
I had been called as a witness in a federal court trial. Disturbed by the less-than-honorable motives of one of the parties involved, I determined that it was up to me to see that things “came out right.” Therefore, I purposely gave vague answers to direct questions. I did not tell “the whole truth” as I had sworn to do. So here I was, awake during the middle of the night, trying to reason with God that it was best to let bygones be bygones. It was too late. What good would it do?
But God didn’t agree! No matter what other areas of my life I surrendered or what deep sin struggles I confessed, this was the specific issue that God wanted to address. Finally I said, “Yes, Lord.” I called the judge’s office and explained my situation to his assistant. I told her that I had been dishonest on the witness stand and that God had impressed on me the need to make it right. I was prepared to do whatever the law required or receive whatever punishment was due me.
I didn’t hear back from the judge for seven months. That’s a long time to wait when you think you might be going to prison! But it was all a part of God’s cleansing process. Finally they called me to appear for a deposition, in which I would be questioned by attorneys from both sides. When I finally heard the outcome of that meeting, after waiting an additional five months, I was informed that neither side wished to reopen the case. I was a free man! Then again, my real freedom had come the year before when God first began to move in my life.
It hasn’t all been blissful, but many things in my life and family have changed as God continues to peel away the layers of pride and disobedience. My family now seems to want my leadership—a real change from my demanding it. The weaknesses and needs in others aren’t so bothersome to me. I feel a new compassion and patience toward people, now that I have faced the skeletons in my own closet. And I can sleep through the night.
Excerpt from Seeking Him by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Tim Grissom. Click to purchase your copy of this 12-week study on personal revival.