FIRST PERSON: GOD CALLED, I FAILED
Terry Wilson – Harmony Baptist Church
MT. PLEASANT, MI – It was an unusually warm fall Saturday afternoon. It was my day off. I was free from the labor of stress of a normal workday, and free from the mind-crunching ordeal of college classes. It was just myself accompanied by my two children, both toddlers. I decided not to prepare a meal that day, but instead to treat us to some fast food deliciousness packed with yummy fattening calories. I was standing in line waiting for my chance to order. My patience by this time was wearing thin. Asking two toddlers to remain quiet and still was an impossibility. I was trying to keep these two unruly children in line. I didn’t care about any other people around me, and a smile could not be found on my face. By this time, I wanted to get my food, sit down, and maybe, just maybe, just enjoy that yummy calorie packed meal. I did not have any desire to converse with anyone around me.
Little did I know that someone else there in the restaurant that day did not have that same desire. A man in line behind me decided he wanted to talk with me. As he attempted to engage me in conversation, I just put a fake smile on my face and nodded in an attempt not to be rude or disrespectful. By the time I had received my food, however, surprisingly I found myself engaged in a conversation with this man.
We spoke of children. We spoke of jobs. I found I could relate with this man and his story. I admit that I was intrigued and wanted to just listen to him. He spoke in a manner that was captivating. As he shared with me his story, he began to describe how God had impacted his life. I indeed was captivated. I wanted more. He shared with me love. He shared that God loved all regardless of the life we lived or how bad we failed in life. He told me and showed me that it was Christ who empowered him. By this time, he had my undivided attention. Miraculously, my two children were sitting in the booth quietly and content with their happy meal and toy. The kids did not need or desire my attention. So, with this man having all my attention, he led me to accepting a savior, giving up control of my life and giving it to Jesus Christ.
To this day, it amazes me how two unruly kids suddenly were calm and content, and in that moment, a strange man saw in me a struggle. He knew he needed to speak with me, and share that wonderful message of love and grace. God calmed the storm that day; a storm that raged in two toddlers, and a storm that raged in the form of bitterness within me.
I was a single dad raising two children out of wedlock, but God still called me into His loving family that day. Little did I know, I would later fail Him. To this day, I am unaware of this guy’s name, but I know he led me to the Lord which changed my life forever. He invited us to Peoples Baptist Church that Sunday which started my life-long obsession with scripture, and would eventually awaken me to His call on my life.
I served at that church for a couple years until I moved north. When I moved, I immediately started visiting churches, looking for that “perfect church” that felt like home. I was looking for the same connection that I had at Peoples Baptist Church. I was unsuccessful in my search. I used the excuse that “until I find a church that feels like home, until I feel that connection, I’m not going”. I eventually stopped looking and soon found myself fallen back into the world. That’s when I failed God.
Pastor Terry Wilson with his family. (Photo courtesy Harmony Baptist Church)
On a Saturday afternoon unusually warm, and much like the day I first accepted Christ, I found myself on my knees. I had suddenly realized I was at the lowest point in my life. I believe God brought me to my knees to the point where the only way to climb was up. He spoke to my heart that day and told me “it’s not the connection with the people or the church you seek, it’s that connection with me, and the best place to get that connection is in my house”. I immediately rededicated my life to Christ and to serving Him.
From that day forward, I went to church and invested myself to Him and His work. A year later, I met my beautiful wife, Melanie, who also had adopted two children. We eventually married and God blessed us with a miracle, a baby boy! You see, my wife did not think she could ever have children. However, God revealed to us His power.
After a few years serving in His church, I felt the Lord’s calling on my life, but I denied it and used Moses’ excuse, “Why me? I’m not good at talking to people”, then I said, “but I already failed you once. What if I fail at preaching?” Many things came into my head. I was reminded of my life of sin before I knew Christ. Satan tried to get in my head. But, God said to me, “my grace as well as my forgiveness is more than sufficient, I called you, I can use you.” God was not taking ‘no’ for an answer. So I replied, “I will follow you.” I took my love for scripture and enrolled in a Grace Bible College. I am now almost four years into ministry.