Life Story – R Alcorn

by Colin Dexter

I was raised in an unbelieving home. I came to Christ at 15. My mum became a Christian soon afterward. But my father was the most resistant person to the gospel I’ve ever known. He’d told me never to talk to him about that “religious stuff” again. At 84, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. One day he phoned, very upset.

“I’m in terrible pain. I’ve got a gun to my head. Sorry to leave you with a mess.”

I begged him to hold on. I made the 30-minute drive in 20, jumped out of the car and pounded on the door. No answer.

Taking a deep breath, I opened the door. On the floor I saw a rifle and a handgun. Calling out for my father, I turned the corner into his room, prepared for the worst. Eyes half closed, I bumped into him as he walked out. My heart racing, I rushed him to the hospital, where they scheduled him for surgery the next morning.

I arrived an hour before surgery, praying that in his despair, with no easy way out, my dad would turn to Christ. Standing by his bed, I opened my Bible to Romans. I began reading in chapter three. “There is none righteous, no, not one … All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Those weren’t easy words to read. My tavern-owner father had always taken hot offense at being called a sinner. I wanted to gloss over this portion, moving quickly to the good news of God’s grace. But I forced myself to keep reading, verse after verse, about human sin. Why? Because I told myself, If I really love Dad, I have to tell him the whole truth. If God’s going to do a miracle of conversion here, that’s His job. My job is to say what He says.

We made it to Romans 6, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then Romans 10, about being saved through confessing Jesus as our risen Lord.

Finally I looked Dad in the eyes and asked, “Have you ever confessed your sins and asked Jesus Christ to forgive you?”

“No,” he said in a weak voice. He paused, then added, “But … I think it’s about time I did.”

I’ll never forget that moment. The impossible took place right before my eyes: my father prayed aloud, confessed his sins and placed his faith in Christ just before they wheeled him into surgery.

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching biblical truth and drawing attention to the needy and how to help them.

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