From now on, once or twice a month, I will be sharing an awesome testimonies from people I know on how they got saved. This special testimony is from my favorite Sunday school teacher, Jim Dowling.
I was raised Roman Catholic and spent two of my high school years in a Catholic seminary studying to become a priest. I had my mind set to pursue ordination to the priesthood but I was dismissed from the seminary because of some infraction that was not disclosed to my parents or me. I still don’t know what it was. I just look back and see the hand of the Lord removing me from my pursuit. I remained in the church and was a faithful member until my late 20’s. Then I began to question some of the doctrines of the church. Especially troubling was the requirement to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. It was classified as a mortal sin with the penalty of hell if not confessed. It was later rescinded. I reasoned that sin is sin and to change it was a serious inconsistency. I wondered about those who supposedly went to hell for this mortal sin and now it was no longer considered sin. This began my exit from the church and my drift into agnosticism.
Prior to leaving the Catholic Church, I had become a law-enforcement officer. In this position I saw much suffering and death and when my Catholic faith dissolved, I began to question the purpose of life wondering if there really was a God?
One day I investigated a traffic accident where two marines home on leave from front line action in Viet Nam were killed in a horrific crash. This event had a profound effect on me as I contemplated why something like this could happen. They were spared when in harms way and killed while on leave. it seemed absurd to me and reinforced my agnosticism.
But I was still somewhat uneasy in my thinking that God was not real. My catholic beliefs had planted some roots about the existence of God that I could not completely discard.
Then one quiet afternoon while patrolling in my police car, I was pondering whether or not there was a God. I prayed and asked God if He really existed, and if He did to somehow reveal Himself to me.
A couple of days later I was dispatched to a Baptist church to assist the pastor in removing an abandoned car from their church property. During our conversation, I asked him what he believed and he told me about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I left and pondered what he said but did not make a decision at that time.
Several months later I watched a Billy Graham Crusade on television two nights in a row. But on the third night I as working outside in my yard and felt an inner urge to go inside and watch the crusade a third time. I resisted for a while reasoning that I had already watched it two times. Then my wife and daughter were invited to a neighbor’s home leaving my house empty. The thought to go inside and watch the third crusade became more compelling and I finally yielded, went inside and watched the program. I had no expectation as to what was about to happen when Billy Graham gave the invitation. I remember him saying that it didn’t matter where I was watching the telecast; I could accept Christ as my Savior wherever I was.I then felt what I now know was the moving of the Holy Spirit opening my mind and heart to respond, and that evening I received Jesus as my Savior in the family room of my home. My life changed dramatically and I told my testimony to anyone who would listen.