Rev. Edgar F. Wheeler: 45 Know Your Dad/Grandpa/Friend

Many of you have lived with me for many years, others have been around and seen me for only a few years. Since you are familiar with my face, have seen me sometimes serious, sometimes “silly,” you may feel that you know me. Many of your impressions have been accurate, others have not been. You have probably formed both favorable and unfavorable opinions. In fact, though, one never knows a person beyond the degree to which that person chooses to be known. That is the reason I am writing this.

Our background has great influence on the direction our lives take. Mine no less. My parents were devoted followers of Christ, living out their faith in simple honesty. They were faithful members of the church, which profoundly influenced my life.

We lived on a Kansas farm and lived through some difficult times of depression. Hard work and frugality were some virtues we learned. My parents taught us honesty, responsibility and respect for others. I was next to the youngest of five children who survived infancy, and we had a wonderfully close family relationship (with our share of childish fights).

Parental teaching and example were a major factor in my belief in God. The church was another. An acquaintance of youth was yet another.

It seemed that God planted in me an awareness of Himself from earliest childhood. My belief was sincere, but it was flawed. I believed that God was perfect, and that in order to be accepted by Him one had to be perfect as well. This caused me much fear, because I knew I was anything but perfect. My concept of God was that He would not hesitate to cast sinners into judgment (a burning hell picture in my mind). I had been taught about Jesus Christ, but that only made my fear worse, for now I had before me a perfect example of what I should be like. Again I failed in this, causing much anguish, especially during my teen years with their passions and confusion.

The change came when I was 18 years of age. A formerly wayward acquaintance came to believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour. His life was drastically changed (he experienced a new birth), and he introduced me to Jesus Christ as the Saviour whom God sent into the world to die for forgiveness of sin and to bring us to a relationship of love and trust for God. This was what I needed–to know God as the God of mercy, as well as the God of perfection.

John 3:16 became real to me: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The 17th verse goes on to say, “For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” So that was what Jesus Christ and the cross was all about. God is love, and He is merciful. Jesus Christ came and died on the cross as proof that would call believers to God and make it possible for them to live in trust and assurance.

So my life, with all its flaws, is lived with the intention of living in the way that Jesus taught us by word and example that we should live. That is the will of God in our thoughts, words and actions. This is one way we can help others to know God and to know that He is to be loved, trusted and obeyed. Now I hope that you really know me.

It is the prayer of both myself and Mom/Grandma that each one of our family will be open followers of Christ and help others to follow Him.

Next Chapter: 46 A Mountain In Kansas

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