Testimony - Clayton Owens

 

I would like to share an event that revealed to me the depths of God’s Love.

I will begin with a little background on myself. I grew up in a Pentecostal family that did not consistently go to Church on Sundays. The Sundays that we did go, I was almost always forced. I made numerous attempts to stay home but my creativity always failed me. During the service at some point I would hear how God loved me and sent His Son to die on a cross for my sins. Then with a child’s understanding, I would say the sinner’s prayer. I said the sinner’s prayer many times before I truly accepted the Lord as my savior and was baptized at the age 13.

I went through my teenage years making mistakes and often falling short. But fortunately God is forgiving and was patient with me. The years continued, I got married, became a firefighter, and had twin boys, all the while my relationship with God could be described as only a flickering flame.

In 1994, despite a sometime rocky journey, my relationship with God had grown and I truly understood the assurance of having Jesus as my Savior. My twin boys, Matthew and Benjamin, were 5 years old when Benjamin began to develop more bruises on his arms and legs than the average 5 year old boy. Because I was just finishing Nursing School I had assumed something was going on with his liver. But then Benjamin’s joints began to swell and cause him pain. This immediately through up a red flag to me. I do not know if I shared my fear with Amy at this point or not. To be honest, I have a hard time remembering the chronicle order of events as this was the beginning of the most painful time of my life.

What I do remember vividly was being at the fire station and receiving the phone call from Amy that the pediatrician wanted Benjamin to see a Hematologist. For me, that confirmed my fear that Benjamin had leukemia. I hung up the phone a broken man and cried. For many days that followed, during random times I would begin crying. That led to praying, and then usually continued to crying and praying at the same time. I was broken.

Amy and I came to the point of surrendering Benjamin to the Lord and allowing His Will to be done in Benjamin’s life. But despite having the assurance that God was in control, I hurt. My son was in pain and potentially facing death and as his father; I could not do anything but watch. In my many, many prayers I never made conditional promises to God but I begged to take Benjamin’s place. My desire to take Benjamin’s place were not just words, I pleaded from my heart.

The hematologist was with us in the examination room less than 3 minutes when he told us that Benjamin would be fine. The hematologist explained that Benjamin did not have leukemia but had Purpura, a self limiting autoimmune disease with the similar signs and symptoms of leukemia. That was the best news I could have ever imagined us receiving, my son would be okay in time. I cannot begin to explain the relief and joy I felt. Benjamin was back to being a normal 5 year old in a few weeks and today is a healthy 22 year old.

Through this experience I gained an understanding that God loves me. Not God loves me but God LOVES ME! God loves me so much that He sacrificed His only son for me. I begged to take Benjamin’s place so he wouldn’t have to experience the physical and mental pain associated with a terminal disease. But God willingly sent His son Jesus to the cross for me, despite knowing the pain, anguish, and physical death he would experience. That is a depth of love I could never give but am eternally grateful to receive. God loves me!

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