"I will not close this service," the speaker insisted, "until this person comes forward. There is one person here for whom this will be the last chance." With words of knowledge that only the Spirit Himself could have revealed, he continued: "I've called you before. I will not call you again ..."

His Only Son

David's Story


Inspired Art copyrighted by Danny Hahlbohm

If my brother were alive today, I know he'd want his story told.

My dad had high expectations for his only son, and David experienced great pressure to live up to those expectations -- more so than us girls, who breezed right through school with little difficulty. David was a poor reader, failed a grade, and had to struggle for his C's and D's.

The only boy in a family of seven daughters, my brother often felt alienated from the rest of us. Thus, he seemed to look for acceptance in relationships outside the home. This led him, during his teen years, to hang out with the "wrong crowd" -- he joined a rock band, got messed up in drugs, and began a downhill turn at 100 miles per hour.

Because he was special to me, I had often talked to my brother about God's love for him, of his need to be saved, to surrender his life to Jesus Christ. But David claimed to be an atheist. He could rationally disprove the existence of God in the most profound of words. He didn't need God, he said; God was for the weak, for those who needed a crutch.

But his life was empty.

When I left home to attend Bible School in upstate New York, I continued to pray for David's salvation. Three years later, when I called home and he answered the phone, sounding so depressed, I sensed something was wrong. He didn't say much. But my spirit was agonizing to pray for him. It was a burden I could not ignore. I fasted for days, devoting all my time to intercessory prayer.

An 11-page letter followed, in which I poured out my heart to the brother I loved and longed to see saved. I told him of God's love for him personally, that all the things that seemed so important now would someday be gone: and where would that leave him? I told him that, were his friends all to desert him; and were he to lose his job, his health, and everything -- still Jesus would be there, just when he needed him most.

Little did I know ... but the day had come -- even as that letter was being written -- that every support in his life was being removed. In a week's time, everything had come crashing down. He had been kicked out of college, laid off his job, and lost it all: his friends, his future, and almost his mind.

"I have to go see Diane," David told my dad. He would not wait till morning, when my father could withdraw the money from the bank to buy him a plane ticket to make the thousand-mile trip. He had to see me, he said, and he had to come now.

I had little contact with my family during those years; my dad had kicked me out at 16 when I left the Catholic Church and gave my life to Jesus. So when I received the long-distance call I knew something was wrong. And, although I was thrilled at the news that my brother was coming to see me, still I could not help but sense the regret and forboding in my parents' voices as they told me he wouldn't wait for a plane, but had already left: hitchhiking. I knew they were not pleased with the idea of his visit; they expressed their anger at my having even invited him. Now I sensed a concern in their voice, not so much for his safety (he was 22 years old, hardly a child), but that he not "go the same way" (spiritually) that I, and some of my sisters after me, had gone.

David arrived an emotional wreck. He had been mugged in a dark park in New York City, robbed outside the Western Union, and had been on the road for days, lost and without a place to stay. He looked thin and withdrawn. His bout with drugs had left him paranoid and confused, and he spoke as if he were weary with life altogether. Everything he said and did seemed to take an effort. But he was here, at last -- safe and sound. And desperate enough this time around to qualify, by his own description, as "one of those weak people -- who need God."

It was a Saturday afternoon in the Spring of the year, and all creation was bursting with the hope of new beginnings. Buds were forming and the campus was greening with new life. We took long walks around the 170-acre campus. There was so much to say. We spoke of the scriptures and talked of eternal things: things that matter. David's heart was fertile and receptive to the Words of Life.

An announcement was made that that evening an unknown evangelist would be addressing the student body in a service all were required to attend. This was highly unusual for a Saturday night, for special speakers normally would be invited to speak the next morning, on a Sunday. But the guest speaker would be in town only for the evening, and so the special meeting was arranged.

Now, it hardly bears stating that most people who attend Bible School have already given their hearts to Jesus Christ. But there, on that Saturday night, in a Bible School, the salvation message was presented before us all, as the entire student body waited. The altar call was given ... again, and again.

"I will not close this service," the speaker insisted, "until this person comes forward. There is one person here for whom this will be the last chance." With words of knowledge that only the Spirit Himself could have revealed, he continued: "I've called you before. I will not call you again. You've tried it all. Now there is nowhere else to turn. You cannot go back. Your friends have left you, your family -- you've lost it all -- your job, everything."

The music played. The air was intense. Oh, please, God, do not let him go! Draw him by Your Spirit, I prayed.

Then, drawn as if by the pull of a magnet, my brother arose from his seat and went forward.

"For the first time in my life I feel peace," he told me later. "Such peace!" The depression had lifted. David had found meaning and purpose in life. God was real!

My father was enraged to hear of his son's conversion. When David called home to tell him of his newfound faith, and of the peace and joy he now had, he was disowned.

"As far as I'm concerned," my father told him, "I never had a son. Don't call here anymore! And don't come back, either. As far as I'm concerned, you're six feet under!"

David finished off the remainder of the school year with me. With summer coming, and not knowing what else to do or where to go, he decided to hitchhike around the country. God would lead him to a new home, he believed.

I never saw him again. On a rainy night, along the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, a tractor-trailer truck struck my brother and, at 22 years of age, he went home to be with the Lord.

None of us ever knows when we will be called Home. David was "in the prime of his life." He still had a year of college to finish and "his whole life ahead of him." No one expected him to leave us so soon.

"Be ye also ready," Jesus said, "for ye know not what hour ..." (Luke 12:39, 40)

The news of David's death took a serious toll on our family. However, we have all been made more aware of the brevity of life, and the importance of making each day count. We are still praying for the salvation of our father*, to whom the story of God's love at Calvary will be sure to have a special meaning: that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son ..." (John 3:16)

© 1984 Diane S. Dew

* I am thrilled to report that my father, now in his 70s, recently accepted the Lord and is a "new man." Praise God!


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