Back to None is So Fierce...
Chuck Cox's Testimony
My thanks to Chuck for writing his story.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."
I'd been challenged many times with words but I had no understanding of what the preachers were trying to tell me.
This time in the Bahama Islands I had a different challenge. It was sunny and beautiful. The water was crystal clear. A couple of friends and I were going out skin diving, We had a 21ft Tri-hull boat and we loaded up for a days spear fishing.
Going out of the Harbour in Nassau, it was early and we could smell the Coffee making as we passed Paradise Island, it all added to the excitment. Life was good.
The fishing that day was great. We would pull up to a shoal, and drop over the side and check out for spiny Lobster and Grouper, then go to the next one.
We pulled up to this shoal, dropped the anchor, then we all dropped over the side for a look around, I swam off in one direction, the other guys went another.
I was down deep looking through the coral for spiny Lobster. The Coral is beautiful and it is alive with sea life, The sun was bright that day and the visability was excellent. I was going up and down the shoal when suddenly I felt a dark shadow pass over between me and the sun. Looking up....thinking it was one of the guys, then going into Shock! I saw him....there he was ....the owner of the shoal!
A shark twice my size was looking me over, He was definatly interested as he glided around me.
He was big and he swam better than me. In panic I tried to keep him in front of me.
Earlier that morning I would have said that I didnt know if there was a creator God. I thought maybe a force...I dont know, I didn't think anyone knows.
I'm certainly not convinced by preachers or christian testimony. So much for words....my fear turned to terror each time he came closer or made a quick move......out of my guts...involuntarily, came a cry to God for help!
My moment of truth...there is no one else, I hadn't thought about it, I hadn't planned it, my cry just came out - God help me!
Swimming backward always keeping him in front view, I moved toward the boat. when I reached the boat I found I couldn't take my eyes off the shark to get aboard.
Just when I thought the time was right, now or never, I turned my back on the shark and scrambled aboad, TERROR!
The other guys were already in the boat - "What took you so long?" I was trying to get my breath back and still be "cool" I made a lame joke, "I thought I was going to have to kill him."
I was weak from fear, Taking deep breaths and regained my composure.
They pulled anchor and started the motor, we were out of there, we went for a little ride away from there and then found another shoal, this time we used the water glass to look around first before we dropped over the side.
I marveled to myself that I had called out to God. A God I didn't know. I would puzzle about that many times in the days ahead.
I left Nassau, Bahama's. God was still a puzzle to me but in Reno, Nevada, another piece of the puzzle was about to fit into place. (Psalm 139 7:10)
At Nassau Airport I went through to the plane, I was leaving this beautiful place for a time but I would be back.
Winging across the sea, it was a beautiful day. I crossed the USA to the West, landing in Reno, Nevada.
My partners and I had leased a store front shop near "Hassah's club" (I think this is what Chucks handwriting means - Peter) and we were cleaning it up. I was picking up rubbish when I found a small Bible that had been thrown away, I dusted it off and decided to keep it to read.
After reading here and there, I decided to read it properly. So I started "In the beginning God.......
I found it interesting and really got into it. I like history and true stories so I read it right through, it took me a year and a half, in fact, I was back in Nassau, Bahama's again when I finished it.
It was here in Nassau that I met Dr. David Clifford the founder of Moorlands Bible collage in England.
About that time I realised the Bible was more than just a history book, it was a Happening! it was amazing, a book about the Supreme being and about life.
What to do about it didnt know but Dr. Clifford did, He answered my questions and encouraged me to keep reading the Bible. He lead me in a prayer to surrender my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a verse in the Bible, St Luke 9:62, that was pressed on my mind as I considered surrendering my life to Christ, it says " Jesus said to him, no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God."
This really hammered me. How would I ever be able to keep such a commitment? I felt sure I was destined to failure. However, as I thought on these things another verse came into my mind. St Luke 8:26-27 And they that heard it said "who then can be saved? (My question exactly!) And Jesus said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
This all seemed to run repeatedly through my mind, suddenly I realised....I wasn't going to figure out a way, God was! it wasn't left up to me. God found a way!
Well the joy that welled up in me. Sure God could save me, and keep me! He was Lord of all!
I really got excited. I felt assured and the book I had been reading for a year and a half took on much greater significance, I could hardly put it down, it was wonderful and joy filled my soul.
I was saved... I was forgiven... I was baptized by Dr.Clifford in the Ocean off the beach in Nassau. I didn't see the shark that day but I was ready for him. I was saved!
The Lord gave me wonderful assurance. St John 14:21 " He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
I had experienced a transformation in my life. 2 Cor 5:17 truly has happened to me. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new."
My life up to then had a searching...trying to discover meaning, always seeking excitement and another distraction. But always ending on empty.
By the standards of society I was a nice guy. I had done lots of things....studied dramatics in New York and Hollywood... worked in movies and television...I'd managed Hotels in New York, Nassau, Bahama's and Miami Beach...I'd been a Las Vegas Casino dealer....owned shops in Nassau and in Reno, Nevada......But lets get real!
Before I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.... I was a liar, a cheat, a thief, selfish, unloving and immoral, just to mention a few of my failings.
The Lord showed me great grace....unmerited favour....yes indeed!
Presently I'm working as a missionary in the U.K. I represent " Mitch Puppet Ministries"
M.I.T.C.H. which stands for Moral Instructon to Children. I am the Director of Puppetry and I train puppeteers through "Skills in Puppetry" Seminars around the U.K. I write puppet programes and train people to do school assemblies, childrens clubs and family services.
I've discovered one lifetime is not long enough so I've decided to spend my small window of time serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you are like me, there are probably a lot of things you would like to do in this life.
One of mine is to do a Motorcycle ride US , the pacific coast Highway in California again.
Another thing is to have another look at that shark in the Bahama's. But I've chosen the best....I'll serve the Lord.
But what about you? what will you do with your life? How will you ever face God? - Get real!
Dudley, West Midlands,UK