* Dr. John Worley

Professor Emeritus, Poultry Science Department

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Dr. Worley’s Spiritual Journey – Beginnings: During the 1950’s when I was growing up, my family lived in a rural area near what was at that time the “small town” of Alpharetta, GA. From a young age, I regularly attended church. Hearing sermons and listening to Bible lessons helped me to understand that I had a strong tendency to do things that were wrong and were offensive to God. I also learned that Jesus had died on the cross to pay the price for my wrong actions and to make things right between God and myself, and that I needed to accept this wonderful and undeserved gift from God. I can remember my father telling me “Wait for God to tell you when the time is right.” At the age of nine, with my limited understanding, I knew the time was right, and I asked God to forgive my wrongdoings and to come into my life and change me into the person He wanted me to be. Looking back, I understand that God forgave my sins and made me His child that day, but the process of molding me into someone He could use had only begun and continues even now.
Eternal Security: In my teenage years, I struggled from time to time wondering if I had done what I had to do to receive God’s forgiveness and acceptance. I knew that it was inconsistent to say that Jesus was my Savior and Lord and then to disobey Him, as I sometimes did. Then, at a church service I attended while home from college, I remember God communicating to me a clear assurance of my eternal security. I knew that my relationship to him was secure, based on His free gift and my acceptance of that gift. That assurance freed me to concentrate on God’s purpose for me in the lives of others instead of being focused on my own needs and insecurities.
Maturity: Over the next several years, God worked in my life to help me understand what the Christian life is all about. It is about putting God on the throne of my life (really allowing Him to rule my thoughts and deeds) and spending time with Him in His Word (the Bible) and talking with Him (prayer.) It is about letting Him have free reign in my life. What I can accomplish for Him is insignificant. What He can accomplish through me is unlimited. When God is in full-control of my life, the pressure is off me and it is up to Him to use me in whatever way He wants. Though, I continue to struggle with trying to take back control of my life whenever His way isn’t the way I would choose, He continues to patiently show me that His way is always the best way, and that I can trust Him to show me that way when I will listen to Him.
Life Difficulties: Probably the two most painful times in my life were during my divorce from my first wife (unwanted by me) and the unexpected death of my second wife after a wonderful 6-year marriage. Looking back at these painful experiences, God has taught me that He is able to meet my needs. He carried me through those times, and I have faith in Him that I could not have experienced without having gone through them. Just like a loving parent, He sometimes uses painful experiences to teach me things that I could not learn any other way. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” What I have learned is that the key to understanding this verse is in verse 29. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” God’s version of “working together for good” means that, first and foremost, He is working things out to conform me to the likeness of Jesus Christ, and sometimes it takes painful lessons to get me there.
Where I am: Today, I am so blessed, and my heart is so full of gratitude to God for what He has done and is doing in my life! He has provided a wonderful wife, a terrific church, and material blessings far above my needs. When I do experience fear or worry now, it usually is because I am afraid God wonít give me what I want. I know He will supply what I need, but often what I want is more than what I need. This causes me to try to get these things I want on my own and disregard God’s perfect plan and provision for my life. The more I learn to be satisfied with what I need, the more of God’s peace I have in my life. Life as a Christian can be tough, but a walk with God is worth it! There’s no doubt.