* Dr. Mike Yoder

Lecturer, College of Engineering

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When I was young, I went to various Sunday morning church services with my family (father, mother, brother, and sister).  My parents thought it would teach us (children) good morals. Sometime during high school our family quit going to church.  In college, I didn’t really believe there was a God. Actually, I didn’t think that much about a lot of things.

I was married to a woman I dearly loved on October 25, 1980.  I was extremely selfish at that time. I had an awful temper and terrible language. In 1987 my wife had enough and decided to divorce me.  While I have no recollection now of what month it was, I can vividly remember where we were and what we were doing, and I remember the disturbed look on her face.  When she told me of her decision to divorce me, I was shocked.  This was the last thing I ever thought would happen to me! I realize now that I worshipped her. She was my life, and without her there seemed to be no purpose in living. For the first time I began to wonder what the meaning of life was.  I began a search to answer this question, and my search continued for five years.  I read many different books, and I listened to different people talk about spiritual things on television.  I even tried Transcendental Meditation for a while. I remember various people telling me about God and Jesus.

Then, on Sunday morning, May 31, 1992, I felt an incredible “pull” to walk over to a nearby church.  It almost felt like a rope was tied to me, and someone was pulling on it. From what I remember, I had not been invited to the church, and I didn’t even know what time the service started.  During the service, the preacher said something that I believe was meant just for me, although I can’t remember now what he said. However, I went to the front of the church and knelt at the altar. Two men came beside me and they led me in a prayer.  I confessed my sins to God and asked Him to forgive me. I understood that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins. I surrendered my life to God, and I asked Him to take control of my life.

I soon found out that the pastor’s oldest son had been killed while riding his bicycle only days earlier.  The entire church was mourning, and a preacher from another church was filling in for the pastor.

After saying the prayer at the church altar, I didn’t feel any different; however, my life started to change.  I started reading the Bible and memorizing verses of Scripture. During the previous years I hated being around children. I was so extremely selfish that I didn’t even want to be in the same room where there were children. Well, a few weeks after my prayer I was playing with the children at church!  I eventually taught Sunday School to the children.

God has continued to change my life, year after year. Perhaps the greatest change has been my pride. I used to be extremely proud and arrogant. I thought I was better than others, in almost every way. I didn’t think I needed other people in my life. I was blind to how obnoxious I was. I previously had a terrible temper, and I would get extremely angry and curse any time I didn’t get my way. Slowly, over the years, God continues to make me humble. I care much less about what others think of me, because I know I am accepted by God. When I’m teaching a class and I make a mistake, I simply acknowledge my mistake and I genuinely thank the student that pointed it out.

When various problems arise in my life, I now have peace, because I know God is in control over absolutely everything. I could fill books with different ways that God has answered my prayers. I still often complain, but I am now so much more thankful. I now have compassion for people, and I really want to understand them. God continues to use other people, especially children and youth, to help me be more like Jesus.

Matthew 18:3 (ESV) 3 …“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”