The Conversion of Mudcat Stew.....
It was 9 years ago, I was 27, when the events surrounding my coming to Christ transpired. This is not a full biography of me, but to sum up the events prior in short order. I was baptized in the church of my parents (SBC) when I was 7. In all truth, I just got wet, my commitment was disingenuous. I was active in church till age 16. I abandoned my families religion for a number or reasons. I became agnostic which trended towards atheism. I began following a path of excess that involved drug and alcohol abuse, as well as being an incorrigible but successful skirt chaser.
The path I was following was very self destructive. I was a bright kid, and had academic scholarships as well as SAT/ACT scholarships. Within my first year of college I had ruined those. I eventually dropped out of school altogether and had a hard time holding down a job of any sort. My parents were pretty intolerant of my behavior and threw me out... with hard feelings on both sides. I managed to find people who would put me up in between jobs, when I couldn't pay rent.
At age 23 I struck up a relationship with my old high school sweetheart, an inactive LDS who was walking the same destructive path as myself. We moved in together and our love for each other at least saved us from the brink of total disaster. We left the hard drugs and got decent jobs in retail management. In 2 years we were married and we moved back to our hometown and “settled down” a bit. We both took jobs in outside sales. I sold office equipment. We both did not go to church and God was not a part of our relationship.
Enough of a back story. Okay, now to the conversion of Mudcat.
2 years later, age 27, it was Oct. 21st of 98 ,little had changed. Both of us in our same occupations, etc.. She was pressing on me very hard to have children, I was having the worst 6 months in sales in my life, and we had a lot of financial problems. I was totally stressed out.
On this particular day, at work, my delivery guy was out sick and I needed to demo 3 machines. The last machine was at a small black baptist church and was scheduled to be delivered at 6pm before their Wed. prayer meeting. I took the delivery van and 3 machines that morning and went alone. I had a lot of windshield time and did a lot of thinking about the fact that my life seemed to be falling apart.
After the first two machines were delivered, I headed out towards my last destination, it was late afternoon. I had lots of time to get there and decided to take the long way round to think a bit more. But, the more I thought, the more distressed I became. I felt so boxed in about my life and there was no obvious way out of my problems.
Anyways, so lost in thought, I wasn't paying attention to the road. I saw a long piece of steel laying in the roadway, to late. I had a blowout, but managed to keep the van under control and pull over as best I could to the side of the road. There was a steep ditch and I could only pull off partially on the side of busy two lane road. The tire that was blown was on the highway side, unfortunately. I was also stranded several miles from the nearest town (which was a small town, that lived below poverty line and there were no cell phone towers in that area back then).
Well, I did my best to emotionally “sober up” and went to the rear to get the spare tire. I had a significant problem...the handle that held the nut that loosened the spare was broken off and nothing short of pliers or vice-grips would loosen the spare. I searched the van, but I didn't have any. I did my best to come to grips with the fact that I would be very late and prepared myself for a cold 5 mile hike to town.....It gets strange right here.
I stepped out of the van and there was an 11-13 year old black boy, sitting on a black quarter-horse across the road. (This was a strange sight...even in the deep south in 1998). He asked me if I needed help and I explained I needed pliers. He said he had some at his house and pointed to a ramshackle of a place down the road ....and galloped of.
I retrieved the jack and began to jack the tire. Here was another problem. I was having to change the tire with my body in the highway. No sooner than I had started changing the tire, a State Trooper pulled up. He was a monstrous fellow...tall, muscular and black. He said he would block the lane while I finished and he pulled his car out into the lane to protect me.
No sooner than the I got the old blown out tire off, the kid shows back up on his horse and gives me the vice-grips. I get the spare and put it on...thank everyone and go.
My hands and arms were filthy and I stopped at a gas station in the upcoming town, but they did not allow people to use their facilities and they were the only gas station in town. I asked if anyone else in town had a restroom and he said no place that was open after 5pm. And it was a hair past 5.
I headed on to the church...to do the demo and managed to beat the members their. I washed myself in the spigot. BTW....the name of this particular baptist church was Calvary Baptist.
The copier demonstration went fine and I departed in the van. I reflected on the events of my rather bizarre day. And in the next few moments of travel I determined a lot of the symbolism of those moments.
The blown out tire was me/my soul.
The new tire was something I couldn't get on my own, it was salvation.
The boy was a symbol for Christ.
The horse, the Holy Ghost, in other words how Christ moves.
The trooper, God the Father, the Law.
(This part came to me later)....The fact all three were black is so I would notice they were all the same. If they had been white, as I am, I probably would have been to thick headed to notice they were different than me.
The vice-grips...his atonement...the only thing that would help me get the tire (salvation)
To top it all off...The only place I could get clean was at the water of Calvary (blood of Christ).
After these things sort of "clicked together". I felt the presence of something other than myself. I believe it was the Holy Spirit confirming what I had concluded. I didn't feel all warm and fuzzy good. More like someone was speaking to me in thought. It was then and there I pulled over and asked my Savior into my heart. Shortly after I was baptized in the church I grew up in.
Since that time we have had three children and my family and I are part of a growing and dynamic church. For many years now, I have served as the bassist for the orchestra. My small group meetings are comprised mostly of the families of the orchestra and I teach some of the classes. I even coach my kids in the local sports programs. I have done will with my career and am the sales manager for the company I work for. My wife has been able to open her own business and is a respected member of the community as well.
At age 20, I never thought I would live to see age 30. It is amazing what Christ can do and anything that has happened to my benefit, I give him all praise and glory.
I am so thankful for what God has blessed me with. If you read this and have yet to meet Christ Jesus, I hope you will consider asking him to be the Lord of your life and commit yourself to do your best to follow his teachings.