FAITHFULNESS OF JESUS CHRIST
IN HIS GREAT SALVATION
Born Again June 16th 1965 William Hartley Tindal
“I was found of them that sought me not” ( Romans 10:20 ) . The words of Him who is able to save to the uttermost, all who come to God through Him ( Hebrews 7:25 ) . Indeed, the Lord Jesus was made manifest to me in the conversion of my soul.
This is my story. This is my testimony. It testifies to the faithfulness of the exceeding greatness of the grace of God by Jesus Christ freely offered in His glorious gospel ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ) .
My story begins when I joined the Merchant Navy. I was fifteen years old at the time. I sailed around the world on different ships : from cargo vessels to great ocean liners.
During those times I met many people from different cultures, and walks of life. Some good, some very bad. Slowly, and surely the cancer of sin began to manifest itself in outward acts of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
Every second word that spewed out of my mouth with vehement force, was continuous cursing; swearing; profanities, and obscenities. Sinful behaviour became the norm in my life. If I should say more, or elaborate, then , I would be guilty of glorifying that sinfulness that the Lord, whose name is Wonderful ( Isaiah 9:6 ), delivered me from.
Great and marvellous are His ways. I say this deliberately; for He uses Satan's snares against himself as a means to deliver sinners from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His marvellous light.
During my time in London, my accommodation was at the Flying Angel Mission to Seamen. It's a place similar to a hotel where sailors can rent rooms cheaply located near London's East End Docks for quick access to Shipping.
My lifestyle was such as the world could offer. Many times I slept in, because of numerous late nights out in worldly entertainment. Consequently, this was detrimental to being gainfully employed on any Merchant ship that was available for its subsequent voyage.
Let me explain. Seafarers were to report to the Shipping Federation ( a kind of Employment Exchange for Mariners ). Those who reported early usually got work on whatever ship that was ready to sail to foreign waters.
However, my late nights engaged in worldliness prevented me on many occasions from obtaining reasonable work on different cargo vessels. Even so, I was now nineteen years old, at this time in my life, and I did not care.
One night I decided to go to a Discotheque Club at Woolwich with a former shipmate. We had to take a bus, and then catch the Woolwich Ferry that crossed the river Thames to the town of Woolwich.
When we arrived at the Club, it was too late. The bouncers at the door were not letting any more young people in, due to Fire and Safety restrictions. Disappointed, my ship mate andacce[ted I went back to the Ferry, to return to our accommodation at the Flying Angel.
It was on this Ferry that we saw two young sixteen year old girls. Like most teenagers we did not hesitate to introduce ourselves. The one that I chatted up was very pretty - a real Londoner with that distinct cockney accent.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, she invited me home to meet her family. They were a modest working class family. However, her mother was a practising medium in a Spiritualist Church, and I was invariably invited to their meeting place the following day.
I complied, not knowing any difference, and completely ignorant of the Bible on such matters of familiar spirits. It was a little church building with nothing sinister or untoward, or for that matter threatening.
Just a typical religious gathering it was, and not many people there. Mostly women were present with some children, and a few men. I did not fully understand what was going on , and it did not affect me ... as I thought at the time.
One night, after leaving my girl friend's house., as I was walking through the streets of East London in the early hours of the morning. The wind was blowing fairly strong. Empty beer and fizzy drink cans, along with discarded newspapers were blowing and tumbling along the streets.
Suddenly, a certain newspaper blew onto my leg flattering in the wind. I picked it up thinking it was a London Daily Newspaper. However, to my complete surprise, it was a copy of the Psychic Times. Nonetheless, the Lord saw it wise for me not to read it or keep it, but to place it in a street waste bin.
That night, I went to bed about 2:00 am. I was alone in a single room. As I lay upon the pillow the bed started to shake. The only way I can describe it … was that the mattress was being pushed down on one corner. This made my head move, and I felt it noticeably on the pillow.
I became very frightened , and started to sweat with fear. I was afraid to turn round and look. I was afraid that I might see something that I did not wish to see .... an evil spirit, a ghost , or whatever apparition you may want to call it.
Finally, through sheer exhaustion , I fell asleep. Next morning I resolved to dismiss it out of my mind. The following day a close friend and former shipmate arrived at the Flying Angel to stay, and possibly find work as a deck hand on a ship.
We laughed and joked together about our adventures on the high seas. It was a Wednesday, and we discussed what to do for entertainment. Normally, it can be very boring at the Mission, not much to do except play snooker or ping pong.
I thought about taking him to the Spiritualist meeting to meet my girl friend and family members. But I decided not to, because he was far more handsome than I. Besides, he had a reputation with the ladies … he might, I thought, steal my girl friend's attention and affection.
Anyway, I looked up the advertisements in the local newspaper for other possible psychic meetings around London. So, I suggested that we should do something different other than go to the cinema, which was another option at the time.
I did not tell him of my strange experience; but did tell him about those weird séances. After, some deliberation we decided to go to a séance in a London suburb called Barking.
So, we went to Barking, and those who were there gathered in a circle. The lights were left on. One of the mediums, a male, got up from his chair, and spoke to each individual in turn about certain things and events pertaining to their private life.
However, when he came to me, he just looked at me and said ...''You're a hard one to get up in the morning … don't you know it's the early bird that catches the worm. If you want to get the work you seek, you must get there early.”
He proceeded further, and continued to say...''What's more you burn your bridges before you cross them … but don't worry you have a guarding spirit ...it's your uncle whom you never met because he was killed in the last war before you were born. He said he'll watch over you and guide you. It was him that was shaking your bed a few nights ago to remind you to wake up early.“
Well, I was shocked to say the least. I did not disclose this incident to anyone. Besides, I was only a young man from Glasgow, Scotland. Here I was down in London. This medium did not know me from a lump of coal, and yet told me what happened in my room three nights past.
Finally, I signed up on a cargo boat going to Australia and back to the United Kingdom. Soon after we sailed, I got into trouble. I had a fight with the Second Steward. I was brought before the Captain. He said to me ... “My ship is going to Australia and back to Britain: a voyage that will take three months sailing to various ports, and crossing two oceans. Here you are up before me for fighting, and we are not even out of the Thames Estuary. I could log you three days pay for being a trouble maker, and bad behaviour. However, I will not …. can I have your word that you will not be a trouble maker on my ship ?”
I perceived he was a gracious man, and I promised to behave myself. Even so, that was short lived. During that voyage many other incidents took place, and I found myself at variance with other crew members, which resulted in physical violence of the extreme kind.
Also, I found myself dabbling in Tarot reading cards; which I had purchased before we sailed from London. So it seems that evil gravitates to other forms of evil with the ultimate purpose to destroy the souls of men, adding sin to sin.
Finally, we reached the fair shores of Australia. We landed at the Port of Fremantle first. After that, we sailed from port to port right up past the Great Barrier Reef to the Port of Cairns, Queensland.
Soon after, I was to meet the Lord of Heaven and Earth ( Psalm 124:8 ). We sailed south to Gladstone, Queensland. It was a small Township. However, there wasn't much to do there, as far as entertainment and night life were concerned. Because of this the crew members were keeping their money to spend in Brisbane our next port of call.
Just to back track a little. During the voyage I was befriended by the Captain's Tiger. That's a title given to the Steward appointed to look after the Captain exclusively. It is his personal valet or Butler.
Anyway, I suspect the Captain requested that he should keep an eye on me in order to keep me out of trouble. After all, I was only nineteen years old, and very immature. I did not understand that the purpose of life is a life of purpose. At that juncture in my life I was without direction. Yet unknown to me, I was being directed by the unseen providential hand of God.
Well, as it happened whilst in the Port of Gladstone, some Christian gentlemen came aboard the ship, asking crew members to attend their special services that they were conducting at their local Evangelical Church.
The Captain's tiger was a high Anglican; but I guess he was a nominal Christian, because on occasions he used the Lord's name in vain. Even so, he was keen to go with them to Church. He asked me to come along, but I flatly refused. Anyway, he and some other crew members went. But they only went along just for a laugh, as I heard them say as they walked down the gangway.
Despite my foolishness. I did not think it proper to entertain Christians, and go to their church meeting … just for laughs.
Continuing the story: The next morning at breakfast we discussed the events of the Church meeting. The Captain's tiger started talking about their experience at the Church service. He explained that the minister that addressed the assembly that night did not have a white collar or wear robes. He said it was a strange church with no statues of the Virgin Mary, or Jesus, or even Joseph, Mary's husband. It was just a plain church with no Cross.
I immediately thought that it could be a Spiritualist church, for many of their assemblies are very plain and simple. Later, towards evening, the Christians came back to the ship the second time asking for others to attend another service, hoping that the same ones would come again, and perhaps some others who might wish to attend.
My curiosity got the better of me, and thinking it was a Spiritualist church, I decided to go along with the others including the Captain's tiger.
For me, it was uneventful. I could not understand or grasp what the minister was talking about. Sin had dulled my brain. Besides, at that time I did not know that I was dead in trespasses and sins as the Scriptures verify ( Ephesians 2:1 ).
After the Church meeting we were invited to the home of one of the Church's deacons. I remember it clearly. I was sitting on the couch having a cup of tea with buns and biscuits. The visiting Evangelist was a Baptist Pastor by the name of Reg Wright, a wonderful man in his early fifties. He sat on the floor, and was telling me about Christ . He asked me if I believed in Him. I explained that I believed in God also, that I believed that there was such an historical person called Jesus Christ .
But I could tell that that was not the kind of response he was looking for. Even then much of the conversation went over my head. Although he spoke plainly … in actuality he was speaking to a soul that was spiritually dead.
As the night progressed we eventually departed. They had a Mini Bus, and drove us back to the ship. This was the turning point in my entire life. Free sovereign grace arrested me, and translated me from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Lord's marvellous Light.
On the journey back to the ship. I posed the question to the Deacon who was sitting next to me. I asked him what he thought of the Spiritualist church. He replied without hesitation that it was of the devil.
I took umbrage at that, and said quite emphatically that they ( the spiritualist people ) believe in God. So how can people who believe in God be so deeply immersed in devilish worship ? He replied using Scripture ... "the devils believe and tremble" ( James 2:19 ). Besides, I retorted, my girl friend's mother is a medium. With strange loyalty I began to defend her family. After all, they showed kindness to me whenever I visited their home.
He continued to say that God, in His Word, condemns it utterly. I got cheeky with him, and asked where in the Bible did it condemn spiritualism. He opened God's infallible Word, and showed me the Scripture quoted above in James 2:19.
He continued and explained to me, and quickly showed me, making sure I read for myself, in God's Holy Word, the things concerning Familiar Spirits, and how God dealt very severely with King Saul for seeking counsel from the witch of Endor ( 1 Samuel 28:7 ).
He went on to show me the very verse from the Holy Scriptures in First Chronicles where God Himself says without equivocation, that He caused Saul to die because of his transgressions, which were totally against God's commandment ( 1 Chronicles 10:13–14 ). Obviously, the deacon was very concerned for my soul.
When the mini bus arrived to where my ship was moored., we all got of the bus and began to walk to the ship … I was greatly troubled. So much so, that I held back and let the others walk ahead of me. I was reflecting on the Scriptures that I read and heard.
In other words: I needed to be alone. As I walked slowly back to the ship. I became very distraught; for I had concluded and reasoned in my mind, that, if God put King Saul to death who was a Hebrew, a man of the people of Israel, a King of Israel, in fact a man chosen to be the first King of Israel ... then who was I. I was a young teenager just barely nineteen after my recent birthday in the month of May, a young man from Glasgow, Scotland. Not even a Jew but a Gentile was I, and a very sinful and obnoxious person.
My heart began to sink. Now the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my sin and, without any righteousness of my own, of judgement to come ( John 16:8 ). Now I knew that I was under His wrath and curse. A child of wrath even as others ( Ephesians 2:3 ). Now I knew that if I had died that night my soul would have been required of me ( Luke 12:20 ), and I would sink into the lowest Hell. Now I knew that my perceived nominal belief in a Higher Power was not good enough. Now I knew I needed the Righteousness of Another that can only be found in Christ Jesus ( Romans 3:22 ).
It was a warm humid night in Gladstone, Queensland. I had no desire to sleep. I was so troubled, and very frightened. But thanks be to God His blessed Holy Spirit was directing me to prayer. I did not know how to pray; but I remember like it was yesterday the words which uttered from my lips.
As I paced up and down the deck of the ship. I looked down the cargo hold, and I knew that if through drunkenness or some accident I fell down there...it would result in certain death, and I would be cast off from God forever.
In great and terrible despair, I looked up towards heaven with tears in my eyes, and prayed these words “Oh God, please help me. I am lost.“
Finally, I went back to my cabin, and fell asleep. In the morning after I woke up I felt subdued and very quiet. I went about my normal duties as Assistant Steward. The evening came, and after dinner I found myself in a cabin where some of the crew shipmates were playing “Poker”.
I sat on one of the bunk beds next to some other fellow. Pastor Reg Wright arrived on the ship, and came into the cabin along with the deacon who had spoken to me on the Mini Bus the previous night.
He must have informed the Pastor that I was dabbling in spiritualism. Like a good shepherd, and faithful minister of the gospel, being concerned for the welfare of my soul, and my extreme danger, he just looked at me, and spoke with authority and with urgency in his voice.
He addressed me and said these words....”Bill, will you now accept JESUS CHRIST as your SAVIOUR ?“
His words were like a lance piercing my very soul. I could not even speak. In those fleeting moments, seconds, I could not deny or put off this great offer of Salvation. I could only swallow at the back of my throat at the seriousness of this eternal question. Nodding my head, I accepted the Lord's wonderful free pardon by His Grace to eternal life.
The Pastor was rejoicing and prayed thanking God through Jesus Christ for His abundant goodness and grace, and commended me to God. Afterwards he left the ship with his Christian friend and deacon. But before he left he presented to me a copy of The New Testament which I treasured during my journey back to the United Kingdom.
Now after they left the ship. I became aware of something that remarkably took place in my life. Something had happened to my inner man. So much so, I left the frivolity of the company in the cabin. I began to pace up and down the ship's alleyway striking my right fist on the palm of my hand.
I remember muttering to myself that something had happened to me. For in an instant I knew that it was wrong to commit adultery; to fornicate; to steal, and to curse and swear. In other words the Holy Spirit put God's law in my heart even though I was the very least ( Jeremiah 31:33-34 ).
I had never the read the Bible, but God's commandments were now fully and indelibly inscribed in my heart. The outward manifestations of sinful behaviour ... the cursing and prolific swearing had ceased from my mouth and lips.
The Lord took and washed it all away by His precious blood, because He loved me ( Revelation 1:5 ). I could not swear any more. I dared not, I could not. I became aware of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. I found myself completely changed, washed, and made clean in His sight.
In the ship's alleyway there was a Fire Locker. This locker was big enough for two grown men to stand upright without discomfort. I found myself led to enter the closet to pray. When I began to pray my first words were “FATHER“ I never ever, no never, addressed God in that way before this time.
I remember, when we were in Melbourne an address was given to me from the Christian brethren in Gladstone, to visit a Pastor's house. His name I think was Neville Horn. However, he was out at some church meeting. But his dear wife was home, and showed kindness to me, and brought me in for a cup of tea.
When I told her my
story about my conversion, and how I met the Lord, she was thrilled to hear how
the Holy Ghost led me to pray in the Fire Locker addressing God as Father. Her
eyes welled up with tears, and showed me from the Bible how Paul the Apostle
wrote by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit concerning our Adoption ....”and
because ye are sons, God hath sent fourth the Spirit of His Son into your
hearts, crying ABBA, FATHER“
( Galatians 4:5–6 ).
I was astonished to say the least. I had never read such a thing before. This had happened immediately after I left the cabin knowing that some strange occurrence took place in my soul. Yes, and furthermore, I also told her how I had changed, how the outward manifestations of base and crude sins had left me. Once more she rejoiced in the Spirit and the abundant goodness of the Grace of God showing me Paul's second letter to the Corinthians.... “Therefore if any man be in Christ , he is a new creature : old things are passed away ; behold all things become new “ ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ).
My life since those days has been long and varied. All in all the Lord has been faithful. I have been kept by His power. I have skipped as a new born lamb, upon a thousand hills. I have been in the dark valleys where there is no light. Yet, despite my foolishness, He has made my crooked paths straight. He has made darkness light to me. He has not forsaken me ( Isaiah 44:21 ).
Little by little He has shown me what's in my heart. As with Moses, He has shown me the exceeding sinfulness of the human heart. a heart full of leprous sores. ( Exodus 4:7–8 )
To conclude : Since my conversion and marvellous encounter with the LORD , which is , and which is to come, the Almighty ( Revelation 1:8 ), my sanctification has been a long process. It will not be complete until I join that Heavenly host of the spirits of just men made perfect ( Hebrews 12 :23 ).
The continual and irreconcilable war against remaining corruption ( 1 John 1:10, Romans 7:18 and 23, Philippians 3:12 ) - the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the blessed Spirit against the flesh, as we find in Scripture, Galatians 5:17 also in 1 Peter 2:11 - causes me, as well as others of God's dear children, much pain and grief.
But this I know: He that bought me with the price of His own Precious Blood will neither leave me nor forsake me ( Hebrews 13:5 ). My heart's desire and prayer is to be diligent in the appointed way He has ordained in His Word. Also, with His help, it is earnestly to “follow holiness“ ( Hebrews 12:14 ) and glorify His Name. Amen.