I stood on top of the mountain we had just climbed, and looked back to see the way we had come. We were a group in training and missionary, Ron Knightly, was our team leader. I thought that he was being hard on the team – making us go the way that seemed the hardest.
Looking back I saw the wisdom of his choices. If we had come the “easy” way, we probably wouldn’t have made it to the top.
As I look back on my life, it is much like that mountain experience. I can see the paths that I had chosen and the decisions I made. I can see that some of the choices I made were not the best.
In the 1960s Manitoba Hydro began construction on a power dam in my home community. During my childhood and still today its effects on the people are very evident. There are some who today say that what the residential schools were to the First Nations is what the Hydro project was to the people of Grand Rapids.
My teen years were full of alcohol, drugs and craziness. I had heard about God and how He sent Jesus to die for my sins. I had gone to Sunday school, and my parents had told me, too, but the love of this world kept me from choosing God.
Later I went to Bible camp. There the truth of the Gospel became real, and I realized that the life I was living led to death. It was there I asked God to save me and change me. And then I was off to Bible school.
Many years later I found myself still struggling. It seemed I would get so far, then take two steps back. This went on for years. During these times many things occurred in my life.
Diabetes has taken its toll on my body. I’ve had five heart attacks. I lost the feeling in my legs and have had infections that almost took my life many times. No one seemed to know where they came from. I developed a hole in my foot, and I could look right through it and see the floor.
I took all this without a word and didn’t blame anyone because I thought I deserved this as punishment for my up-and-down life.
One day I was reading the book of Romans and, as I did, the Spirit opened my eyes.
I saw a sovereign God who knew me before the creation of earth, and by His election I am a child of the King. All the things I had gone through were not punishment, but the hand of Almighty God bringing me to the exact place He wanted me to be so that I could do what I was created to do – glorify Him and give Him the glory by expanding His Kingdom.
So I came to a place where I realized who God really was, what He has done, and what I needed to do. It was during the time my mom and dad passed away that I clearly saw God working. I realized the mistakes that I had made.
The Scripture, “He must increase and I must decrease,” became personal to me. I needed to start working “with” God, what He wanted, and for His goals.
We began spending more time in prayer and I’m not sure how or what happened, but we started getting more visitors at our place. We talked about the Gospel with them and they kept coming, so we started a weekly Bible study and it grew.
Today I am a pastor in Grand Rapids. We meet in our house, usually two times each week. I strongly believe that the Church is the vehicle which God works through. He gave His life for it; He is the head of it; and He is coming back for it.
Yes, as Christians we are the Church, and there is a bigger picture. “Lone rangers” need to be a part of a body of believers. We have each been given a gift for building the Church. It’s like a puzzle – each piece is individual. Alone the picture is incomplete – it is only when the pieces are put together that we see the big picture.
My prayer for others is that they may in humility and obedience find Jesus Christ to be their most valued treasure. Amen.
Robert & Marla Buck have been married 30 years and have three grown children. Robert has served most of the past 20 years as Grand Rapids town mayor. This fall they shared their life stories on Tribal Trails TV. For a free DVD of their programs, write or phone Tribal Trails (Prince Albert address / phone 306-764-3388).
(from Issue #533)