6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermon Illustrations

One winter morning in San Diego, after Paul had wandered many miles along the waterfront, in a daze, he turned wearily toward his hotel room. He had been drinking heavily for weeks. His mind was tortured by the thoughts of the wife and four children whom he had deserted. Only the day before, it seemed, he had been a radio executive, in charge of two radio stations in Los Angeles--KFVD and KFAC. Now, the home in which he lived, Beverly Hills, the cars, the servants--the things money and social position can provide for a man and his family--were just a memory. He had dragged his family down until they were living in a one-room apartment, and then, deserted them.

Paul was so twisted emotionally that he suffered a complete nervous breakdown and, if that wasn’t bad enough, completely lost his voice. For a year and a half, he was unable to speak above a whisper. The future held no promise.

Walking towards his hotel room along the waterfront he began to contemplate ending his life. He was in such utter despair he felt as though his legs would give way, so he sat down on a park bench. Within a couple moments, a young man sat down next to him and politely said, “Hi! How are you doing today?” It was all Paul could take. He buried his head in his hands and wept. The young man apologized, clumsily said a few words about how the Lord had helped him, then handed Paul a New Testament and encouraged him to read it. “Begin in the book of John,” he said as he stood up. He was gone in a few moments. Paul’s strength returned to his legs and he made his way to the hotel room. There he tossed the New Testament on the top of the dresser and collapsed into the chair. His gaze fell upon that Bible. In a distracted sort of way, he picked it up and started to read. Old familiar words he had learned as a child, words of life, quick and powerful, leaped out of those pages and found their way into his heart. Tears began to run down his cheeks. How he longed for forgiveness! Hours...

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