Before her recent death, Irene Lyon wrote this brief but moving testimony to God’s saving and restoring grace.
When I was in my teens I was privileged by God’s grace to attend a church where the Bible was believed and taught and the gospel of Jesus Christ was faithfully preached. The minister of my Church of England in Manchester was an inspiring teacher and I was impressed by his passionate preaching and exemplary life.
I soon realised that I was a sinner and could only have peace through the forgiveness of God. I came to understand that Jesus Christ died to save us from sin and by believing in him and repenting of our sin we can receive eternal life. I knew I could not become a Christian by being or doing good. Only the undeserved grace and righteousness of Jesus Christ can save a soul (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Right with God at last
World War II began in 1939 and at 18 I began working in a munitions factory. I was working long hours and couldn’t get to church very often. The influence of workmates and a courtship drew me away from the ministry of the church and it wasn’t long before I had little regard for what had meant so much to me in earlier years. But my life was not satisfying and my conscience was uneasy.
After sixteen years I realised that God was mercifully leading me back to a meaningful Christian profession. To cut a long story short, I was truly converted and became, by God’s grace, a totally committed Christian. I knew that, come what may, I was at last right with God and destined for heaven. Although I am far from perfect, God has delivered me from the consequences of my sin.
Looking forward to heaven
Recently I was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer. It is not curable so I have not got long to live. But God has granted me the assurance of eternal life and I truly look forward to my heavenly home with Christ.
The shortness of our time on earth should sharpen our determination to use it wisely and prepare for eternity. It is my greatest desire that others should come to know the salvation through the gospel of Christ which means everything to me: ‘indeed I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord … that I might gain Christ and be found in him not having my own righteousness … but that which is by faith in Christ’ (Philippians 3:8-9).