I was an energetic, proud, tense pastor of a large church in the north of England. Outwardly successful, I lived a life of inward defeat. Our marriage appeared happy enough but was full of tensions, and I was warned by my doctor of serious duodenal trouble within two years if I did not learn to live in peace.
At this time, a tea-planter fresh from revival in Uganda, William Turner-Russell by name, visited our church and in a personal conversation said to me, “You need revival in your heart. It will begin when you start to repent of your sins and see the cleansing blood of Jesus.”
I was offended by this, but that week the Lord began to show me one thing after another about which I needed to repent both to Him and to others in the home and the church. He did this by first convicting others who came confessing to me where their attitudes toward me had been wrong. Soon we had a sweet, repenting fellowship in the church. It was only the beginning.
At the first conference we attended at Abergele in 1951, God brought my wife, Doreen, to know for the first time the rest and joy of forgiveness. I was a “convention speaker” ready to speak, with a sheaf of special addresses. Not one of them was given! Instead the Lord searched my heart while I argued with the brethren that their messages were all too simple, that repentance was not for Christians, and so on.
One night I went to bed angry about it all. I awoke at dawn when it seemed that the Lord was there showing me two pathways, one of unbrokenness, the other of brokenness and repentance, the first a lonely way ending in darkness and ruin, the second a way of fellowship leading into light.
I was afraid to take this way, when Jesus seemed to reach out to me and draw me into it very gently—the way of grace. I am so glad I went with Him.
We had much to learn together after this, many breakings and repentings to one another, to the children and to others in our churches. But Jesus has been very patient with two strong people who naturally found it hard to break and say sorry. But we came to see this was “the way,” and the cross was always the door into it.
The gospel began to live again, the Lord became real, His blood once more was precious, and the love of the brethren sweet and deep.
The way has been one of increasing light in which blessing on blessing has come in our marriage and our ministries in several churches and in various parts of the world.
If we could sum up these twenty-seven years of walking with Jesus in His way of grace, it could only be in the song of two continually forgiven sinners:
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory to the Lamb.
Oh, the cleansing blood has reached me,
Glory, glory to the Lamb.
Testimony by Stanley Voke, as recorded in My Calvary Road, Roy Hession, Ch. 11, Kindle edition