Consider This… The Life and Testimony of Thomas A. Robinson, As Shared by His Family
So now I knew it was Jesus Christ that was missing from it all. But I was still very mixed up as to how everything fit together. New Age spiritism and Christianity were all tangled up together in my mind and trying to unravel those tremendous revelations (true and false) with no final authority to tell me which was which, was very frantic and painful to me. Looking back, I really don’t know how my mind stood up to a year and a half of this kind of intense and obsessive mental activity.
Then into my possession came some books entitled, “The I Am Discourses”. I thought, “Ah, here at last might be the answers… the keys to orderliness.” These writings were pure Eastern Mysticism. Each of us had to live through many lives. How well we did in a previous life determined the quality of our next life. If you did things that harmed others in one life, you had to suffer (or pay off your karma) in the next life. There were no absolutes… no such thing as sin…everything worked together for spiritual advancement for everyone and therefore nothing was truly evil.
You progressed to different levels of spiritual awareness until you achieved complete inner peace and a cosmic spiritual oneness with everything. Reading these books had the effect of calling up that demonic dimension that was present in so many of my bad LSD trips. I could not read these books without them making things worse.
Then one wonderful night in August or September (I think) of 1973, I happened to catch a Billy Graham Crusade on television. He spoke about sin and Jesus and forgiveness…about the cross and repentance and eternal life. I had always thought of Billy Graham as just another Bible-thumping con artist… a man who may or may not have believed all those silly little Bible stories he seemed to be so fond of telling, but who certainly had only one thing on his mind… your money!
But there had been a great spiritual awakening in me (I Corinthians 2:12-15), and now I saw Billy Graham for what he really was… and honest, humble, and sincere human being whose only motive was to lead people to Christ. I sat absolutely spellbound as that distinctive authority which one can only associate with the Spirit of God came pouring out of this simple man with such a sobering power, that when he called for people to come forward and ask Jesus into their hearts, I immediately got out of my chair and onto my knees and did just that.
There were no fireworks that accompanied that simple prayer…just an earnest and childlike faith. The only thing immediately noticeable was a deep peace that flooded my soul. That peace has never left me. Though many struggles still lay ahead, struggles that would disturb my surface peace, that deep inner peace remained and continued to grow to this very day. My guilt from sin had been supernaturally swallowed up forever the moment I received in faith what Jesus did for me 2000 years ago on that cross…and now only one thing remained.
Most people experience only one childhood, but a Christian enjoys two. As the world is new when he is first born, so it is when he is born again. Because his entire perspective has changed…everything around him takes on a new and deeper meaning.
And yet what was there in this world that I could count on as being the truth about God or anything else for that matter? I had seen first hand the awesome power of satanic sorcery at its most basic level, and I knew that the whole world was under his subtle and masterly spell…carrying on its daily affairs without a clue as to what was really going on. Everything I had learned while growing up had to be re-examined, for under satanic influence, black could be white and white could be black.
Everyone had different opinions on everything, and since there is only one truth, how could they all be right? There seemed to be no final authority regarding truth and error…right and wrong. Could it be that truth was just a personal thing?..that what was true for someone else might not be true for me? But that did not make any sense. There could never be real stability in anything if truth was only in the eyes of the beholder.
Besides, I knew this God well enough to know that by comparison, every human being and the world system that they lived was very seriously screwed up…and I also knew why. It was because like me, they were sinners in their own way too. Surely if God called me to change my life and my thinking, then he was calling others to do the same. And if he was calling us to change, then somewhere in this world there had to be something to tell us how to do it his way.
Like most people I believed that many things in the Bible were the truth… the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and so forth. But then if this was the way of change, what was the crucifixion all about? Every culture on earth had some sort of moral code, and most of them were consistent with the Bible. But only Christianity had Jesus Christ and the crucifixion and the resurrection of the dead as central to its teaching.
I sputtered along for the next six months as best I could, living strictly on the voice of my own conscience…still very much deceived in certain critical areas.
Then one night at work I struck up a conversation with a fellow employee. He was an elderly man who everyone seemed to avoid because of his religious convictions. I was told to stay clear of him because he had the bad habit of turning every conversation into a sermon. A sermon of course did not frighten me after what I had been through, and there was something intriguing about this humble old gentleman. He was a staunch Roman Catholic and I thought it odd that he should be so feared, because those who kept warning me to stay away were staunch Catholics too. But my spirituality was not tied to any church doctrine or denomination.
My only concern was whether this man loved Jesus Christ with all of his heart and soul and mind and strength, and his neighbor as himself. It did not take long to find out. In his own quiet way, he was extremely bold in proclaiming it, and his eyes lit up like “time Square” when he learned that I loved Jesus too. We talked off and on about many things that night and eventually got around to Billy Graham. At the mention of his name, the old man became very serious…”You listen to Billy Graham,” he said, “if you want the truth…listen to him.” I told him that I did listen and that I was overwhelmed by the power in his preaching, but that I wished he would leave all those stories about Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah and the Whale, etc., out of his sermons because they made him less credible.
At this point he became even more serious and asked, “Don’t you believe the Bible?”…”Not all of it,” I confessed. He smiled and said, “You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe…it is either the word of God or it is not…believe all of it or none of it.” I said that I could not do that. “Oh, but you must,” said he…”Tonight when you go home, sit down with your Bible and before you start reading, ask your heavenly father to reveal it to you…for that is the only way you can really.” I thought this was a little strange, but if there was anyone in the world who believed in miracles from God, it was me.
I was working second shift that week, so when I returned home that night my wife and children were already asleep and I had the whole peaceful house to myself. The only Bible we had in our possession was a second hand “Living Bible”, given to me several months before my best friend’s father, who was a minister. I had never in my life really sat down to read this book and probably knew less about it than the average person. But I was so sensitive to spiritual things at that time that I already felt God’s spirit welling up inside of me even before I started reading.
I got comfortable in my esay chair…laid the Bible on my lap, then closed my eyes and prayed this earnest prayer: “Father, if this book is absolutely true…if it is really your word, please convince me of that somehow, because I only want the truth.” I opened the book…made my way past the introductory pages until my eyes fell on a single blank page with only three words on it. Typed and centered in bold Roman print, it read, The Old Testament. There was something about the way it was written that I immediately associated with almighty God. It was simple and clear with no filly nonsense…very serious and sobering with a strong majestic authority, and yet sensitive and fine.
Into my spirit flashed a divine impression that what I was about to read was not only truth but also sublimely sacred…hallowed by the pain and suffering of God himself, and by the blood, sweat and tears of those who had gone before. I respectfully turned the page to Genesis, chapter one…”When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was at first a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors.
Then God said, “Let there be light.” And light appeared. With those words, “Let there be light”, came the light of eternal truth pouring into my soul. All of the scientific arguments…all the theories… all the conflicting beliefs that had been programmed into my mind since the beginning of my formal education, vanished like a vapor in the wind. This was not a text book, it was a spiritual book, and only those who possessed the Spirit of God could perceive the spirit of truth that lay hidden within its pages. ( 1 Cor. 2:12-14) These were not the writings of deceived or imaginative men, but rather the living word of God…sharper than a double edged sword, it could penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; and it would judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart of every man.
The spirit in this book was absolutely consistent with the spirit in all of those visions that I knew had previously come from God.
That night a mixture of peace, safety, stability, anticipated adventure and thankfulness overwhelmed me fifty chapters later when I finally stopped reading. Clutching the book to my heart and with tears in my eyes, I said, “Thank you Father…thank you so much for everything.” At 5:30 in the morning I finally fell asleep in the midst of prayer and thanksgiving.
So now I had it all…God the Father…God the Son…God the Holy Spirit, and now The Word. I immediately purchased a set of children’s books that covered the entire Bible. They were well written and full of beautiful pictures that accompanied every story. One of the greatest joys of my life was reading and discussing these stories with my very young children as we cuddled together in bed, and they recall those times as some of their fondest memories. Because my wife did not find Jesus until one year later, these children were my only real Christian fellowship during that time. In many ways, they possessed more spiritual insight than I did. I was not seen by them as strange or crazy, and because I was still somewhat paranoid from the effects of the drugs, they made perfect spiritual companions, and I took them with me everywhere.
From 1973 to 1976, I walked with God as few men ever do. It was as though he purposely isolated me from any serious religious influence so as to make my foundation that of a pure spiritual child. His primary concern at this critical stage of imprinting was not to fill my head with church doctrine or theological correctness, but rather to develop a deep parent-child relationship based on experiential love and trust.
It was a time of soaring and exploring…a time when God seemed to set aside of all of his universal business to concentrate solely on walking and talking with me. This was indeed a second childhood…a return to the Eden of my youth, only this time I would never again take that spirit for granted. There were two places where I especially loved to commune with him. One was the Leon Methodist Church and Cemetery south of town. The trees that surrounded this property reminded me of the Holy Land, and the little Protestant church spoke of Jesus the carpenter, the Son of Man, who could identify with all of my trials and tribulations.
Here I was flooded with a mixture of impressions concerning the many facets of the character of the God of the New Testament, who became flesh and blood and walked among us. Here I met Jesus my friend, my confidant and counselor… the Good Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm. His peace, his humble obedience and his suffering love for all mankind was the spiritual message of the wooden cross as projected through the little Protestant Church in this peaceful country setting.
Then there was St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tampico, with its huge, Gothic, stained glass windows and linen covered marble altar. Here was the Jesus of the Old Testament…the sacrificial lamb, the Holy God of Israel…seated high above in the heavenly realms in great majesty and glory. This church, was for me, like the great Temple on Mt. Zion, overlooking Jerusalem.
Jesus was my friend, to be sure, but he was also God Almighty…And the small, thin, golden crucifix, centered so tastefully and diminutively and with such formal symetry on the great white altar, that it drew the focus of everything in this spectacular miniature cathedral, was a start reminder of the terrible consequences of divine justice. Hanging on that cross was the Christ…the Son of the Living God and sovereign Lord of the universe, and woe to those who would reject such a costly and solemn gift.
A healthy, reverent fear of the Lord was the spiritual message projected through that cold, metallic, Catholic cross, combined with a promise of future glory.
This has been my story, and although singular in many respects, it is no more meaningful than your own. As he must do with each of us, God met me where I was. I was lost in a fantasy world of drugs and vain-glory…filling my life with things that were destined to perish with time. But through it all he stayed with me, turning me always toward Jesus because he knew that deep in my heart this was where I wanted to go. If he could only reach me through drugs, it was because that was where I had placed myself by my own foolish choices. God is not limited by anything… there is no set pattern in his dealings with men.
Because we are all individuals, with different backgrounds and experiences, we must all travel our different roads. But as long as each of those roads leads us ultimately to Christ the Lord…then there are no wrong ways. My journey was a perilous one, full of pain and confusion and terrifying supernatural dangers, but it was also fraught with wonders of the most spectacular kind.
Only because I survived will I now say that although I would never want to go through it again, I would not trade my testimony for anything, because above everything else, God’s great love and his mighty power to save were revealed through my weakness… therefore I glory in nothing but the cross of my Savior…to Him be all honor, praise, and glory, forever and ever and ever.
*This article is unedited and in its original format. ~ Jeanice
Leslie Robinson Olson was born and raised in a very strict Christian home. She remembers being 3 years old when her parents gave their hearts to Jesus. Leslie remembers her dad’s passion and love as being art and music, and apparently he passed that on to her. Leslie says “It seemed that I lived and breathed music, it was engrained into my soul.”, as she remembers Christian music being played in the house continually.
Leslie was 6 years old when she first accepted Christ into her heart, and she remembers there being a blind man by the name of Al Crocker (an evangelist) who was a guest speaker at Church that night. Leslie remembers Brother Crocker giving his testimony and an alter call. He prayed and asked if there was anyone who wanted to come to know Jesus Christ. He asked anyone interested to come down to the altar so that he could pray over them. Leslie sat in the pew with her family and remembers feeling a warmth over her body and she began to weep and walked to the altar and, with the help of Al Crocker, asked Jesus into her heart.
Leslie began to play the piano at the age of 6 and continued through 19 years of age. She gives this account “ I struggled to read notes, and I would end up memorizing my music. I would ask my teacher to play it for me first, and then I would play it. It was easier for me to play after I was able to hear it. When I was 16 years old I was finally getting good enough to where I was finding out what kind of music my style and passion was. I remember praying, “Lord, I want to play like Keith (Green) did, and have the same anointing as he did.”
I sat and studied his technique until I had drilled it into my head, and it was in my soul. I began playing at church for worship. People began coming and asking me how do I play the way that I do? I said, “I play by ear, and I had good teachers, one of whom was very patient with me. I took lessons until the age of 19, and then I went to a worldwide missionary organization called Youth With A Mission.”
“Right now, I am a single mother with two teenage children. I am waiting on the Lord to fulfill the next chapters in my life that He has written. I strongly feel that I am supposed to begin blogging my father’s testimony and articles. He had the most amazing gift of evangelism through teaching the Bible, thoroughly explaining it , and how to apply it to our everyday lives. He was a very humble man who did factory work for a living, but never missed an opportunity to tell anyone he could who Jesus is and how He loved them so much, that He shed His blood and died on the cross for their sins, so that He could have companionship with them through all eternity.
He had a heart for the youth, as he believed the enemy goes after the youth more than anything, to try to destroy any possibility of bringing forth men and women of God. I remember having so many people, young and old in our home, from the time I can remember, as a small child to the day he died. He and my mother helped disciple many , and to this day we still hear their stories of their fondness of my parents and thankfulness to God for the influence my parents had in their lives. My dad died in May of 2001 after suffering and battling Prostate Cancer for two years. I thank God each and every day for giving me the parents that I have, and for using them in my own personal life and in the lives of many others, for The Kingdom of God.”
© Leslie Robinson Olson 2010
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