Ye thought evil against me
but God meant it unto good
By Ron Kempen
I was raised in a very Catholic home with an older brother, Robert,
whom the Lord used mightily later in my conversion. Robert was
crippled all of his life. As a child I loved being an altar boy. I
was taught that I had to be a Catholic to get to Heaven. After our
mother died in 1960, when I was eight, things started to change as
the Lord was working His plan to reach us. Our stepmother taught
Robert how to physically take care of himself. Praise God, because
this eventually enabled Robert to go to college where he got saved.
I got married in 1972 and raised my 2 children as Catholic, even
making them attend stations during Lent. Bound to his wheelchair, my
Christian brother would try to witness to me, but I wouldn't listen
because “he didn't know the real world.” At that time my life
revolved around football, bowling and drinking.
Then a series of events occurred by which the Lord got my
attention. In 1989, I received a phone call saying that my brother
was seriously ill; he was in intensive care and he may not live
through the night. He spent ten months in intensive care. Every
weekend I'd make the eighty-mile trip to spend time with Robert. He
was so weak at first that he could only communicate by eye blinking.
Later on he could use his finger to spell his thoughts. Often he'd
request that I get a video for us. Hmmmm, they were always Christian
videos. Imagine that! After the ten months, he was released, but he
needed constant care because when he would fall asleep, he'd stop
breathing. So in many ways I was exposed to “true Christians.”
After drinking I’d come home and watch Jack Van Impe because
there was nothing else on TV and they would talk about end time
events. Things got tough at work and I had to quit. My new job
turned out to be much worse. Thanks to God, later on He provided me
with a good job. I was 40 and hard of hearing, yet I was one of
eight people chosen out of more than 450 applicants. Of course, my
brother would send me tapes from his church including one that drew
my attention to James 2:10-11 which exposes the ridiculous notion of
the so-called venial sins.
In 1993, after all these seeds were planted, I decided to see
what the Scriptures say and when Billy Graham offered a study Bible,
I ordered a copy. The time was right to know who's telling the
truth. It took two years to get through the New Testament, during
which time I also was taking Catholic catechism classes. This
finally woke me up to the fact that what I was being told as a
Catholic did not match with what God's Word had to say.
In April of '95, I came home from my Catholic catechism class and
announced that I was leaving the Catholic Church. My wife responded
that if I did, she would divorce me. I couldn't shut up; I had to
witness. Unfortunately, I did that with much zeal, but often without
knowledge, and people didn't appreciate this.
Around December of '98 my wife of 27 years presented the divorce
papers. A month later, while Robert was studying Scriptures, the
Lord took him home. My life was really falling apart. But God was
still in control! A Christian family rented me a room on their farm.
All I owned was my brother’s bed, dresser and computer as my
former wife got the house that I had just finished the payments for.
I also had two very good Christian friends that kept encouraging me
to wait and see the plans that God had for me, telling me that God
would not abandon His children.
I can assure you that God does take care of His children! On
November 6 of 1999, I met a Christian girl on the internet, and we
felt it was a divine appointment for several reasons. In February of
2000, I told my friends on the farm that it was time for me to move
back to the city. This girl from Pennsylvania married me in July of
2000 and moved to Wisconsin, just one year after my divorce, despite
knowing that I now had Parkinson's disease. We looked for a house,
but we did not succeed. We wondered if we would ever own a house.
Our pastor read Luke 18:29,30: “And he said unto them, Verily I
say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or
brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake. Who
shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the
world to come life everlasting.” This message encouraged us and
what follows is almost unbelievable.
Two dear Christian friends had bought an old run down house as an
investment. I didn't know what they were doing with their little
project, but having no other openings, I finally checked the house
they were working on. It was an old house, stripped down to the
studs, but it was perfect for what we needed and affordable. This
house just happened to be the very same house in which my ex-wife
lived when I met her way back in 1971! Coincidence? Not anymore then
when I moved off the farm, their daughter moved back home, and we
got to use her furniture in our first apartment. Again, God's timing
is perfect. How does anyone plan this type of events?
In closing, I'd like to give a praise report. My two children are
saved. For the past three years, I need only to look at Genesis
50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant
it unto good.” The divorce that was meant to harm me because I
became a Christian, God used for my good. I learned from experience
that He never deserts His children. He provides all my needs and not
my greeds. I have a wonderful Christian wife, a house, and a
ministry to reach the lost souls of Catholicism. Most of all, I
serve the living God.