By Seamus Milligan
When one looks back upon one’s life, I sometimes ask myself the question, “What if?”. What if my mother had not died when I was about four years of age? Her death meant that our family moved from West Belfast to East Belfast. The school at which I was educated was St Joseph’s at Ballyhackamore.
A GODLY EMPLOYER
During the war, Belfast was heavily bombed and tens of thousands perished in one night’s bombing. Our school was destroyed during one of those air-raids. I was 13 years of age at the time. I now I had no school to attend. But shortly afterwards, a local Protestant businessman offered me employment. He was a Mr. Lowry, and I soon discovered he was different from some of the Protestants I had met before. He said he knew the Lord Jesus as his Saviour and that he loved the Lord because the Lord loved him and gave Himself for him (Galatians 2:20).
Mr. Lowry was instrumental in bringing me to Orangefield Baptist Church where I heard the Gospel through the ministry of Pastor Minnis Mills. This church had a Gospel Mission in the month of November 1947. It was conducted by a Mr James Armstrong, and it was at that Mission I came to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for my salvation.
A WONDERFUL DISCOVERY
After my conversion I discovered that I had a family I knew nothing about. The postman who delivered letters to our home for 15 years was my mother’s brother. We were not told this, because he was a Protestant. My mother became a convert to Rome before she married my father.
I not only had an uncle I never had met before, I discovered I had more than six uncles, aunts and cousins, many of whom loved the Saviour. I met my mother‘s father for the first time – he was 90 years old. But to crown it all, I met my mother‘s twin sister and her sons and she too was a Christian.
WHAT IF… my mother had not died when I was so young. WHAT IF…our school had not been destroyed. WHAT IF…if a Protestant businessman had not given me, a Roman Catholic, a job and eventually was used by God in my conversion. Many things which seemed to be evil to me, God was working them ultimately for my good.
A THANKFUL SOUL
Today as Secretary of the Evangelical Protestant Society I look back and I can only bow my head and give thanks to the Lord for all that He has done for me. On the cross He redeemed me by His precious blood. I thank God for having given me to Christ and for working the work of grace in my heart and life.
God‘s ways are not our ways. We know that God is sovereign in all His ways. There are many things we do not understand; but what we do know is this glorious truth, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”, and it was good to discover that one was numbered among those for whom the Saviour died. One can only conclude that God “moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform”.