An art professor at the University of Tennessee says he was once an outspoken atheist, but no more. While traveling in Europe, something ruptured in his stomach causing piercing pain. While waiting hours for a doctor to

operate, he fell into a coma and had an unusual spiritual experience. He later said only God kept him alive until a doctor finally arrived and performed the surgery to save his life. Afterward, he was so grateful to God, he was no longer an atheist, but a joyful believer in Christ. His experience sounds a lot like Jeremiah’s message to ancient Israel. Jeremiah writes about God’s promise that though his people would go into captivity because of their flagrant violation of their covenant, the day would come when they would repent of their rebellion and God would reverse their fortunes. Jeremiah 31 records, “I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.” It’s still true—no matter how far we may have wandered away from God, if we repent of sins and accept God’s Son as our Savior, God is so gracious that He will forgive us and fill us with his presence and joy.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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