Down and Out From Beverly Hills
Throughout their history, the Gideons have received letters from people who found and read a Gideon-placed Bible. Here is one such letter from mid-century. The writer went on to become “First Mate Bob” on the long-time religious radio show “Haven of Rest.”
One winter morning in San Diego, after I had wandered many miles along the waterfront, in a daze, I turned my steps wearily toward my hotel room. I had been drinking heavily for weeks.
My mind was tortured by the thoughts of the wife and four children whom I had deserted. Just yesterday, it seemed, I had been a radio executive, in charge of two radio stations in Los Angeles—KFVD and KFAC. The home in which we lived, Beverly Hills, the cars, the servants—the things money and social position can provide for a man and his family—were just a memory. I had dragged my family down with me until they were living in a little hovel, and then, I had deserted them.
I had suffered a complete nervous breakdown and, worst of all, I had completely lost my voice. For a year and a half, I had not been able to speak one word aloud, each effort to talk was just a whisper. The future held no promise.
I opened the door of my hotel room and flung myself into a chair in utter despair. My gaze fell upon a (Gideon) Bible on the floor. In a distracted sort of way, I picked it up and started to read. Old familiar words I had learned as a child, words of life, quick and powerful, leaped out of those pages and found their way into my heart.
I fell to my knees, and spread the Bible upon the chair, and made a vow that I would not leave that hotel room, if I died of starvation, until there came into my soul a knowledge that my sins had been forgiven, until I knew that I passed from death unto life. With a surge of joy, I realized that God’s promises were even for men like me.
In that hotel room, I found Calvary’s Cross; there I laid my burden down; there, the old man died, and a new one was born. From that place I walked in newness of life, a new creature in Christ Jesus, praise His Name!
God straightened things out between my wife and me, and today she and I and our four children are back together again. The “peace that passeth all understanding” has loosed the taut nerves and muscles which had prevented normal speech, and God gave me back my voice.
Small wonder that there is in my heart a feeling of undying gratitude to the Gideons who have felt the burden to place Bibles in hotel rooms.
Copyright © 1991 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian History magazine.
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