A Picture-Perfect Life Gets Turned Upside Down

We recently received the following testimony of how a Gideon-placed Scripture impacted a family and would like to share it with you.

Several years ago I was a successful emergency room doctor living the American Dream. My wife, Nancy, and I owned a picture-perfect house on the coast of Maine, filled with two young children and lots of beautiful furnishings. However, there was an emptiness inside, and when bad things happened to us, as they eventually do to everyone, we had no moral anchor.

I had been raised Protestant and Nancy had been raised Jewish. When we married, we walked away from our religious traditions. By the time our children started school, they were so confused they thought at Christmastime the character from The Fiddler on the Roof slid down the chimney.

A turning point in our lives came when Nancy’s only brother drowned in front of my family at the beach. Around the same time, a former patient began stalking me. When I notified the police, they found that the patient had murdered his mother and stuffed her in a closet. And then one beautiful fall morning our neighbor called and asked if I could help tell her son—who was the same age as my son—that his father had been in the first plane that hit the World Trade Center.

My family was crashing against a wall of evil. My marriage suffered, and I struggled with understanding the point of living. I began looking for help outside the boundaries of my secular worldview. I read Hindu, Muslim, and other sacred texts, but I did not find the answers for which I longed.

One slow Sunday working at the hospital, I wandered into a patient lounge. I had forgotten to bring a book, and was looking for something to read. The coffee table was strewn with magazines. Then I noticed a book.

It was a Bible placed by The Gideons International. I looked at it and thought, I’ve never read the Bible before. I’d like to read it, but I don’t want to start a book that I can’t finish. So, I took it home.

I began by reading the Gospels. There, I encountered Jesus. Christ turned my life upside down, leading me to radically simplify my life. I got rid of half my possessions and many bad habits. Eventually, I came to the point Billy Graham describes as the moment when you know that you know that you know. I was saved by accepting God’s gift of his holy Son.

In all this good news, there is better news. I gave the same Gideon-placed Bible to my son, Clark. He read the Gospels and C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, and surrendered his life to Christ. He is in medical residency now and has been called to be a medical missionary, along with his wife.

My wife met Christ after listening to the Bible on audiobook. She describes meeting the Lord while walking down a mountain one Sunday evening. She realized that the Lord was walking beside her.

Our daughter, Emma, was the last in our family to meet the Good Shepherd. Since then she has graduated from a Christian college, authored a book that was published, and works for a ministry.

I no longer practice medicine or live in a perfect house on the coast. Instead, I have spoken at more than 1,000 churches and seminaries about Biblical stewardship. The Bible we hand to a stranger or place in a hospital waiting room is a living Bible. I give my thanks to all who labor to spread the only words that give eternal life.

God bless the work of Gideons. It saved my family’s life.

M. Sleeth, M.D.

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