Step by Step Guidance

May 02, 2017

This young man has found that the Lord has led every step of the way.

By Alex Wilson

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aving the privilege to grow up being taught the Gospel is truly wonderful, but what is even better is to be born into it through the experience of salvation, which no amount of godly heritage can ever provide. This is something every sinner must receive for himself, regardless of his background. There are no shortcuts. As a boy of six years old, I felt a very real need for a change in my heart. Kneeling beside my bed, I prayed in childlike faith, asking Jesus to forgive my sins and to live in my heart. Over twenty years have passed since that prayer, but the grace of God which was extended to me that day is still alive and well in my heart!

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where my parents were faithful to take me to the Apostolic Faith Church even before my earliest memories. I learned from a young age that Jesus loves me. The lessons at Sunday school, Children’s church, and from my parents helped me understand the necessity of personally accepting Jesus into my heart in order to go to Heaven some day. Now I am so thankful for that decision to invite Him in while I was still young.

I did not fully understand the power of sanctification or grasp how it purifies and aligns one’s heart with the Lord through the removal of the sinful nature. All I knew was that it was the next step, and therefore seeking it was up to me.

Shortly after receiving salvation, I walked into my parents’ bedroom and asked my dad what the “next step” was. He explained sanctification to me, which prompted me to begin seeking that experience in a childlike way. At the time, I did not fully understand the power of sanctification or grasp how it purifies and aligns one’s heart with the Lord through the removal of the sinful nature. All I knew was that it was the next step, and therefore seeking it was up to me. My memory of receiving that experience is clear. A sermon at the church in Portland caused me to want to simply be brought closer to God. Kneeling at the altar of prayer after the service, I asked the Lord to stir my heart and He faithfully answered and gave me the experience of sanctification.

Once again, I asked my dad about the next step in my spiritual journey, and he explained about the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When I was sixteen years old, God impressed upon my heart that it was time to act.  Sitting out in front of the tabernacle before an evening service at a Portland camp meeting, I promised to seek for that experience. I did not know how or when it would happen, but a resolve was in my heart to pursue God until I received.

After the service ended, I went through all of my consecrations again, reviewing aspects of my life that were already yielded and reconfirming that they were still given to God. The Spirit of the Lord was there, but as I continued praying, it felt as if my heart was in a dry desert land. I was so tired of seeking, and thought everything had been given to God once and then again. Despite all of that, something just wasn’t right. It was at this point the final step came. The Lord showed me to simply praise Him. When all of that raw emotion was turned it into heartfelt praises to Him, within a matter of seconds He gave me an experience that to this day still constitutes my definition of the phrase “awesome wonder.” It felt as if a door had been opened on a windy day and someone had walked right in front of me. I opened my eyes but there was no one there. In fact, there were probably less than a half dozen people still at the altars. The only person near was my great-uncle, Roy Frymire, who was faithfully praying with me. At that moment the very real presence of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, descended into my heart. God is so good! The witness came as I briefly spoke in a language unknown to me, and again the next night during a wonderful reanointing where I spoke in another language until finally going to sleep.

Looking back, it is clear that the Lord has been with me everywhere I have gone and has helped with every challenge. In seventh grade, my life was significantly altered when my dad was asked to pastor the Apostolic Faith Church in Seattle, Washington. He and my mom faithfully answered that call, and so in the summer of 2002, at the age of thirteen, I moved there with my parents and two sisters. Adjusting to a new city was challenging, but the Lord was with me to provide strength and help.

During the summer of 2006, I contracted a rare and serious infection in my left eye which could easily have blinded me. Thankfully, the condition was diagnosed in its early stages, which prevented more serious damage. Even so, I was not able to see out of that eye for about three months while undergoing an intensive treatment program. During that time, God provided a way for me to continue to work at my part-time job and attend high school classes. My vision in that eye is still blurred due to the effects of the infection, but I praise the Lord that sight is as good as it is. The incident could be summed up by saying “I got lucky,” but that isn’t what really happened. God intervened on my behalf and brought me through that difficult time just as He wanted.

In September of 2007, my life underwent two more significant changes: starting college, and my parents moving to Richmond, California, to assume the pastorate there. Through these adjustments, the Lord was still faithful to be with me.

In September of 2007, my life underwent two more significant changes: starting college, and my parents moving to Richmond, California, to assume the pastorate there. Through these adjustments, the Lord was still faithful to be with me. Going into college, I had decided to pursue a career in the engineering field but was uncertain which branch to choose. The Lord provided a clear answer through the prerequisite classes. Two out of the three branches I was considering would have required a lot of work in areas where I didn’t enjoy the entry level classes. However, in the third branch—electrical engineering—the beginning course work helped me see clearly that my path should go into that field. 

Throughout my schooling, the Lord repeatedly provided for me. He was faithful to give me the needed scholarships, as well as the opportunity for internship and tutoring work so I could graduate with no debt and step right into full-time employment where I had been interning. Considering the poor economy during those years, there is no doubt whatsoever that it was God’s hand that provided exactly what I needed.

The Lord proved Himself faithful to me in another way during my time in college. Occasionally an almost paralyzing fear of failure would grip me. Even though my mind knew logically that I could learn the material, at times it was hard to convince myself of that. Then it occurred to me that I would do my best, the Lord would do the rest. What a change that realization made in my outlook! The irrational fear and stress instantly disappeared, and I knew that even if the results of my course work were not what I wanted or envisioned, by truly putting forth my best effort, the Lord could to counted upon to guide me. Simply knowing the Lord would be there no matter what the outcome was a tremendous benefit to me.

I knew the choice of who to marry is one of the biggest decisions a person can make, and again, the Lord was there to lead.

Near the end of my time in college, I began dating Lorina, the young lady who would become my wife. I knew the choice of who to marry is one of the biggest decisions a person can make, and again, the Lord was there to lead. As Lorina and I got to know each other better, it seemed more and more like marriage was the direction we were headed. However, I still felt uncertain because I had not received a one-hundred-percent definite answer from the Lord that Lorina was the one I was to marry. It was time to dive deep into prayer. 

God was faithful yet again. Walking through a parking lot one morning while heading into work, praying silently as I went, the Lord’s Spirit assured me that Lorina was indeed the right one for me. It was so clear that it was almost like receiving one of the foundational spiritual experiences. There was no doubt.

Since our marriage we have been blessed over and over again by the Lord. He has provided the opportunity for me to continue my studies in engineering while working, the opportunity for Lorina to attend college and begin her career, and the blessing of having a wonderful church family here in Seattle to support us with their prayers. I do not have the years of experience of many of the older saints, but it is absolutely certaint that the Lord has been good to me in my short number of years of knowing Him. I cannot give Him enough praise for what He has made out of my life!

About the author

Alex Wilson and his wife Lorina attend the Apostolic Faith Church in Seattle, Washington, where he is a youth minister.