By Michael Albritton
From a canceled date to saving faith
In 1993, Anne attended a Disciple Now weekend at church. She was given a small orange card and asked to write the names of friends who did not know Christ. The first name she wrote was Michael Albritton. She carried the card in her wallet for years. Every time she saw that name, she prayed that one day he’d have a relationship with Jesus.
Anne and I were good friends, and I had no idea she was praying for me. Growing up in South Jackson, I was around church enough to wonder if God was real and to hear that Jesus was important. But God always seemed distant and the importance of Jesus never made sense. In college, I lived for myself by my own strength and for my own goals. In my mind, Christianity was only for the traditional and conservative.
Several years later, as I was finishing up my engineering degree at Mississippi State and Anne was still changing majors at Mississippi College, we went on a few dates. Very soon, we knew we wanted to be more than friends. We planned a date for Valentine’s Day, but Anne canceled the day before I came home. She knew we were heading in a serious direction, and she also knew we were different. She had been a Christian for many years and her faith was important to her. She had committed to marry someone who shared her beliefs, and I didn’t believe anything.
We stayed friends, and she kept praying for me to know Christ. During the next few months, all that I depended on began to fail me: school, sports and relationships. I reached the end of myself physically, mentally and emotionally. God was working in my life, but it took me a little while to realize it.
Within the span of a few weeks, God used a Billy Graham special on TV, a classmate’s questioning if I was a Christian and a roommate’s Bible on the kitchen table as the catalysts for me to begin thinking about God and eternal things.
The only verse I knew was John 3:16 because I had seen it at so many football games. I turned to John 3 and began reading. I read all of John and discovered Jesus the man. I felt so moved by His innocence that I read John a second time, and I discovered Jesus the Son of God.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. At the end of myself, I had nothing else to lose. At 2 a.m. on an April night in 1998, I prayed to Jesus for the first time, believing John 17:3, and made Him the Lord of my life. Up to that moment, I had always wondered if God was real. For every moment since then, I have never doubted!
Anne and I had started seeing one another again, and our relationship did take a more serious turn this time. We still had some adjustments as I began to work out my faith, but God confirmed to both of us that He was drawing us together. God was answering years could have ever asked for or imagined.
He answered Anne’s prayer for my salvation and gave us so much more. I proposed to her in December 1998, and we got married in July 1999. This year we will celebrate 20 years of God’s faithfulness in our marriage.
It’s humbling to remember all God has done. He answered prayers for salvation. He gave Anne courage to end our dating relationship because I wasn’t a believer. He spoke to me through His Word and changed my life. Two decades and three kids later, I’m glad to be on the journey that started with the prayers of a 16- year-old girl. Our story is His story.