Cody grew up in a house where God didn’t really exist. He had great parents who taught him things like “don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal, show respect to others, respect your elders…” However, the family never went to church. The name of God was never spoken. Though Cody endeavoured to live a respectable life, he was ignorant of the true Source of right and wrong.
Then Cody met Julia. It didn’t take long before the two were married, and shortly after, Julia started a new job. She came home the first day and talked about how great everyone was at her new workplace. One person’s name seemed to stand out in particular. Her name was Liz and, “Wow! She is so nice!” were Julia’s words.
Liz began mentoring Julia at work and, after a while, wanted to get a small group together with Cody, Julia and a few others. The purpose would be to study the Bible. Cody’s instant response was an adamant “No!”
Time went on but whenever Julia talked to her husband about the opportunity, he was still resistant to the idea. When she asked why, Cody told her, “I don’t need to go to a Bible study or growth group or attend a church to have a relationship with God.” Looking back, Cody calls that “the biggest cop-out lie” he’s ever told!
Their back-and-forth continued for a while but finally, Cody gave in. He remembers the first time they joined the small group in Liz’s home.
“It was awesome. That first night, no one pressured me. I didn’t feel uncomfortable; everyone was really nice. We had dinner and talked. They slowly eased me into the study, which was great.”
That night when Cody and Julia left, he turned to Julia and said, “Yeah, I can see myself doing this. Let’s do it.” So, they continued to meet.
The young couple even went to church with Liz and her husband a few times, but as Cody puts it, he “wasn’t really ‘feeling it’.” Even so, he found himself becoming hungry to know more.
One day, Liz texted Julia and invited them to try a different church they’d just learned about. Julia was hesitant. Her church background was in a very formal setting and this one would be quite different. Cody wasn’t sure either, but in the end, they both agreed to give it a try.
Cody told Julia, “Alright, we’re going to go. But I don’t want to sit in front. We’ll sit in back.”
Cody’s hopes were quickly dashed as they entered the church, as apparently everyone had that same idea that day. When the two couples walked in, there was nothing available except in the front.
The pastor had been doing a series on fishermen in the Bible. Cody was quickly engrossed. “He hooked me,” he smiles, “He had me on pins and needles.” Cody looked over at Julia and saw she had her notepad out, quickly writing down notes.
“We were learning. It was awesome,” says Cody. “We left and we agreed to go back. The following week… I will never forget that sermon. The pastor spoke about how Peter denied he knew Jesus. He acted out the part of Peter as he spoke. The pastor moved through the days surround Jesus’ death on the cross. He had me.”
As Cody left that day, he turned to Julia and said, “This is our church. I’m learning. I like it.”
Cody and Julia attended for another month, then signed up for the “Starting Point” class, designed to ground new attendees in the gospel. “We read the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. I thought I wouldn’t be able to comprehend it, but that book is great. It makes it so easy to understand the Bible. It takes you on a journey.”
Cody shares how two graphics in the book particularly impacted him. One was a picture of a cross, bridging the chasm that exists between God and mankind. He also describes a graphic the expresses how Jesus paid our debt of sin. “There’s nothing you can do and that really hit home. There is nothing–no good favours, helping this person, helping that one–nothing I do is going to make up the ultimate sacrifice.”
When the study finished, Cody found himself sitting alone at home. “I was sitting there, thinking about how Jesus has changed my life. Just in a short amount of time.”
As he reflects on the year and a half that have passed since he became a believer, he makes a personal observation about himself, “I have noticed my heart has softened so much in the last year and a half. I used to not really care too much, but now I’m a big teddy bear. [Jesus] has brought so much joy into my life and so much love. I’m a better husband now than I was a year ago. I absolutely adore my wife. I love her more than anything besides Jesus.”
In wrapping up his testimony, Cody recalls something the pastor said recently. “Our pastor was talking about people being so caught up and worried… Then he stopped and looked and said, ‘The tomb is empty. The rest is just small stuff.’”
He continues, “I know now that Jesus is the Christ and he died for me and my sins. I am so thankful and there is nothing I can do to add to that.”
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)