A New Year's Eve had become a New Year's Day about an hour before I left my friends' house and headed for home. It was very cold, and newly plowed snow had piled up. I turned on my car radio as I turned off the main road. A broadcast by Elder Laseere Bradley was playing as I realized I had made a mistake in turning onto the unplowed shortcut.
I left Elder Bradley on as I drove through the snow around a lake through a deserted park. Bradley was preaching in a pleading manner, as if he was talking to me. He talked about the much hated doctrine of predestination.
My old car was the worst snow car I have ever driven, and my almost bald tires skewed me around as I plowed through the snow. I was afraid to stop and get stuck, so I kept going, swerving wildly as I negotiated the curvy road. All this time I listened to the old time voice of the preacher.
He was an Independent Baptist and what many would call a five point Calvinist. I was a student of the Bible, yet still an Arminian. But Bradley had hold of me. Though contrary to my beliefs, his logic and references to the scriptures was unassailable. He had an accent that appealed to me. Half of my family descended from such people, though they are disappearing.
At first I was skeptical. His message was new to me--God has chosen us, before we were born, to be his people. As Jacob was chosen before he wrestled with the angel, my name was already on God's list of the elect, before I was born. Nothing could be so radical.
My car finally broke through the unplowed side road onto the main highway once again. But something had occurred to me. Almost like realizing you are in love. My crazy trip was over and I was safe. But in that short passage I had matured in my doctrine and there was no going back.
I have a sermon by Elder Bradley on a cassette. It sounds like so long ago and I guess it was. He is still my favorite preacher. That night, in the snow, he did so much for me.