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The Most Unlikely Bible Student

Posted on July 24, 2014
The Most Unlikely Bible Student
Just a few short years ago, no one would have ever thought Lawrence Thompson would be used by God for the glory of His kingdom. But God isn’t like anyone else! Even when we’re in the depths and despair of sin, God is not only waiting and ready to change us, but to help us be an active part of His kingdom.

That’s why as an adult looking back on his troubled life, Lawrence can say without any doubt, “The only reason I’m here is because of God’s love.” He believes his life could have ended prematurely in so many ways, yet he stands strong today in the light of his Father’s love.

Lawrence’s biological father wasn’t around much, and his parents divorced when he was only two. Instead, he was raised in a volatile home by his mother and stepfather. “My father was into basketball and women, and he didn’t teach me the fatherly things in life,” Lawrence recalls. “My mother never really wanted me, and my stepfather abused me.”

When his biological father heard about the abuse at home, he confronted Lawrence’s mother and step-father, creating an explosive family crisis. “My mother came into my room yelling, ‘You’re messing up my life!’ and she began pounding on my bed. She kept saying, ‘Why don't you just kill me?’ over and over.”

While his grandmother was a Sabbathkeeping Christian and he joined the church’s youth program at the local church, it wasn’t enough to turn him away from dark influences. So, finding no acceptance at home, he turned to the streets.

A Broken Spirit
Lawrence desperately wanted to make a name for himself, and he found a pathway to that by establishing friendships with gang members. He even recalls seeing the gangster Scarface as a role model. Often, the tension in his new life was too much to bear. “One night while high on ecstasy, I dreamed I was killed. The experience was so horrific, it drove me back to church.” But each time his relationship with church didn’t last long. “Soon, I was on the streets again, and my lifestyle was worse than ever.”

Even though he got married and had kids, Lawrence felt little love toward his family. He admits, “I just wanted money and success.” He soon established himself as a drug dealer and pimp, earning lots of money. He was even given a street name: Mac-L.

Despite all this, God never let him alone. “There was great controversy in my life. All the time, Scriptures would come to my mind, like Proverbs 14:12. ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.’ ”

One day, it dawned on Lawrence that he was utterly trapped by sin. “I was tired of getting shot at and hurting other people. Yet I had four kids and had to keep earning money to support them. I was trapped, and I didn’t know how to get out.”

He became so desperate, he cried out for help, “God, please help me. Take me away from this life.” God began to answer one day when Lawrence and some friends planned to steal $100,000 and several pounds of marijuana. He explains, “I was high on cocaine, but I prayed, ‘Lord, if you can hear me, don’t let this go through.” Not long after, the car’s tire popped. When his friends went to change it, they realized the spare tire was missing.

“I should have learned from that, but didn’t,” Lawrence says, but God kept opening doors for his way out. “I went back to jail. I was even hospitalized three times and had a minor heart attack from all my cocaine use. There is no question in Lawrence’s mind that this was God’s divine hand leading him away from this life and into something much better.

A New Call on His Life
Once out of jail, Lawrence attended a Christian revival in Central California. While there, he befriended several loving Christians and ended up joining them at a special Bible training event. At the end of that series, Lawrence was asked to give his testimony.

After he confessed to the goodness of Christ in his life, God’s next big plan for him was revealed. To Lawrence’s surprise, a call was made to raise funds to send him to AFCOE. He watched in amazement as donor after donor gave funds. “I don’t know how much was raised that night, but it was a lot—enough for many more to attend,” he recalls. The Lord’s guidance and provision were clear to Lawrence, so he accepted God’s call and attended the AFCOE program.

“It was at AFCOE that I learned about true friendship,” he remembers. He was deeply impressed by the camaraderie that developed with his classmates, all united by faith in Christ and by prayer. “AFCOE also taught me how to pray. I learned how to really walk with Jesus.” And through the eye-opening doctrine and prophecy classes, he learned much more about the Bible than ever before. “I learned so much about Bible prophecy,” he says. “And I learned how to study the whole Bible better.”

Lawrence recognizes God’s blessings and knows his journey isn’t over. Armed with an AFCOE education, Lawrence dreams of becoming a Bible worker, youth pastor, or evangelist so he can help others know his God. He’s the kind of worker that God can use to relate to those in the deepest waters of sin.

While living his life without God, Lawrence experienced great hardship and much sin. But when once he felt trapped and a slave to money, now he relaxes in God’s provisions. God even provided him the opportunity to work in the sales department of Amazing Facts. “Of course, I don’t have the same kind of money anymore,” he explains, “but it doesn’t matter. God says He will supply all my needs.” Along with so many other things, God has used Amazing Facts to do just that.

Finally, Lawrence explains, “I’ve often remembered what Jesus says in Luke 22:31, 32, and I put my own name in the verse. ‘Lawrence, Lawrence, Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.’ I’m here today because of my High Priest who was interceding for me while I was in the world. I’m here today because of the power of prayer.”
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