My name is Myles Roland. I’m 24 years old and I’ve been a believer for 2 years. God had mercy on me and brought me to faith in His Son through the faithfulness of another believer that was willing to build a relationship with me and walk me through the Exchange. I grew up in a broken unsaved home. My Dad struggled with substance abuse and depression so he was in and out of our lives. My mom did the best she could to raise my little sister and I as a single parent.
AGE 12 – I started realizing how broken our lives were. I turned to cutting myself as an outlet to vent my frustration and feelings of hopelessness. When my Mom noticed my scars, she took me to a therapist so that I could get some help. It was nice to talk about my feelings, but even then I knew that therapy could never truly fix anything. The older I got, the more hopeless and empty I felt. I hated myself, I hated life, and I even hated the people in my life that loved me. “I’m evil, all people are evil, life is pain, and then you die.” That was my perspective at the time.
AGE 18 – I’d almost completely withdrawn from others and I wanted to die more than anything. I gave myself over to reckless behavior and the lusts of my flesh in an effort to numb and slowly kill myself. I was too afraid to just take my own life because I didn’t know what would be waiting for me on the other side. I had a strong feeling that if there was a hell, I’d rightfully be there for the things I’d done
AGE 22 – One night I’d hit rock bottom and I was so ashamed of myself that I broke down in tears and began praying. I asked God (whoever He was) to forgive me for everything and to reveal Himself if He was real. Even in my sin, something always told me that there was a God and He’d seen everything I’d done. A few days later my addictions were unexplainably gone and my desires were radically changed. I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus for some reason. Night and day, His name was stuck in my head, all the time! I couldn’t stop thinking about Him even if I tried. I became totally obsessed with watching documentaries and reading articles about Him online. Eventually I bought a Bible so I could investigate Him further for myself.
Within a few weeks, it was obvious that Jesus was like no human who had ever lived. I loved Him, but I couldn’t understand why. I’d never met Him, but I knew that He was everything. One night while I was watching a documentary about Jesus, I suddenly felt this overcoming sense of peace like I’d never felt before and a sensation like a warm oil filling my body. Inside my head I heard a voice saying “Jesus is Lord.” At the time I didn’t understand what that meant, but I just knew it was true. I know that sounds really charismatic and experiential, but I truly believe that God permanently changed me in that moment.
After that night, I was determined to be among other people that loved Jesus, so I found a small church not too far from me. Before I even walked in the door I was greeted by an elderly man who noticed my Bible and said I was at the right place and he welcomed me in. Immediately the pastor (Jeremy Van DeLinder) warmly greeted me and began asking me questions as to why I decided to visit. I told him I just had a desire to learn about Jesus and be around other people that loved Him too. I’ll never forget how kind and loving everyone was my first day visiting. I was a total stranger, but everyone welcomed me.
I told Pastor Jeremy that I’d been studying the Bible on my own for the past couple of months and he offered to do a 4 week Bible study with me (The Exchange). “4 weeks?? That sounds like a lot of commitment,” I thought. I was very hesitant to agree because in my eyes, I’d been getting along just fine studying the Bible on my own. I said yes, and we agreed to meet at local coffee shop. When the day came for my meeting, I texted the pastor and told him that I didn’t have enough gas in my car or money to meet him. I was hoping he’d back off, but he persisted. He said that He wouldn’t mind coming over to my house for the Bible study. My roommates were gone so I thought, “Why not.”
Sure enough he came over and by the end of our meeting I was so thankful that he did. He answered all of my questions about election, Calvinism, Jesus’ Birthday, false religion, etc. Most importantly, he walked me through all four chapters of The Exchange and patiently and clearly explained to me the character of God. I had a nebulous understanding of God’s justice, love, holiness, and mercy from my own personal study but The Exchange solidified all of the concepts in my mind. The gospel and the Person and work of Jesus Christ made perfect sense. Prior to the lesson, I understood that Jesus had died and risen again so that our sins could be forgiven, but when we got to the final part of The Exchange where our record is exchanged for Christ’s it blew my mind. I almost couldn’t believe that God not only forgives sinners through Christ, He also credits His righteousness to our account!! My Pastor asked me if I wanted to put my faith in Christ alone and I said yes!!!
From that day on he took me under his wing and discipled me. We’d meet at coffee shop every week and go through a devotional, he gave me opportunities to serve in the church, and he baptized me, when I’d go astray he was also there to patiently help me get back on track. I love him like a dad. I expressed to him that I thought God was calling me to be a missionary. When I first got saved it frustrated and angered me that I’d gone my whole life knowing Christians, even being invited to church and no one ever shared the gospel with me… That caused me to wonder about people in places with no access to the Bible or the gospel. I read Romans 1 and the answer was clear. Even those who haven’t heard are without excuse and will but judged for their sin. My pastor encouraged me to go to Bible College and by God’s grace I began attending International Baptist College and Seminary about 6 or 7 months after being saved.
One thing I’ll never forget is the love that everyone showed to me at my home church. Immediately after I started attending church they all welcomed me into their lives and their homes. They treated me like family even though I looked different than them and I was a complete stranger. They even helped fund my first semester of Bible college! It was like nothing I’d ever experienced in the world. These people had become my family.
I’m so thankful for God’s grace in saving me from sin and its consequences. The Exchange is such a wonderful tool for sharing Gospel because it’s not only convenient for sharing deep theological truths about God, it also facilitates the building of a genuine relationship between the giver and the person going through it. I hope and pray that God would continue to this wonderful tool to bring the lost to Himself.