BETHELRIDGE, Ky. (BP) — On average a 73-year-old American male can only expect to live another 11 years.
That reality hit Edward Cain, and he knew that his time to get right with God was running out. So the Kentucky retiree began a spiritual search that led him to find faith in Christ this spring through the witness of a longtime friend and a Southern Baptist pastor.
“I knew how old I was and I knew I was going to have to get things straight with God,” Cain, 73, told Baptist Press.
By the world’s standards he wasn’t a wicked man. He had been married for 43 years, had longstanding friendships with believers in Christ and held multiple jobs at once over four decades. His main income came through driving a semi, which he did for 41 years, logging 3 million miles before retirement.
But at times he could become consumed with worry, and he refused to trust Jesus as his provider, protector and Lord. As far back as his school days, he rebuffed those who shared the Gospel with him, including a fervent Methodist.
“There was a lady there who was a strong Christian and she talked to me several different times,” Cain said. “She tried to get me to get saved and I rebelled against it.”
Eventually Cain left church, and not long after graduating from high school he moved from his home in Casey County, Ky., to Cincinnati, where he worked in two factories over 12 years before beginning his career as a truck driver. At times he drank and did other things he knew he shouldn’t, but generally he lived a life that most everybody saw as honorable.
Still, Cain knew he was he was a sinner. By age 73, he also knew God had warned him several times.
“I had two major accidents when I was driving a truck,” he said. “One woman got killed in one. In another [a man] ran under the back of my trailer and got all messed up. God protected me all the time I was out there. There were several times that if it hadn’t been for Him, I’d have been dead. And I knew all those warnings I had weren’t going to last forever. So at my age I decided I better get my life straight.”
So he started attending churches, eventually to discover Polly Ann Baptist Church in the southern Kentucky town of Eubank, where Terry Holt is pastor.
In the midst of his spiritual search, Cain received a phone call from a longtime friend asking if he and Holt could come over to talk. Holt remembers the day well.
“I got a call one morning from one of our church members,” Holt recounted. “He said, ‘I’ve been on the phone with Mr. Ed. I believe he’s under conviction and I think we need to go see him sometime.’ I said, ‘Well, what about right now?'”
When they arrived at Cain’s house, he had the garage door open and three chairs sitting on the driveway.
“Mr. Ed … you know who I am. You know who I represent and I want to know, are you going to heaven or hell?'” Holt said to Cain, who replied, “I’m going to go to hell when I die, and I don’t want to. I want to be saved.”
So he prayed on the driveway, committing his life to Jesus and asking God to save him.
“I guess I was so high on God that I can’t remember much of what went on that day,” Cain said. “The main thing was that Bro. Terry asked me if I was ready to give my heart to God and be saved. And I told him yes I was. So we had prayer and God saved me.”
The next Sunday Holt baptized Cain, and he became a member of Polly Ann Baptist Church. The pastor said Cain never misses church and now uses his truck driving skills to pick up neighborhood kids in the church van for Sunday School and worship each week.
Cain said knowing Jesus has made a major difference in his life, lifting a burden in his soul. He has shared his story with others and hopes some of them will come to faith in Jesus soon.
“Before, I was always worried about this and that,” he said. “And now everything is just calm and peaceful.”
For Christians who have trouble believing that senior adults can come to Jesus, Cain has some advice: “Just look at me.”
It’s advice echoed by Holt.
“Most of the people that are being saved out here are above 70 years old,” the pastor said. “There have just been tons of them who are above 70 years old that have given their hearts to Christ, people that nobody could reach for years. That is amazing.”
David Roach is a writer in Shelbyville, Ky.