Marriage. Alcoholism. Relationship breakdown. Where is God in the midst of these things? Jeff and Virginia Ball share about their 20 years marriage that was in tatters.
Virginia was born in Sydney to a Christian mother, but her father unfortunately wasn’t. It was quite a dysfunctional family. But the one thing that always stayed with her from her days at Sunday school was that Jesus was the Son of God.
Jeff was born and raised in Melbourne, in a non-Christian home. At 16, he left school and joined the air force as an apprentice. After a move to Sydney, he met Virginia at a ballroom dancing class.
After 13 years of a tough marriage, Virginia says she was very unhappy. Jeff and Virginia were both very controlling and dominating. They also both had serious drinking problems that led to one conflict after another. They separated three times.
Then one Christmas season, Virginia received a brochure in the letter box about a Christmas service at the local church. She rang and spoke with the Pastor, and all she could remember him saying was that Jesus loved her. “Those words have stuck with me right up until this day,” says Virginia. “It was through him and that church that I came to the Lord.”
Even though Jeff appreciated the change in Virginia when she became a Christian, he wasn’t remotely interested himself. He admits to being continually aggressive, and it just let to more conflict between them. Until Virginia suggested Christian counselling as a last resort.
“I guess you would classify me as an agnostic back then,” says Jeff. “But I was thinking to myself, when you see the extraordinary nature of the universe, there’s got to be something beyond that. But I certainly didn’t believe anything as far as the Christian faith was concerned.”
During the process of counselling, Jeff was asked to read a book by Francis Schaffer that impacted him greatly. The book spoke of the God of the Bible who was the Creator of all things. That was a major step for Jeff. Virginia says that he was then invited to the Alpha program. “He saw the witness of the people in that group, and I really think that changed his mind.”
Alpha answered so many of Jeff’s questions. “Before I could have a spiritual conversion, I needed to satisfy some of the intellectual things,” he says. “Something that really touched me was one of the guys who led the extended session of Alpha. I could just see the love of Christ in this man.”
It wasn’t long after that Jeff picked up Virginia’s Bible. “I started reading, and I heard God say clearly, if you don’t come to me now, you never will. I’d been procrastinating for a long time, but that absolutely struck the core of my brain because I understood that there was an afterlife. I knew I had a choice to make, and I had to make it then. So I got down on my knees, and asked for God’s forgiveness.”
Only God could have turned a messy marriage into a miraculous salvation. “I believe that God always makes the best of a bad situation and He certainly did so in this,” Jeff shares.
“Praise God for that!”
To listen to the entire testimony on The Story, click below.
Reflect & Respond
- It was through a Christmas event that changed the trajectory of Jeff and Virginia’s marriage. Jesus came to save and is still saving. Do you have a relationship that needs His saving grace? Will you surrender this to Him? Can you think of one person this week to share the Good News of Christmas this season?
- ‘Jesus loves you’ is the phrase that changed Virginia’s life and her marriage. How has this phrase impacted you? Send your testimony to www.vision.org.au/yourstory
- Is there a situation you feel is impossible? How does Jeff and Virginia’s testimony encourage you in surrendering your situation to God?