John's ambition, as a lad in school, was to excel in sports, but he had a problem with his eyesight. An ophthalmologist diagnosed the problem when he was ten years old and solved it by prescribing thick-lens glasses. That ended John's dreams of being a sports hero, however, the new glasses enhanced his ability to read, and a perceptive aunt recognized the enormity of her nephew's disappointment, and introduced him to the public library.
Thus, a whole new world was opened to John, for he became an avid reader, a pursuit he followed all his life. There were two exceptions: he refused to read anything that was defiling or that contained profanity. Still, he read widely, as illustrations in his books reveal.
In years to come he became world-famous as a gifted author, a gift he might never have realized had his initial ambitions been achieved. Further, he learned the truth of God's Word to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct Thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
John graduated from high school when he was fifteen years old, and was hired by a bank in Cardiff, Wales.
This stood him in good stead in the big world he had entered, for the bank had plans to train him as a bank manager, a position that required years of training.
Then, at age 18 he received a letter postmarked from the King of England, which quite excited him until he opened the correspondence and discovered it was his orders to enlist in the army — certainly not an invitation!
Time was given and arrangements were made. Then he boarded the train that would take him to the Induction Center. A whole new world was about to open for him, but as the train moved farther and farther from surroundings familiar to him, a voice began to speak to his heart: "You will never make it in the army with your brand of Christianity, John." It was then that he made a total commitment of his heart to Jesus Christ. When he arrived at his destination and was assigned to the barracks, he opened his bag, pulled out his Bible and laid it, open, on his cot. According to his testimony, he never was treated as an object of ridicule, though he remained true to his commitment made to God during the train ride.
"And they who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; for Thou Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee." (Psalm 9:10).