A Life or Death Decision

Written by Kevin Miller

Profile: Kerry Bradley, COO, Luxottica Retail (includes Lenscrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears and more)

faith_bradleyIf you were crossing your college campus on a beautiful, sunny day and saw a young student staring off into space as he whiled away the afternoon on a park bench, probably the last thing you’d assume he was thinking about was suicide. Girls, maybe. Or possibly exams or his future. But taking his own life? Not likely. Well, if the young man that you saw was Kerry Bradley and the year was 1976, you’d have been wrong.

End of the rope

As a freshman taking English and philosophy at Auburn University, Kerry was nearing the end of his rope. For months, he had been inundated by professors and authors who made a case for a godless world. They described the human race – and all life, for that matter – as an accident; something that had evolved from a nameless, faceless creature which had slithered and clawed its way out of the primordial ooze 100 million years ago. And if life was an accident, they argued, then it was also without meaning. Thus, the only thing worth doing was making the most of what little time you had. Eat, drink and be merry.

Such teachings had forced Kerry out onto a ledge as far as his religious beliefs were concerned. Kerry had been raised in the church where he had become a Christian at age 10. He had been taught that God created everything, including him. Not only that, Kerry was told – and believed – that God had also created a world beyond this one in which we could go to live with him forever after we die. It was God’s involvement in the world that gave life meaning; that gave all of us a future after death if we chose to follow Him.

But now Kerry was wondering if those beliefs were really true or if he had been merely a naïve child blindly accepting the faith of his parents. “What if my professors are right?” He wondered. “What if there is no God? What if everything I’ve ever been taught or ever believed about God is either a hoax or a naïve dream?” If they were right, Kerry reasoned, then he was a fool, and he should just end his life right there. Better to put himself out of his misery straight away than have to endure a painful life that ultimately led nowhere.

Voice of reason

As he brooded on these issues, Kerry moved from merely contemplating suicide to actually planning it. What would be the best way to kill himself that day, he wondered….

Fortunately, through the confusion Kerry heard what he describes as “a voice of reason” whisper to his soul. “Don’t do anything rash,” it said. “This is a decision you can’t undo. Sleep on it. If you still want to do it tomorrow, then do it.”

Kerry decided to follow this advice. But he did more than just sleep on it. He began to think things through, reviewing the claims of Jesus and the things he had been taught in church and measuring them against what he was being taught in college. Over time, Kerry regained confidence in the validity of his faith, realizing that the claims of Christ made far more sense than the virtually unproven theory of evolution. Life – his life – did have meaning after all. That soft whisper bought Kerry the time he needed to rediscover the childlike faith that had drawn him to God in the first place. What a relief.

Today, Kerry, who is now Chief Operating Officer at LensCrafters/Sunglass Hut International, says the decision to keep on living has made all the difference in the world. “It’s not just that I’m still alive but that I’m living for a purpose, with fulfillment, with joy and with power because I’m sold out to Jesus. That same voice I heard at age ten came through and steered me to safety. And I have heard that same voice every day since.”

Have you reached a crisis of belief in your life? Jesus can help you resolve it in the same way he helped Kerry. If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Amen.

After gradating “summa cum laude” from Auburn and earning a masters degree in Business from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Kerry Bradley worked for Proctor & Gamble and 20/20 Research, a marketing research and consulting firm. Then in 1988 he joined LensCrafters. He worked his way from Director of Marketing, to Executive VP of Marketing and Strategic Planning, and finally to COO of all the Luxottica retail divisions.

He is married to Laura and has three teenage children. He is active in Hope Church, in Mason, Ohio, and enjoys music and college football – especially the Auburn Tigers!

3 Responses to “A Life or Death Decision”

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Lord God. I pray that all who read this living testimony that they will turn themselves around and give there burdens to God Almighty in Jesus Mighntyname Amen

  • overworked says:

    [Ed’s note: This comment has been removed because it breaks our terms of service, specifically the section that prohibits personal attacks.]

  • SiWo says:

    Thank you!

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