The Journey in the Will of God – Part 2 “Broken”
My life had gradually spiraled downward over the past eight years leading up to the accident. At 23, the alcohol, the drugs, the girls, the anger, the fighting, the insecurities, the confusion, the endless searching, the implications of living a life on the edge had caught up to me. As I came closer to the bottom of my pit, I was running barely one step ahead of the consequences of my choices. As a young teen, I wasn’t interested in the party scene. I was a typical sports crazed kid and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to put something harmful into their body. But my deep insecurities and craving for acceptance overwhelmed my weak convictions and I eventually gave in to the temptation provided by classmates and “friends”. An insatiable craving to fit in began to manifest as a sip of the bottle, a toke of the joint, and ultimately digressed over the course of eight years into a full-blown lifestyle of drugs, drinking, immorality, addiction, self-loathing, despair, fear and bondage. I was in bondage to lifestyle I had grown to despise. But as much as I despised my choices, that revulsion did not match the hatred I had for the young man I saw in the mirror. I had been searching for something I could not find. I kept trying to fill a void that could not be satisfied. Now I wanted out but could not escape in spite of a thousand regrets and proclamations. I wanted something to make sense, something to give me hope, something to free me from myself, but all I could see was despair and all I could create was regret.
Blinded by my own self-loathing, pain and ignorance, veiled from my eyes but incredibly close, was the very power and hope I so desperately craved. But the places I had searched for answers always left me disillusioned and wanting. The satisfaction and contentedness that eluded me was never found in another high, another job, another one night stand, a stronger body or mind, another philosophy or psychology. I knew because I tried them all and nothing delivered the peace, healing, freedom and purpose I sought. I thought about God but that concept seemed so distant…so unreachable…so impractical…so impersonal…so foolish…how could religion provide any real solutions to my problems? I wanted desparately to believe that my life had purpose but all my jaded perceptions seemed to defy that possibility. I had no faith in God. I didn’t even believe He existed, or if He did, it probably wasn’t found through man’s religions. I went to Catholic church as a kid but never understood the point. As soon as I was old enough to refuse my church going mother, I joined my unbelieving dad and stopped attending.
But the very God I professed did not exist knew me and His people were praying. People I didn’t even know and would never meet, who were praying for a broken young man in Michigan who desperately needed hope, truth and deliverance…an encounter with the Divine.
Six weeks before the accident I was over at my parent’s house raiding their refrigerator. Since I had lost my job, food was scarce and a trip to the parents would help ease the hunger for a night. The doorbell rang and I opened the door to three strangers. “Hi, I’m Ron and this is Bill and Lisa. We’re from Grace Bible Church and we are here to visit Jenny.” “Oh great” I thought to myself. “Bible thumpers”. My sister Jenny had been “badgering” me to go to church with her for some time since she “found God”. She had recently come back to Michigan for a few days from her home in Virginia. Since she was only in town for a few days, I gave in to her begging and went to a church service with her during her stay. She had since gone back to Virginia and here I was standing in the doorway thinking of a way to get rid of these church people. “She’s not here. She’s back home in Virginia.” Their faces were puzzled and Ron replied, “Well that’s strange…she filled out a visitor card and asked for a visit and gave this address. We were just over at her brother’s apartment but he wasn’t there. He filled out a card and asked for a visit too.” I connected the dots and realized that my sister had filled out a card and put my name on it. She apparently checked the box that said I wanted a visit so the church people would come and visit me. Great. “That would be me” I said, resigned to my captivity for the next half hour with the “Jesus freaks”. Ron’s confusion became excitement as he asked if they could come in and talk. I might have said no but I was intrigued by the pretty young lady named Lisa. I remember being drawn in by her beautiful blue eyes and pretty face so before I could think it through I told them to come in. As soon as they got in the door I immediately regretted my decision to allow them in. I realized that my atheist dad was going to have fun giving me a hard time for talking to the church people. Sigh…(cont’d.)