Where Are You God? Can I walk away?
When I got back home from my brother’s funeral, I realized I had to get out of there and I started praying to God for help. I was angry, hurt, and alone. I realized that life was short and it could have been my funeral. I really didn’t know that if I died whether I would go to heaven or not and I had to do something about that. God heard my prayers and I was reassigned to an Air Force base in another state. After settling in, I became active again in church and I also swore off women. But God had a plan...
I went to a technical training school in Denver and a funny thing happened. I didn’t learn a lick about computers, but I met my future wife. I remember the first time I saw her. It was November 13 about 7:00 in the morning. She held the door open for me as I entered the building. The first time I looked at her, I didn’t realize that I was looking at my soul-mate, but I was. The first quality I saw in her was that she was out-spoken, had a spine, and didn’t seem to put up with much stuff from people -- just the right person to keep me in line. On the anniversary of our first date, we were married.
Shortly after getting married, we were relocated to the east coast where our first son was born. I was so excited. Being there to help my son be delivered was an indescribable thrill. What a gift from God! That was one of the happiest days of my life. I looked forward to being there for him as he grew up. There would be two fathers that Dylan would see through me. I wanted him to see his earthly father, but more importantly, his Heavenly Father.
That would be a daunting task, especially since I was getting more and more frustrated with church and the religion of my childhood. I was no longer happy where I was, but I didn’t want to leave. Church was the only good thing I had left from my childhood. Finally, I realized I had enough. After years of struggling, I left.
When I walked away from church, I also walked away from God. I knew He was still around, but I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to be alone. I started partying again, taking any and every opportunity to drink. I didn’t care. I didn’t even care much for my wife anymore. But that didn’t stop us from having our second son. This made me feel complete. I was content to build the rest of my life around these two boys.
I had always wanted to raise my children in church, so at first I felt guilty for walking away from God and the church, but with each drink I took, I felt increasingly comfortable with the decision. There would be time for God in their lives later. Life moved on and my desert experience became more and more comfortable.
I retired from the Air Force and found it to be a scary transition. I had always had the comfort and security of a job, but now had to go and make it in the “real world.” This was so depressing for me. Without my knowing it, God was taking away another source of dependency. I found a job and was hired, but I became depressed. I remember driving home from work and thinking about accelerating and running into the cement bridge supports. I wanted life to be over. I was tired of living and couldn’t deal with it anymore. I wasn’t close to my wife. My kids were growing up in front of me and I wasn’t too close to them. Sure, I loved them, but I also knew that someday they would grow up and leave.
I got fired from my job. I had to provide for my family and I needed help. I took some time to think about things and God opened the door for me to take a job as a civilian at an Air Force base.
Where Are You God? Will I wake up?
We decided we needed to get into church and tried several local churches, but none of them worked out. The boys would fall asleep or fidget or look at the clock and ask when it was going to be over. I was going nuts. I was screaming out to God from inside, but didn’t know what to say. I was having a tough time facing Him because I walking further and further away from Him.
Would I ever wake up?
The boys and I were driving through Texas after spending some time with some friends to celebrate New Years. I was driving at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I blacked out. One second, I was going about 80 mph and the next I was off the road. I awoke and tried to slow the car down. We ended up going airborne and then landing in a ditch. I was severely injured with one crushed vertebrae and I had smashed my face into the rear view mirror. Miraculously, the boys were uninjured. I ended up spending 18 days in the hospital and having two major surgeries. I was grateful to be alive.
Where Are You God? Can I return to You?
Regardless of how far I tried to get away from God, I realized that I can never go further than the long arm of God’s love. This accident was a perfect example; there were many twists and turns that clearly showed God’s saving grace and patience. When I blacked out, had I drifted to the right, I’d have run into trees. Instead, I drifted left, onto the grassy median. I had no paralysis or permanent spinal cord or nerve damage. Any of these elements could have turned out drastically different, but they didn’t, because God’s hand was upon me -- protecting me, keeping me from death and permanent injury. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.” I know that God put me together and He’s been there for me through it all!
After about 1 year of trying to return to normal, we visited a new church. As soon as I walked through the doors, I felt a peace about the place and knew I was home. The people all had smiles on their faces and seemed real. We dropped the boys off at Sunday School and went to the main service. The place was amazing. There was a band on the stage and the music was great. The pastor, a man about my age, spoke from the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. He was starting a lesson in Genesis. How appropriate...perhaps this was a new beginning for me as well. After what seemed about 15 minutes, he closed and I looked at my watch. Ninety minutes had elapsed!
Surely the boys had torn down the props in the Sunday School room! We ran right over and to my surprise, the boys were having a great time and both said asked if we could come back the next Sunday. God brought us home. The following Easter, both of my boys gave their hearts and lives to Jesus. That same year, all of us were baptized and I recommitted myself to Christ. This time, I gave Him all of me, not just my heart.
Where Are You God? You’ve been here all along. . .waiting for me.
In coming home to God, I know I’ve been forgiven for my sins and I have realized this forgiveness is to be shared. I have forgiven my father for his contribution to my lousy childhood and I have forgiven myself for what I could have done better. I love my Heavenly Father with all of my heart, soul, and mind, and I love, respect, and appreciate my earthly dad. We have become good friends.
What God has done for me, with me, and to me is indescribable. And you know what? He has the same love, passion, and joy for you! Like me, you have a free will. You have to choose God.
In Matthew 7 we learn: “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you!” Choose God. He has already chosen you!