A Dark Secret

Before revealing a dark secret of mine to anyone and everyone who reads my blog, I want to say there aren’t words to express how grateful I am to be alive. Many things could have killed me, though two events in particular stand out in my mind. One night I got stabbed in the chest and had a punctured lung; another night I was driving drunk and hit a house. I don’t remember it, but the tire tracks indicated I was going about 90 mph when leaving the highway. My car overturned along the way and I was ejected head-first through the back windshield upon impact. I didn’t learn from that. In fact, I was trying to get people to bring me vodka to my hospital room. Shortly after leaving the hospital, my car insurance was canceled due to my DWI. No longer wanting to do business with me, the insurance agency gave me a refund check for what coverage I had left. I spent the money on alcohol, which was a problem for me like no other drug I was abusing.

The dark secret of mine, the one that really reminds me of how fortunate I am to be alive, dates back to 2005 when God spoke to me through a sermon. I had no doubt that the message was specifically for me. It was a severe warning and one that I foolishly ignored. I was a phony Christian and unlike most phony Christians, I wasn’t in denial that I shouldn’t have been doing what I was. My problem was I kept telling myself I would repent “later.” Drunkenness was my sin of choice. I drank regularly and every Saturday night I told myself that it would be my last time. Then, each Sunday, I felt I wasn’t ready to quit and told myself I would quit “next” Sunday. Most people in the church I was attending, including the pastor, knew I had a past with alcohol. Moreover, I started going to church after getting out of jail for a crime I committed under the influence. So although I no longer drank in public, I wouldn't have been too surprised if someone suspected I was still drinking. The sermon involved alcohol, but also something else relating to me that no one but God could have known about.

As mentioned, there were multiple Sundays that I told myself I would change by “next” Sunday. Then one Sunday the pastor of the church I attended back then preached about an old friend of his who was invited to a Wednesday-night church service by his mom. He told her he wasn’t ready yet, but by Sunday he would be a man of God. He even bought a tuxedo to wear to church. That weekend he went to a party and got drunk for the last time. He left the party in a car with a drunk driver who crashed, killing everyone inside. He was then buried in the tuxedo he planned to wear to church. The preacher went on to say God put it on his heart to preach this sermon, because someone there needed to hear it. I knew that someone was me. I hadn’t told a single person about the game I was playing with God, and now I was hearing about the tragic end of someone who had played the same dangerous game. Did I heed the warning? No. I kept drinking like a fool. I don’t know why God spared my life after doing what must have felt like a slap in the face to Him. I’m so unworthy to be living.

I’ve started writing about this story before, but each time I had to stop myself. It was too upsetting for me to continue. I’m finally able to control my emotions enough to do it. Ignoring that warning is something that haunted me a long time. Shortly after that I went to prison where I spent 13 years wondering if I had gone too far in rejecting God. For all the time I spent reading and studying the Bible, I was worried I might have no chance of salvation. When I got locked up that last time and was facing life in prison, I didn’t care if I ever got out as long as I had the Holy Ghost dwelling inside me. God gave me more than I bargained for. I have the Holy Ghost and I’m out of prison now. I can’t begin to describe how good God has been to me. Matthew 11:21-24 come to mind when thinking of the judgment I would have awaiting me had I died as a drunkard. Jesus spoke of certain sinners having a far worse judgment because they ignored what would have been enough to bring other sinners to repentance. I can’t help but to wonder if the young man who died would have repented had he heard a warning like I did. I also wonder how his mom would feel if she happened to read this and knew it mentioned her son’s death. She might ask why he didn’t get the warning I did.

There could be many objections to God sparing the lives of some while letting others perish, but the bottom line is God’s not obligated to spare anyone’s life or give anyone a warning of possible death. We could all die at any moment. Why God spared me after ignoring such a dire warning is a total mystery to me. There must be something God wants me to do for Him, but I’m not yet sure what my calling is. I should be dead right now and I hope no one reading this would be as foolish as me if getting a similar warning. Someone else who behaves so foolishly might not get another chance. You may not have a story like mine, but you had better cherish your life and live every day as if it were your last. There is a God and there is an afterlife. What you do in this life will determine how you spend your next life. It’s something you should think about every day.

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