Friday, February 12, 2010

I had to die in order to live

2/12/10 Friday
It’s another day and will be a good one. I now start my days in prayer, inspired in part by learning that Ron often gets up at four in the morning and spends two hours praying. When you consider that he often puts his life on the line when overseas in Muslim countries, has been chased, shot, and made to watch the execution of others with the threat that this would happen to him if he didn’t stop ministering to these persecuted converts to Christianity you can understand his need to pray. So I pray for him along with for wisdom and guidance in my affairs as I try to help others and accomplish what I feel God wants. For many of my friends this is a new face for them to see with me. I know pagans, witches, drug addicts, criminals, homosexuals, and many others who I understand will be uncomfortable with this change in me. In fact I know Christians who will be uncomfortable and can relate well with that. There are some I’ve met who all they talk about is God and it got old real quick but things evolve and so it is with me and my faith. What many of my old friends, the ones from my past life, don’t know is that I was once a pastor. They never saw that part of me because after I fell out of a tree breaking my neck, back, and sustaining the brain injury and resulting drastic personality change that led to the divorce from Cherie in 1984 I turned my back on God and all of that. So I drank, used drugs, and according to the state of Michigan ran a “continuing criminal enterprise” along with becoming a successful legitimate businessman. Oh that all didn’t happen at once but was a seventeen year long de-evolution as I returned to old habits and lifestyles I had abandoned when I became a Christian in prison in 1976. In fact I got to the point where I no longer believed that God even existed, that He was a figment of many peoples imagination and that caused more harm than good in the world.

Then I had the car wreck. It hasn’t been an instant return to faith in God, in fact it has been a slow painstaking process that got me to where I am today. I’m writing this to explain to my old friends what’s happening with the hope that through this explanation they will not simply shut the door but understand that I care for them all and desire only what’s best for them.

So here’s the deal, there are too many things that have happened that I can not explain away as just coincidence and in fact now recognize as Devine providence. On top of the list is the accident and the FACT that I was declared dead at the scene, (still listed as a fatality by the state of Oklahoma so that’s public record) life flight was called off, I was covered up and put in the ambulance for transportation to the coroner, and at some point came back to life. When I have the ability I dearly desire to find and interview the paramedics and others involved but till then this is all I know. Oh, I didn’t just wake up, I was in a coma for six weeks and from what I learned from the second wife and others was expected to be a vegetable until I finally passed away. My brother told me that they would wheel me to the door of my hospital room where I would just babble away rocking my head continuously up and down. But I steadily improved. I was taught how to walk and given speech therapy so I could talk legibly. I remember painfully meandering down the hospital hallway, once they finally allowed me to walk without someone holding me up, and finding a room labeled “chapel”. Going in I found it to be an empty room with short little pews and an altar. So I sat down and prayed “God, are you there? If you exist let me know. Thank you for letting me be alive. Help me”.

I’ve been saying that same prayer ever since and now have the confidence that He is there. I have that confidence from seeing the miracles of my life, from the restoration of my marriage with Cherie and her grace, understanding, and patience with me, from how so many doors are opened and how our needs are met in such amazing ways. Restoration is a principle one finds often in the bible. Joel chapter two is just one of those that I find inspiration in. Oh, I know the thoughts this will bring up, that I’ve become a “bible thumper”. But the bible is an amazing book that is opening up to me and has so much to say. I have a hard time believing in what I can’t see or feel with my own eyes and hands and tend to be a logical person but my eyes and hands perceive much that I wasn’t able to see before.

Sure we’ve experienced some unpleasant things that hindered this journey of restoration of my faith. There’s nothing like having a church send you an email saying “We think you will be happier going somewhere else”, or the other forms of rejection we’ve received from the hands of those who wear the label of “Christian” but that, in the long run, just encourages me and helps me understand that there is a spiritual world with forces for both good and evil. If there is a God then there is a devil and the devils’ desire is to steal, kill, and destroy all that is good. So it stands to reason that these forces for evil will do all they can to stop or interfere with anything God desires. Lucifer is the master of deceit, a liar extraordinaire who lures and fools those whom he can, making them believe they are doing just fine when the opposite is true. There is a proverb that says “There is a way which seems right to a man but the end of that way is death”. Such is the nature of deceit.

So I apologize to those who may be offended by this new tone in my writing, not for the tone but for offending. Maybe I don’t apologize, I just hate to lose friends. But Jesus said that if anyone is ashamed of Him before others He will be ashamed of them before our Father. That’s a bob paraphrase and probably isn’t word for word an accurate quote but the principle is the same. So it’s been almost thirty years now since I turned my back on God, and I had to die and lose everything, absolutely everything understanding I wandered homeless and lost carrying everything I owned in a plastic bag, including losing my memories and my mind. So my mind has and is being restored, my marriage with Cherie has been restored, my faith is being restored, and there is more to come as I’m a work in progress. I am blessed beyond measure and undeserving of any of it but every morning I wake up I am grateful for the gift of life I’ve been granted and stand in wonder at it all.

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May God grant you peace and may you find the same gift I’ve been given that your life will be full and pleasing to the Lord of all. My prayer goes out for all who read this. Yeah I know, I’m getting all religious on you but bear with me. I’ve seen things most of you may never see but have learned how to be content and now understand what is truly important. That is to please God, not those around me. So I will love the life I have and live a life I can be proud of. Remember that all the money and things you have can vanish in a flash but what has true lasting value is the lives you touch.


Anonymous said...

Bob, this is a powerful testimony and thank you for sharing it and your life with us. love, Jen and Wally

Bob said...

can't keep it to myself. Lots that I'm not proud of but it's not where I've been but where I am now and where I'm going that's important. My story can give encouragement to others and that gives life value.