“For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.”
1 Thess. 5:5
My testimony of the grace of God:
A year before I received Christ as my Savior, I was hospitalized in a U.S. Army psychiatric ward. My uniform was replaced with the distinctive attire of a mental patient. Ironically, I’d been attached to the same hospital working on the pediatric floor. And to make things only slightly more surreal was that a medic there on the psych ward was someone I bought drugs from!
Previous to this hospitalization, I had dropped two hits of LSD and found myself in an awful mess. It was night and I was hallucinating heavily. I had lost control of my thoughts. I had pretty much flipped out and it entered my drug saturated brain that the darkness would kill me that very night!
Utterly convinced I was going to die, my mind seized upon the street lights.
If I could stay in that illuminated circle I could escape dying that night! The light would save me. I stood under that street light for several hours. As I stood I could see very clearly the boundary between the light and the dark. I knew I was safe as long as I didn’t wander, but I was trapped.
Despite that traumatic experience, the drugs and my mental instability continued to slide.
I was shooting up cocaine, crossing my “no needle rule.” I also became quite the heavy drinker, with Jack Daniels for breakfast. I had one basic rule though. As a medic who worked in maternal/child health, I had the best assignment in the Army. Many people coveted it, and I was not going to endanger it by drugs or alcohol.
I never went on duty loaded. It was my rule. I would be the best medic the Army ever had.
Shortly after my psych ward discharge, I was reassigned to Labor & Delivery on the night shift. One slow time I was pulled from my duty there to go on an ambulance run as the medic in charge. We were called to officer’s housing were an older man had died in bed. This got me thinking. Back at the hospital I returned to L&D. On the way back I took a shortcut through a ward on another floor. That’s when I found it!
On a waiting room table was a small book called, “More Than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell. I picked it up, reading it right on duty because there were no one in the delivery room. By the end of my shift I was well on my way to becoming a Christian. It was a book solidly speaking of the light, and of the dark. And I knew beyond a doubt that I couldn’t remain in the dark anymore.
I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in June of 1982.
I became a born again believer shortly after that. I went to Bible College that October. Life has become radically different, and over time I became a missionary and a pastor.
All I can tell you is that Jesus is real, he is alive and the Bible is true. I have translated from the dark to the light, and I am not afraid anymore. Jesus is my light.
“The people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
a light has shined.”
Some Very Good Links:
“How to be Saved,” gotquestions
“The Sheer Hopelessness of Mental Illness,” brokenbelievers.com
Alaska Bible Institute, my Bible College, (a great school)
“More Than a Carpenter”, by Josh McDowell, (check it out on Amazon)