“For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.”
1 Thess. 5:5
This is my personal 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 out and I was hallucinating badly. 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 outside.
If I could stay in that illuminated circle I would escape dying. Somehow I knew that the light would save me. So I remained 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, I knew I would stay safe.
But inspite that very traumatic experience, the drugs and my mental instability continued to slide.
I was now shooting up cocaine, crossing my “no needle rule.” I also became quite the heavy drinker, with whiskey for breakfast. I had one basic rule though. As a medic who worked in maternal/child health, I had one of the best assignments in the Army. Many people coveted it, and I was not going to endanger it with drugs or alcohol.
I never went on duty loaded. That 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 the officer’s housing where an older man had died in bed. This got me thinking. Back at the hospital, I returned to L&D. But 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 was 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, pastor, and Bible college instructor.
I married my sweetheart and I now have a wonderful family. I attend a great and wonderful church faithfully.
I want to tell you that Jesus is real, He is alive and the Bible is true. I have been lifted from the dark 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.com
“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)