I flushed all the dope down the toilet. I poured all the booze down the sink. I never had one withdrawal, never shook, never got sick, never had any hard time with it. That’s been eighteen years ago, and I’ve never looked back. God delivered me of that.
A couple of months later I had gotten involved with a church, I was with a girl, and I thought the right thing to do would be to marry her. I thought I was in love with her and she was in love with me. I got married. Ten months later I announced my calling to preach.
She was living a double life. She would go to churches with me and amen me when I preached revivals, then cuss me out on the way home. I heard all these pastors talking about how wonderful it was to have someone right beside them to help them. I always thought, “I wish I had that.” She ended up cheating on me several times. I kept allowing her to come back because I had been told by other people, “If you get a divorce you’re through as preacher. You’ll never be able to preach. You’ll never be able to pastor.” So I kept allowing her to come back because I was committed to the ministry. I was committed to what God wanted me to do. I suffered through that for two years.
The Lord spoke to me and said, “You need to go see your pastor.” I didn’t think he would be there. He was a school principal, but I knew that the Lord was leading me to go see him. I pulled up in his driveway and he was sitting there drinking coffee. I got out of the truck and he said, “The Lord told me to stay home today; that you were coming to see me.” I knew it must be something pretty bad if the Lord was working that way. I said, “Well, tell me what it is.” He said, “Your wife is cheating on you again.”
I kind of figured it. I knew how she acted when she was doing something like that. He said, “Yeah, but you don’t understand who it is.” It was somebody very close to me. I didn’t know how to handle that. I told her I knew she was cheating on me. She admitted to it. She didn’t know I knew who it was and told me she had been with that person since before we were married. I told her I knew who it was. She admitted to it and then left.
I thought, as a preacher, I was done. Everybody had told me, “If you get a divorce you’re done. You won’t be able to preach.” That’s why I had allowed her to keep coming back.
I started thinking the way I used to think. It hurt. I hurt badly. I started thinking about how I could make them disappear. I started thinking about how I could I kill them. I had it planned out. There’s plenty of mountains around here. There’s plenty of places for them to disappear. People disappear all the time and nobody would have ever known what happened to them. It was my intent to kill them for what they had done to me.
The Holy Spirit then convicted me. I said, “God, this is too much pain. Your word says that you would never allow too much to happen to us where we couldn’t handle it. If you’re a God of your word then you’re going to have to take this pain from me.” And he did immediately. He took the pain from me. After a time of prayer and crying out to God the pain turned into love. It turned into compassion.
To think of what he had done to me as close as we had been all of our lives I knew he had to be in bad shape spiritually. I started seeing him differently. I called him and told him I loved him and forgave him. He said, “I don’t understand how you can tell me that. How can you love me after what I’ve done to you?” I told him, “The only way I can explain it is because I have the love of God in me, and I’m trying to see you through God’s eyes right now.” Not only was this person close to me. It was a blood relative. Today we’re on good terms. I’ve shown him that I love him ever since that happened. We still see each other regularly.
A couple of years later I met my wife, Diane and her son, Brandon. God placed them in my life. We were married and I found out what it was like to have that person by my side like all the other pastors had talked about. We’ve been together for fifteen years. No matter how betrayed I’ve been, no matter how hurt I was, no matter how alone I felt, God was always there. He was showing me that no matter what happens to me in this world he’s always there with me.