I decided I wanted to play football, so I got into working out and playing football. It was easy to find parties, alcohol, pills, girls. Everybody wants to be a football player’s friend. I was popular. I had everything I wanted. Things started well, but I wasn’t even through half of the season, and I injured my knee. I was mad at God. I had to have knee surgery. At that point in my life (February 2007), I thought I had everything, but then the knee injury happened. I could no longer play football, but because I had my driver license, I figured I could continue doing whatever I wanted to do.
At this time, I was far away from God, and I wanted nothing to do with Him. I remember going to *Riverbend one night. As I was walking toward the main gate, I heard a still small voice. I knew it was the voice of God. It is a voice you can never forget. He said, “Josh, I want you to turn around and look.” I remember turning around and seeing thousands of people. In that instant, I heard God say, “Josh, this world is going to hell. I can either use you, or I can leave you. I’d rather use you. I can change lives through you if you’ll just allow me.” I said, “God, shut up. I’m not eighteen yet. I can’t hit the clubs yet. I can’t go to the bars yet. Why are you trying to keep me from being young? Why can’t I just live like everybody else?”
After a couple of weeks, I was sitting in my bedroom on a Saturday night. I’ll never forget it. I had no friends. I couldn’t get in touch with anyone. Nobody wanted to go out. Suddenly, God started dealing with me again. He started talking to me again. He again said, “Josh, I want to use you. I just want to use you.” I began to cry and said, “God, if you wanted to use me, why did you take football from me? You could have used me in sports.” The answer I heard was, “I have other plans for you. That’s what you wanted. It’s not what you want. It’s what I want for you.” I prayed that night for an hour, maybe two hours. All I could do was cry and pray. The next morning was Sunday. I never went to church, so my parents never offered to wake me up. I woke up that morning with such a peace. Something had changed overnight. The feeling of loneliness was gone. I felt such peace, such comfort. I started reading the Bible that morning. When my parents came home from church, I said, “I want to go to church with you tonight.” They smiled and said, “Something has changed in you.”
I didn’t want to give up the lifestyle of a young person. I wanted to go out to the bars and the clubs. Once I found God, I realized that might be fun to the world, but I can have as much fun worshiping God, and even have more peace than I would by going out to any bar or club. There was no woman, not alcohol, no drug, nothing that could take the place of God in my life.
*The Riverbend Festival is an internationally award winning 9-day music festival! Located in the heart of Chattanooga, Tennessee.