There was a preacher that lived next door to me. He came over one day and said, “Mr. Jackson, I understand that your daughter is sick.” I said, “Yes sir.” He said, “Would it be okay if I come in and pray for her?” I said, “Well sure. Knock yourself out.” I thought he would say something like “our heavenly father who art in heaven,” you know that type of prayer. But no, he got down on the floor like Solomon did on the scaffold. He got down and raised his hands toward Heaven and prayed loudly for what seemed like a long time. I mean, it felt like the house was shaking. I had never heard anyone pray like that. I knew right then that he had something that I did not have.
That subsided, and I went back to the self-centered ways of drinking. It was crazy. I would go to different stores and buy beer because I didn’t want the store clerks to know how much I was drinking each week. If I left the house I would carry a cooler with me, and my wife would have to drive.
A good friend of mine, a dear friend, he asked if he could help me. I said, “I’m fine. I don’t have a problem.” He said, “No. You have a problem. You need some help.” He had a real joy about him. A real peace and joy, a natural joy that the Bible speaks of, and I wanted what he had. I just didn’t know what it was or how to get it. But he knew I had a drinking problem and he said, “You need the Lord in your life.” I said, “No, I can’t live like those Christian people.” He said, “Yeah, but what if you don’t try?” When he said that it really got my attention, and I thought I have got to do something so I will try this. I got saved that day. I received Christ that day.
I went home from work that day, and my wife (the good wife), she met me at the door with an ice cold beer. She didn’t know what had happened. She had been raised in the church. She knew what was involved in that. When I came home I said, “No, I don’t think I want a beer today.” She said, “What’s the matter? Are you sick?” I said, “Well, no.” She said, “Well, did something happen at work?” I said, “Yeah. I got saved at work.” She just started hopping up and down, screaming and carrying on. She knew what that meant. We poured out all of that beer. It has been twenty-six years. I have been sober ever since, by the grace of God. It’s not me.
That old preacher Brother Sam, that day after I got saved at work I saw him out by the fence mowing his yard. I went over there and told him I had gotten saved. Brother Sam, big tears started coming out of his eyes. He said, “Son, I have prayed for you every day since you moved in next to me. It’s taken four or five years and you have gotten saved.” He was so happy!