I was born into a Catholic family in New Orleans. My sisters and I attended Catholic schools and you could say, we were good Catholics. So, I learned many facts about the bible and Jesus. Through it all, I never felt close to God. He seemed distant, stern and unapproachable.
My school years were consumed with studies and Basketball. While a High School junior, I left home to play basketball for a prep school in – Wisconsin.
What a change! It felt like freedom just being released from all the church rituals that I had come to consider meaningless. I was glad to be away and charting my own course. While I had been a “practicing Catholic”, it was here that I rejected all that church represented. I did not voluntarily attend another service for the next 17 years. Can you imagine – a high school senior away from home with no parental boundaries. The path into darkness was set.
Eventually, I got a full Basketball scholarship to Rice. What took shape in College was a self-centered, impulsive and loveless person. Simply said –I knew best, I knew it all . I was going to depend on myself. I rejected the Gospel shared by two friends. In fact I rejected the concept of God entirely and set myself up on my own throne.
Understand this – you adapt to darkness quickly. Given enough time and thought, you can convince yourself that darkness is normal and, in fact, you see clearly. The consequences were predictable: I knew nothing about relationships or loving someone – even myself. Everything in my world centered on my perceived needs and desires.
I married in college and my first job called for extensive travel. Before long, I was routinely cheating on my wife, getting drunk and doing drugs whenever that opportunity was present. My thoughts became occupied with the next tryst, the next escapade and the next risky adventure. Another truth – darkness mutes your senses and corrodes your moral compass. Sadly, I did not ever feel remorse.
8 years later I was divorced but this didn’t rock my world. It just meant I had free reign to pursue darkness at every turn. I really thought I was living the life now but I was in freefall.
After a few years, I remarried only to be divorced in a few months.
Now, I was twice divorced and broke. All I considered valuable just crumbled.
I realized how lonely, hurting, hopeless and lost I was. There was a giant hole in my heart that I just could not fill. I was in total darkness and it was right here, right in the hour of my greatest need, that The Lord graciously intervened.
The thought of ever attending a church service never had crossed my mind. But, a friend invited me to join them. I was scared and reluctant, but I felt drawn to go.
The Pastor preached from Scripture. It was my first exposure to God’s word as I had never owned a Bible.
God’s call overcame all my fear. The desire to have a relationship with Jesus welled up in my heart. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in February of 1986 and was baptized shortly thereafter.
My life’s has changed dramatically. Where I once scoffed at the notion of God and Salvation, it is my hearts desire that everyone come to know what The Lord opened my eyes to His Salvation and the Gift of Eternal life that comes only by Grace through Faith in Jesus. By any measure, my life today is more enjoyable and more fulfilling than I ever thought possible.
As I learned to increasingly depend on the Lord, he led me to retire April 1 of last year. It was The Lord who spoke to me through Pastor George about living a life of greater significance. It was suddenly my heart’s desire to be available to The Lord to use in His work. It is so satisfying to get out of darkness and live in the Light. It has been a real blessing to follow Christ as He now charts my path.
If you find yourself groping in darkness today; if you find yourself lost and hopeless and in circumstances similar to mine; you have a decision to make. Do I continue to grope in darkness hoping that life’s circumstances will improve. Or do I answer the call to come into the light of Christ.