In 1985, my life smashed into a brick wall. I needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company and bail my family out of debt. My sources were all maxed out and the hope level in my reservoir was hovering at empty. I was finished.
The only untouched asset I had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. So, my solution seemed obvious: suicide.
As for taking my life, I had no problems with it because I was an agnostic. No God equals no problems with eternal judgment, right? It wasn’t personal, just a business solution for my family and me.
My plan was uncomplicated. I figured on enjoying one last weekend with my family and then committing suicide on that Monday evening.
Thus, on May 20, 1985, I spent the day finishing up loose ends. Then, for some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office. Although we knew each other, Bill and I were not intimate friends and had never really talked to each other before that day.
Bill invited me into his office. We discussed baseball. Then in the middle of our conversation, he stared at me and said, “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”
His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.
I wept and although I tried to regain my composure, I could not. “How did you know?” I asked.
“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”
His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me. We continued talking and he finally gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers.
When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After a few pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, I prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”
Instantly, I was changed. Fear and shame were no longer a part of me, but instead, joy and hope filled my heart. Bowing and worshipping my new King, I promised to never let go of His hand.
If my story were a fictional Hollywood movie, perhaps it would resemble It’s A Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart would play me and Donna Reed my wife. The angel would get his wings and everyone would live happily ever after. The end.
But sadly, my life has not been a work of fiction. It has been a day to day journey, filled with a few good experiences, but also many mistakes, false starts and failures. Divorce. Loss of friends. Numerous firings from sales positions. Low-paying jobs. Poverty. Rejection. Loneliness. Not exactly, a picture perfect Christian life.
And yet, it has been in the deepest valleys where the Lord has truly revealed Himself to me. It was there He became my loving Father and I learned His grace was sufficient for me.