I could spend 100,000 words telling all of you about how horrible my life as a child was. I could depress you further with the things that have happened since I moved out of my house. I'll share just a few experiences so you can know that I've been there, and I know that God does care. I was beaten and sexually assualted as a child. Back then, I felt helpless and always ashamed. After all, guys don't get raped--right? Wrong! I always felt that it was my fault. Again, when it started, I was 10 and the molester was 17. It's not like I was physically or emotionally able to resist. When I did try to tell my parents, they beat the heck out of me for saying such terrible things about my oldest brother. Beatings were a common occurance from my sister and me. Then, my other brother knocked up my sister and ruined her life. At 10, I started stocking a grocery store after school so that I did not get home before my mother passed out from her booze. Yes, I worked from about 5 pm until 9 pm. That was before the child labor laws got strictly enforced. At 14, one day when my mom was beating me, I took the mop handle away from her and told her, "Never again." She left the room only to return with a loaded gun, stuck it in my face, cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger. The gun misfired. I know that an angel was present in the room--God intervenied! Both of my brothers were murders, drug trafficers, and rapists. Luckily for society, they will never see freedom for the rest of their lives. I don't know what happened to my sister after she left. I had no friends through school. Early on, when a friend would come over, they'd never hang out with me again. I did not know it, but my brother was molesting them. When I got into junior high and especially high school, everyone knew about my brother and so I had no friends--I was teased unmercifully. It is still hard to talk about all of this.
At 16, I moved out of my house and lived by myself until I graduated from HS. You say, "Wow, that'd be so cool." You are wrong! After school, I worked as a commissioned salesman at a store until 9 or 10, and every weekend I worked morning until night just to make ends meet. I had nothing but a sleeping bag, a particle board table and a folding chair. I'd come home to an empty apartment every night. I was lonely almost to the point of insanity. But at least I was not dodging bullets from my brother's enemies and I was no longer being molested and beaten. My grades sunk lower and lower. In enlisted into the delayed entry program in the Marines Corps at 17. My parents had to sign and they were so loving about it. They spit on me and said if they never see me again, it would be too soon.
There were several times when I could have died in the Corps. But I know that an angel was by my side.
Fast forward, I have a wonderful wife and beautiful children. It's been hard, making ends meet. It was amazing to see God's hand on the money. We literally lived from paycheck to paycheck. Just having enough money to make it through each pay period. My wife has gotten sick twice and almost died. God's hand was on her.
I remember when my daughter was so very ill, having to hold her down in the hospital so that the nurse could get an IV started. Although she did not have verbal communication at that time, I could see her beautiful eyes asking me why would I let them hurt her--God was there!
Please, don't feel sorry for me. I know that my sufferings were nothing when compared to the sacrifice that Christ made. Before Pilot, all of his friends abandoned him. He was beaten beyond recognition. He was spat upon. And yet, unlike me, he was without sin. I'm not saying that what happened to me as a child was right, but even while I was yet in sin, Christ died for me--and you. By age 12, I had turned from God and began to worship Satan as my god. Yet, Christ still reached out to me and saved me! It happened when I was 14. He put a young lady in my life who did not care what others thought, she was going to share the gospel with me. And she did, for about 18 months, she would share the gospel with me daily. God used her to boldly reach out to me. God reached down into my personal hell and told Satan, "You can't have him, this one is Mine!" That is the only reason I am alive today. I have cut marks on my wrists--but God was there. I used to have to drive down a sea wall regularly. I thought many times, just turn the wheel, it would all be over. But God was there!
Yes, life can be so very hard. We live in a fallen world that is ravaged by the effects of sin. And as predicted thousands of years ago in the Bible, it is getting worse. But that does not mean that God is not here. He gave each of us a choice. We can either do good, or we can do evil. But I turn to Revelation Chapter 21 and I read that there is HOPE!!!!!