The concrete beneath me was cold and wet. In the darkness I could hear the wheels of passing cars splashing through puddles just a few feet from my head. I tried to open my eyes, but the effort was just too much trouble. Suddenly I could sense someone bending over me. Methodically, he began going through my pockets. I wanted to get away from him, but my body seemed disconnected from my mind, unable to respond to its commands. I groped for his hand, but couldn't find it. "Whaddya doing?" I managed to ask. "Shut up, you filthy junkie," he muttered, turning away and leaving me to lie there alone on the pavement.
When I regained consciousness, I rolled over on my stomach and pounded the sidewalk. Tears poured down my swollen face. I was marked - either to die or to spend the rest of my life a hopeless addict.
I felt hated. The people in the street hated me. My family hated me. I hated myself. And there wasn't anybody, or any place that could help me. Since the day I was born, I had been nothing but trouble to myself and my family. I'd served time in all the New York jails because of my habit. Sing Sing, Auburn, Elmira, Rikiers Island, and Tombs were more than just familiar names to me. I had done time in all of them.
All my friends were dead because of drugs. I had been in all the hospitals, but nothing helped me. I was a habitual user, an addict with nothing to look forward to in life but prison, insanity, a bullet, a knife, death by overdose of heroin or a "hot shot" given me by a "connection."
Later in jail, one of my fellow prisoners started telling me about a place where addicts were getting "delivered." He described it as a church down in the Bronx. I didn't want to hear anything about a church, but oddly enough when he talked, I listened.
The day I was released from jail, I took a shot of heroin, just before going to see my mother. When she saw me, she told me to leave and never come back. Later, I boarded a train, fell asleep and missed my stop. I got off and began walking back. In the darkness I saw a cross brightly lit and the name of a church - the one I'd heard about while in jail. I decided to check it out.
When I walked inside, a service had begun. There were guys present that I used to "shoot up" with, but something was strange. Their eyes were shining and they were praying. I thought to myself, "They're all high."
While I was there, they told me about a camp where the counselors prayed with addicts. A few days later I visited the camp and I found it unlike anything I had ever encountered before. I saw men actually jumping around and praising God out loud. A guy, who I met in jail, came over to welcome me. "Johnny, man am I glad to see you. You've come to the right place. Something's gonna happen to you," he said.
I stayed at the camp two weeks before his prediction came true. Then one night, after everyone had gone inside, I walked off to the side of the building. Looking up, I felt I could almost see God. I grabbed the railing, knelt and began to cry. I didn't know what to say. I could just sense something had to come out of me, and I began to weep from way down inside. I knew then that God had come into my life and heart.
God brings His Holy Spirit into lives that are "all messed up" and that "bursting forth" of Him in us is so beautiful and sweet. We struggle so hard and long to keep our bodies satisfied, but He accomplished this in only a few minutes. It was like an explosion when I found Jesus. I found the only way out. Now, walking hand in hand with Christ, every day is a new experience.
How about you, my friend? Are you looking for the ultimate "trip" or "high"? If your answer is "yes," then let me introduce you to my "big connection." His name is Jesus Christ.
Dr. John Gimenez is an ordained minister and presently living in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
He was the founding pastor of Rock Church, located in Virginia Beach at 640 Kempsville Road.
"A Prisoner of Jesus Christ"
"Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee,
being such an one as Paul the aged,
and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ."
WE ARE ALL GUILTY
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23-24 NIV
WE DESERVE DEATH
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV
JESUS IS WAITING
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 NIV
GOD LOVES YOU!
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17 NIV
For additional copies, please write:
Pastor John Blanchard
640 Kempsville Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
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North Central Ohio, U.S.A.
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Last updated May 2, 2021
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