I am pretty set in my ways when it comes to my faith as a Christian. What truly makes someone believe something to the core are their personal experiences. When someone has stories of truth to tell, how can someone not believe what they say is true? The only thing I can think of is if they are a known liar.
Recently, for the past 6 months or so, I’ve gone on a personal journey to explore truth. Two years ago, I was introduced to new age practices. At the time, I was vulnerable and open to whatever was available to help me in my personal struggle. I felt, at the time, that what I was dabbling with wasn’t right. See, once you get “saved” and become a Christian you become part of God’s family. The Holy Spirit flows within you. The spirit guides and coaches us as well as protects us when we begin to stumble upon things that are not of God and His kingdom. Being born and raised in church the seed was planted in me at a young age. It wasn’t until about 13 years ago that the seed had finally begun to receive the water it needed to grow. That water was my wife and our church. Over the years my relationship with Christ has deepened as I have grown in my walk. Of course, I’ve experienced struggles. Struggles beget strength and failures beget wisdom. Lord knows I’ve had my share.
My personal experiences with God, Satan, the Holy Spirit started when I was in high school. In 1990 I was 15 years old. I attended camp with the church youth group. In a nutshell, I got into a fight with another kid and stabbed him 4 times and cut him once on the arm. It was bad. Sheriff’s deputies came, arrested me and took me to county jail. They put me into a drunk tank for holding. There was an older man, late 40’s, with cut off jeans and a worn sleeveless blue shirt. He had bad teeth and white thinning hair. He asked me why I was there. I told him and he began to give me a lecture about life. Basically, he asked me if I wanted to end up like him. Shortly after, I was taken to an office for questioning. While there, a couple male counselors from camp were with me. Fast forward to 2010 and one of the counselors who was with me at the jail asked my dad if he remembered me talking about an old man in jail with me. Dad couldn’t remember and Mike told my dad that I was going on and on about this old man in the drunk tank with me. Mike told my dad, “Steve, Bryan was in that tank alone the whole time”.
The second interaction I had with a divine being was when I was 17. Again, in a nutshell, I was upset cause my girlfriend who later became my wife, broke up with me. I was upset and took at least 50 pills. I had a canteen of water with me. Immediately after taking all the pills I felt something impress upon me, “Not yet. Go to the hospital now”. I raced to the hospital emergency room. After being there for 30 minutes or so, my mom showed up. She was confused and upset. While I was lying there digesting all the stuff they made me drink, a young doctor walked in. He said “Hi’ and said he was there to take a tissue sample. He sat down next to me and swabbed my arm with a pad and asked me what happened and why I did it. I spilled my guts. He began to give me the pep talk and tell me that life was worth living and that I was going to live a great life. He got up and walked out. After he left, a nurse stuck her head in our room and asked who “that” was. My mom and I looked at each other and we told her he came in to take a sample. She said they’d never seen him and left. My mom and I looked at each other and realized he never took that sample from me. He need stuck that needle in my arm. Weird, right?
The night I married my ex-wife we had chosen to drive back down to Ft. Stewart, Georgia. She was a meth addict at the time, which is why I married her. To rescue her. On our way out of town she asked if we could go by her cousin’s house on the way out of town. She wanted to get some meth “for the road” so we could stay awake. I told her “no”, but she insisted. I folded and began to head to her cousin’s house. I prayed out loud and said, “God, please give us a sign that we should turn around and not go”. It was about 10:30 at night. Within seconds after saying that to God, the headlights, both headlights, went out on my Jeep. It was pitch black that night and I couldn’t see a thing. I told her, that was it and we were turning around. That’s all I needed for confirmation. That was weird.
Fast forward to Memorial Day 2011. I was in Heart, Afghanistan. Our forces had just killed Osama bin Laden a few weeks earlier. We were engaged in a gun fight from the roof of our house in town. One of my very best friends, Rick, was just off my right hip. We were both engaging the enemy about 300 meters away when we heard the distinct sound of 7.62mm bullets whizz and crack by our heads. We continued to lay intense fire for a few more seconds before we shifted our position. The sound of a bullet zinging by your head is a very unique sound. Rick is also a Christian believer like me. The gunfight lasted another 15 minutes or so. After all had settled down, Rick and I walked around our compound to do some BDA (Battle Damage Assessment). When we arrived at our position we fought from on the rooftop, we noticed that the round that were rocketing towards us made a McDonald’s arches type shape. They struck to the left and right of us but did not touch us. Divine intervention, perhaps?
I have many more stories I could tell. Like the time in 2003 in Iraq when we were supposed to take a certain route into Tikrit but because of our gut feeling we took another route. The other military vehicles behind us took the original route. They got hit with IED’s. Or the time when we stopped on the side of the road south of Baghdad to buy some sodas. About 5 minutes after we left, an Air Force Airmen was shot and killed by a sniper at the same spot. Point is, I believe in God. I believe in His hand in and on my life. I believe I have purpose and I believe He guides me when I choose to listen. Surrendering and giving it all up to follow His guidance has been an absolute life changer for me. I am not ashamed, embarrassed and never second guess His presence upon me. Yes, there is a God. Yes, He loves us all. Yes, giving it up to follow Him, learn from Him and His teachings are all worth it. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made, and I couldn’t imagine life any other way. When I feel something isn’t right it’s His Holy Spirit telling me and warning me. Be aware of what you choose to dabble in. The “evil one” likes to play dress up to fool you into thinking something is of God when it is in fact, not. Be alert, just like the bible instructs. Because the devil lurks and prowls to feed on souls who are not.
Well, that’s my 2 cents for the day. Hope you enjoy and appreciate me spilling my guts for a moment. If you like what you’ve read, please LIKE, SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE. Thanks!!!