This is an account that I typed out about a month after the event, for copy/paste purposes. After retelling the story for the 10th time, I figured it would be a good idea to just get it down so I could simply drag and drop. =) Here is the story of how I came to Christ:
First a bit about myself: I was raised in a Christian environment. My parents were Christians, and we went to church every Sunday. Now while this was a Christian environment, it was not an overzealous one that you often times hear about. I come from a very loving family that cares more about my brother and I than anything else in this world. This is a blessing as I realize so many these days come from broken homes. I almost feel guilty and wonder “why me?” Why was I blessed with a loving father and mother, a great extended family and so many opportunities?
Anyway.. to fastforward a bit: I went to a Christian school. This is where I began to develop a hatred for Christianity. It was solely based on the people. I saw people I perceived as “hypocrites”, raising their hands in chapel, saying one thing and doing another, and it started to turn me away from the whole deal. I was judging the absolute by the standard of other flawed humans.
The “fall” of me was not complete until I got out of high school and discovered the wonders of drugs. Amazing, something that can completely alter perception in ways impossible to imagine from a drug-naïve perspective! I was enamoured, and I got further and further into the drug lifestyle, researching different chemicals, side effects, safe dosages, trip experiences, etc etc. Psychedelics always offered great profound (but in reality, dumb) experiences, but my true love was in opiates. Ever since the 1st taste of the painkiller high, I knew what I loved.
Years passed (about 3) and I got further and further into drugs. Up until a point it was relatively innocent: Weed, beer, occasional shrooming, and an even rarer jump into some cocaine or something harder. But from the grand perspective of drugs and addiction, I was still on the light side of things (at least know that now, I was at the VERY light side of things) It didn’t get serious until I got a good-paying job and found a way to get painkillers.
I became physically and mentally addicted to opiate-based painkillers (Morphine, vicodin, hydrocodone, lortab, percocets…all different names for the same base chemical: Opium) I fell for them, and I fell hard. I was spending somewhere near $30 a day on my habit, I had lost around 20 pounds and had the mindset that I would rather waste away and die than give up this thing I loved so much. But it became to expensive… unfortunately I was stuck. Physical addiction to opiates is the number one most difficult addiction to break, so I turned to a cheaper way to keep myself from going into withdrawal: Methadone.
My $30/day ravenous habit became $3/day. I gained back 15 or so pounds, and was leveled out in many aspects by the methadone. It did not produce an overt “high” and stayed in my system for 36 hours each pill. (Maintenance, as was intended) It allowed me to get my life back, and continue my education. At this point things were on an upswing. I intended to stay on methadone for the rest of my life, and was perfectly content to do so.
Now here is a quick lesson about methadone: It is an opiate like all of the others, it is just longer lasting and has minimal negative physical and psychological effects (such that one can use it an entire lifetime and live a normal lifespan) BUT… it is THE MOST DIFFICULT substance on EARTH to kick. Heroin addicts will tell you, kicking H. is cake compared to EVER having any hope of getting off of the almighty methadone. (I still take maintenance doses today, and am trying to get help with it. It is tough, but I believe that God will offer the way out. But I also believe that I’m going to have to face the hole that I dug myself into)
6 months on methadone. Same dose, no updosing, school is going well, work is going great, money is being saved, and a bright future in the medical field becomes more of a reality. For all intents and purposes I was “happy”, but something did not feel right. Ever since my break with Christ, there was a nagging feeling that something was missing. It was nothing constant, it was just this overall underlying sense that the world is not what it seems. I personally believe that every unbeliever, on some level, experiences this. (Some just hide it better than others, even from themselves) No matter how many promotions or MVPs at work, no matter how many successful friendships and relationships I had, there was something missing.
So I prayed. I prayed every night. I was agnostic and severely scientific to a fault (as is reflected in my major) I prayed a very simple, ritualistic little prayer every night, nothing big. I said “God, if you’re out there, I pray that you would guide my life the way it needs to go.” I prayed this for months. No result. No huge lightning bolt from the sky with a scroll saying “Kyle, you need to believe.” But I kept praying, even though I had no clue if God was real, fake, or whatever.
And then it happened.
One night I was sitting with my friend discussing religion. It was a night like any other and there were no drugs involved (other than the drug I had been taking for some 6+ months to keep me from withdrawal, and opiates are in no way hallucinegenic so as to cause such a thing) A chain of now-obvious events had lead up to this very moment. Only now can I look back and see how things were laid out SO perfectly.
I was sitting there, on my beanbag in front of the TV. We were listening to a CD that my mom got me from church. (She now tells me she felt strangely compelled to get the CD-copy of this particular sermon) It was a sermon about heaven, not that it is very relevant to what happened next. My friend had found a point of dispute and asked me to pause the CD immediately. We began discussing heaven:
“You don’t actually think heaven is a real place do you?”
And then it hit me….. I do believe. “yes.” I had no idea why I just said “Yes.”
He was baffled, “Well I never knew you were this kind of person.” What happened next is the literal point of my salvation.
I cannot describe it in words that would do it any iota of justice. It was as if all of a sudden something had entered the room. God was there, the Holy Spirit was there, Christ was there… The Spirit of God was there. It was love. I experienced love. It was like a light (not a literal visual light) was in the room. It shone on me, and for the 1st time I realized how far lost I really was. I began to sob silently. At 1st a few tears rolled down my cheeks and my friend Caleb asked “Are you alright man?” He was taken aback that I was actually crying, and began to see how serious I was. I believe he also saw that’s something very real was going on in my mind at that time, something beyond me.
I stifled a “Yeah…” but it got heavier and heavier.
I felt this force that was so powerful, so loving, possessing all the power in the vast universe and yet so gentle toward someone as wretched as me. It mourned me to look upon my heart and see the true nature of it. I was seeing myself behind all of my justifications and ego walls I (and everyone) had built. I saw that even though I was a “good person” everything I did was for myself. It was all “me-centered”.
I began to sob bitterly, and so did he. (We are not the kind of guys that cry. This is not some kind of macho-statement, it is just not the way we have been raised to express ourselves)
It was a bitter mournful, chest-heaving sobbing. My world, the world that I knew was being completely shattered. My hopes and dreams of getting a great job, a wonderful wife, a nice car, a nice home became useless. None of that would make me truly happy, it was all fleeting.
This is the realization that hit me: Everything dies. Yes, an obvious one. But one that had NEVER hit me as real and as hard as it did now. It was as if the matrix I was in was pulled form my eyes, and I saw the harsh reality of the world in which we live: The world that I had completely fallen for. I will die, my mother will die, my dad will die, my brother will die… my friends, loved ones of all sort, everyone… I’ll die. All of the things that I hold so dear: my game systems, my nice TV, my money, my nice clothes, my collections, ALL those things that I hold SO much value for will be DUST at the end of the day. None of it matters.
The answer was given. Jesus was the answer. It was in my all along. I knew it couldn’t be the trivialities of this world, and that is when the revelation hit me:
In a world that IS going to end, the only things that have value are the things INDIVIDUALS CHOOSE to place value on.
I realized that I was falling hook line and sinker for everything society said is important: Pure scientific logic in every area of life, fast cars, sex, temporary highs, high-tech material goods, commerce, the list goes on… Why were these things important at all? If it all ends then who is society to tell me what is important to me? Why did I let it become so engrained in my being?
At this point both of us were weeping so bitterly there were no words spoken. It was an amazing thing: sheer grief at the situation of our lives and of this world.
I knew I had to confess Christ to my friend, tell him that I believed. I kept remembering when Christ said “He who confesses my name in front of men I will acknowledge before the angels in heaven, but he who denies me I shall say “I have not known you”
And then something grieved me even harder: Even though I was faced with this incredible evidence, this incredible UNDENIABLE presence my mind was still whirring. It said:
“YOU may be feeling this incredible force now, but who are you to say that this is the one true way and that a faithful Islamic man is wrong? He is willing to blow himself up for his sheer faith! How can YOU say that you are right and he is wrong?”
And at that point I realized what that was. It was society’s logic. It was my scientific agnosticism. I thought I was incredibly “free and openminded” because of this. But I realized something then: It did nothing but bring me back to square 1: Believing in NOTHING.
At that point I chose to take value away from that “logic” in my head (as all things in this ending world only have as much value as the individual chooses to give value to), and I CHOSE to give value to faith in Jesus Christ. I was confused, and I can assure you that it has in no way gotten easier, it is a constant battle with myself. But I can tell you that I know where my soul lies when this body takes it’s last breath, and I can assure you that Christ has offered me in no uncertain terms HOPE.
I knew my friend wasn’t in any way close to becoming a Christian, but I asked him if he would humor me and allow me to pray with him. He agreed and we prayed. The next day I sought wise council to get some questions answered regarding this CONFUSING experience. He defined the experience as “toughing the hem of the garment” of Christ. I was saved then, and I am saved now. Praise be to Christ. =)
But I also realize that everyone has the potential for this joy. It is nothing based on others, it is something profoundly personal. When you know you will KNOW. Every single person on this earth regardless of any circumstance is just another soul that Christ died to save. I hope this message reaches at least one person so that they can experience the joy I found. And the hope of Christ, heaven and the difficult path that leads to eternal life. I was fooled for so long, and only a direct experience like this could have opened my eyes.
That’s pretty much as well as I can put it. Quite abridged still, but I don’t have all night to type, haha. I can expound if anyone has questions.
Additional note: Many people claim that it is difficult to believe a story like this because of the “drugs” I was on. An understanding of opiates in general (particularly methadone) will make it obvious that these drugs do NOT cause hallucinations. An opiate addict for over a year and a methadone maintenance patient for around 6 months at this point, methadone barely got me to “normal”, much less made me high. Even if it was a dose that was capable of making me high, they simply don’t do this to a person. I realize people will justify drugs as a cause of this, but I also realize that many people are looking for excuses to discount any form of greater power. I can assure you that it was nothing like I had ever experience on any drug. (In my 5 years of doing literally every drug available, I have had MANY “God-like” experiences. But in all of them, the individual knows it was caused by the substance.
Unfortunately I’m stuck on methadone. I realize God has the power to deliver me, but I also know that everything happens for a purpose. At this point I will keep faith and try to follow Christ as best I can, but also accept his grace and mercy above all. =)
If just one person reads this and thinks “Wow, there could just be something to this.” Then it was all worth it.