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God is Real

As I sat in a restaurant with a huge pit in my stomach, I knew my marriage was not going to work out. Roger looked at me with a gaze that penetrated my very soul and plainly stated, “Scott, the next two years of your life are the most important.” These words were spoken to me by a man whom God had sent to me. At the time I was unaware of this. In fact, I had no concept of who God was and did not care to know either. I also had no clue that the words spoken to me would prove to be absolutely true.

An Empty Tool Box

I was raised in a traditional American family with a mother, father, and one brother. My parents loved and supported me completely as I was growing up. My mom taught me to be passionate about what I enjoyed, how to read and write, how to treat a woman with respect, the value of books, and the importance of politics. She also taught me how to iron my clothes, do my laundry, and clean my room. My dad coached most of the sports I played. He taught me the importance of “doing what you say you’re going to do,” to live with high morals, to value education, never to lie, and to treat people the way I wanted to be treated. Both my mom and dad allowed me enough freedom to grow up with “balance.”

I had been given all the ingredients and tools for success. What my life turned out to be was completely the opposite.

When I reached the age of 29 in December of 2004, I had accumulated $30,000 of debt—due to my own bad choices, been almost terminated from both of my jobs, been divorced, and had a house with $10,000 of needed repairs. My house had no electricity or water—the city had shut them off because I couldn’t pay my bill. I had to take showers at a fitness center. I got extra food at lunch from the job I worked at because I couldn’t afford to buy my own food. I often slept in my car. I never knew what homeless was like but this sure felt like it. Additionally, my car was ready to quit on me and it later did. From the time I turned 20 until I had reached the age of 29, my life had spiraled apart. And it was entirely my own fault. At this point, I truly thought my life was over.

I had withdrawn from my entire family so much that I felt I couldn’t turn to them for help. I had failed them and was humiliated and embarrassed. They, however, had no idea of the problems in my life. Failure had never been an option for me as I grew up. But as an adult, I had failed and messed up everything I had been given. And I had no idea where to turn. I had truly hit “rock bottom.”

A Cry for Help

A few nights later, as I sat on my bed at my house, I thought back to when I was 16 years old and had prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. At that time, I didn’t have a clue what having a relationship with Jesus Christ meant. My life was great—I had no problems, no wants, no needs. I had simply prayed to receive Christ because for some reason it seemed like the right thing to do.

Now, thirteen years later I needed help. I was desperate for help because I had no avenues. Facing huge debt, terrible living conditions, and with only $100 in my checking account, I simply needed something, anything! The “light at the end of the tunnel” people talked about did not exist. All I saw and all I felt was darkness. I had no hope and had not had hope for the past ten years.

At this point, I was far from God. I did not know him as a personal or a loving Being. I had never “experienced” him, had never had any prayers answered (at least not any I could think of), and had never sought to know him. Now I needed God!

The only chance I thought I might have to survive in life was to ask God for help. As I sat in my family room in 30 degree temperature, I looked up and said, “Jesus, if you even exist and are listening, I could use some help on my house. I need help fixing it up. If you answer this prayer, I will change my life and follow you.”

The Repairman

The next day is a day I will remember until the day I die. Around 5:00 p.m. I was sitting in the classroom where I worked as a teacher. I was getting ready to spend another evening wondering where I was going to sleep when in walked Heath, one of the custodians of the school. He looked at me and said, “Hey Wilson, this is my dad James Childress. I told him about your house. He can help you fix it up.” As I looked at James, I was immediately aware of the prayer I had prayed earlier.

For the next three weeks, James was at my house nearly every day repairing it. He brought his own tools, bought the parts he needed, even taught me how to fix some things myself. James provided around $2000 worth of labor on my house. I had no idea how I could afford to pay this man. When I offered to pay him $10 a month for the repairs he had done, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Wilson, I’m not charging you a dime for any of this work.” Then he explained, with a statement that completely floored me, “Wilson, when I was younger I almost killed three men. Jesus Christ changed my life, and I want to help you. Just look at this as a blessing.”

A Blessing Shared

This “blessing” gave me hope that I hadn’t had for a long time, and over the next few months, I began to ask God for help in just about every area of my life—from needing a lawn mower to needing to sell my house. God answered prayer after prayer, and I began to understand that Jesus was indeed who he said he was in the Bible. I was now “experiencing” God, and I wanted to tell my story!

I prayed for Jesus to give me someone to whom I could share my story. Two weeks later, I was working at my second job as a restaurant waiter. A co-worker named Sheri asked me if I could give her a ride to her apartment. I agreed and she began to share some of the things she had been dealing with in her life. Sheri was in an abusive relationship with a man whom she wanted out of her life, she longed to be reunited with her son, was heavily in debt, and she felt as though she had no hope. She wanted her life to get better but she saw no way possible. I immediately sensed this was the person I should share my story with.

I told Sheri how I had messed my life up and how Jesus answered my prayers. I told her she could pray to receive Jesus as her Savior and ask him to help her fix her life. We shook hands and I left her apartment. As I left her apartment I thought to myself, “Have faith.” So, I did just that.

The following week I was back at work at the restaurant when Sheri came up to me. She smiled and excitedly told me her boyfriend had moved out of the apartment and that her mother was helping her fix up her apartment. She also told me the night after I left her apartment she had prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior, and she now had hope.

As Sheri told me this, I felt emotions I had never felt before. For the first time in my life, I was truly joyful for someone else. I knew I had a purpose in life—to share my story about how Jesus had changed my life with whoever would listen.

A week later, I found myself talking with Catherine, another co-worker at the restaurant. I had noticed she looked completely lifeless. Then she told me she had cancer and had been given only a couple of years to live. She said her only desire was to see her children, ages seven and five, graduate from high school. I immediately sensed God had put Catherine in my life so I could tell her about him.

“So you’re telling me your Jesus Christ can heal me of cancer?” she asked in an almost angry tone. I had no idea how to respond. I had never seen anyone healed before, but remembering that Jesus had said “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find,” I assured Catherine Jesus could heal her. She agreed to opener heart to the Lord and ask him for healing. As I drove home that evening I had mixed emotions of peace but also uncertainty about Catherine’s situation.

Three weeks later I saw Catherine back at work. Tears filled her eyes as she told me she was cancer free! She threw her arms around me and thanked me. She said the doctors had run tests and couldn’t find any cancer. They could not explain it!

As Catherine told me these things, my emotions were touched in a way I cannot describe. This Jesus, whom I had been running from my whole life and who I thought didn’t have any concerns for me, was more intimate and real than I had ever imagined. As I drove home, I cried tears of happiness for Catherine and for the prayers Jesus had answered. Realizing that none of us ever deserves the love God gives to us, the only words I could mutter were, “Thank you so much, Jesus.”

Sensitized by God’s Presence

As my life began to change from a self-serving horizontal focus to a more vertical focus towards Christ, I found myself listening to my surroundings and paying closer attention to what others said both to me and around me. I communicated with my parents more willingly, and I began to enjoy spending time with them. I also found myself attending church, because there I could learn more about Jesus who had so radically altered my circumstances.

A few months later, I went to a church service to hear my football coach’s brother-in-law, Gary Oates, speak. I had heard that Gary sees the ministry of angels and has seen healings and that he has an incredible testimony. But Gary’s entire message was on seeking the “manifest presence of God” and he kept mentioning Psalms 46:10. He said that was the key to his relationship with Jesus.

I left that church service wondering what Psalms 46:10 said. When I got home, I read it and saw the words “Be still and know that I am God.” I knew that was what I wanted to do. So one night I locked myself in my room and began worshipping and praising God—and inviting him to manifest his presence in my life. I can’t explain what happened that night, but God became intimately real in a way that my five senses could not understand! He was not just words on paper or an answered prayer. The God of the universe let me literally feel His presence!

As a result of this experience, my relationship with Jesus Christ changed forever. I began spending more time simply “waiting on God.” I loved and longed for His presence everywhere I went. I learned that if I simply came to Him without any plan or agenda or any “list,” He would fill my list with the things He wanted me to do.

I also began going to places where “church” people didn’t usually go to share Christ. One of the places I frequented was a Waffle House restaurant. Here, I began to understand how God wanted his people to witness and minister. One winter night, I met a homeless man and took him to a hotel so he would not have to sleep outside in five degree temperature. Another time, I befriended a man who was confined to a wheelchair and could not feed himself. I paid for his meal and literally fed him his food. Through these experiences, I began to understand what it means to “die to myself.” As I read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John I understood better who Jesus really was while he was here on earth. He had ministered to people outside the church. I felt God was saying to me, “Scott, I am tearing down the walls of the churches. Be the church wherever you go by having church wherever you go!”

My Life Made Over

The past three years of my life have truly been the most important years of my life to this point. Three years ago, my life was falling apart and I had no hope or purpose. Now my life is filled with hope and my purpose is to grow closer to the Lord every day. My parents have been wonderful through all of this; they were always there for me despite the many times I let them down and failed to seek or listen to their counsel. Presently, I have only $2,000 of the $30,000 debt left to pay, I am teaching school fulltime, and I have been able to give up waiting tables at a restaurant. Every day I wake up with excitement and a desire to draw near to the Lord.

Recently I felt led to go visit the restaurant I worked at and ran into Sheri who still worked there as a waitress. When she saw me, she gave me a hug and told me her final prayer had been answered: She was going to be moving back to San Francisco to be with her son. I got teary eyed and smiled. I love Jesus Christ so much, and sharing Him with others brings great joy of my life.

I pray readers of this testimony will seek God’s presence in your life.

Lord, I thank you and praise your holy and matchless name. You are the comforter, the provider, the sustainer, the purifier, the sanctifier, the supplier, the Faithful One, the Holy One, the Father of lights.

Holy Spirit, I invite your presence right now to those who are reading this testimony. Would you give them the gift of love and the gift of discernment. I ask that you give them the words of knowledge, the words of wisdom, the gift of faith, the gift of encouraging words, and the workings of miracles. Open their eyes and ears to see and hear words you are speaking to their hearts.

Father of Glory, I pray for your connection with each believer wherever they go. May angels follow them and minister to them. Give to each an understanding of the width, length, depth, and height of your love, so that they will be filled with your fullness. Ignite a passion in them to seek you with all their heart, and to worship you as Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

Scott Wilson is a 32-year-old teacher residing in Cincinnati, Ohio, who desires nothing more than to grow in the fullness of God. He also desires for the Cincinnati Bengals to go to the Super Bowl before he dies.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20080101
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Jan-Mar 2008. CCMUSA.