Life was wonderful. Years of happy living were behind me. My parents were Spirit filled and full of love and care for family and anybody who would come into their lives. Through the years I had been deeply involved in music and had learned to play and write music for all band instruments. I had started to college and had been awarded a full scholarship to Arkansas State University. My parents had moved to Cohokia, Illinois near East Saint Louis, and I had been hired as music director in a Church a few miles away from the college in Arkansas.
As a teen age freshman in college with a dream and tremendous opportunity before me, I was having the time of my life. During those exciting days it seemed to be difficult to maintain my relationship with God. Prayer time had almost become a thing of the past. Desires to do things that were against what I had learned through the years in Church were on my mind. Temptation seemed to be meeting me around every corner.
The preacher that had hired me started promoting a revival meeting that he had scheduled and told us about this awesome evangelist that would soon arrive.
He asked me if it would be ok to keep the evangelist in the apartment where I was living on the Church property. I looked forward to that revival and set my heart and mind to get ready to renew my life in Christ. The evangelist came, excitement was in the service, and the crowd was great. I lifted my hands as I listened to the outstanding preaching, and God blessed me in a mighty way. With tears flowing I was feeling the wonderful joy of knowing that mercy and love from the great God I had walked with through the years had met with me once again and was restoring everything that the enemy of my soul had stolen. I stood and worshipped my God shouting praises to his name as all doubt, fear and desire toward the world vanished away.
After Church we had some wonderful fellowship as we stayed up late and talked about the wonderful works of God. I went to the apartment feeling so good and loving God. It was wonderful to be able to close my eyes and go to sleep with a deep settled peace in my soul.
A couple of hours later my whole world came crashing down. I woke up with the evangelist that had been such a blessing a few hours earlier all over me trying to kiss and have some type of sexual experience with me. I didn't know what to do as I jumped out of bed and ran out the door screaming and crying. All night long I wept in a little corner of a music studio that I had been using to teach music lessons. The next morning I went to the pastor and told him what had happened. Weeping before the pastor that I had trusted and looked up to with deep respect, I heard these words come from his mouth... "You have let your imagination run away with you...the evangelist meant no harm...Don't worry it's going to be alright...just try to forget it..." Then the pastor tried to hug me, but I didn't want a hug from him or any other man. In fact I didn't want to ever go back to Church, and I felt worthless, sick helpless and afraid. It seemed like God had abondoned me, and I had nothing to hold on to.
I cannot find words to explain the deep hurt sorrow and pain that was in my life. Confusion replaced the settled peace I had experienced the night before, and I was walking in circles not knowing what to do.
Then I picked up the phone and called my dad in Cahokia. It was difficult for him to understand my words because of the uncontrollable weeping, but he did understand that a preacher had tried to have sexual relations with me during the night. Dad said, "Son I want you to promise me one thing right now on this telephone....When you hang up this phone promise me that you will get in your car and drive to Cahokia not looking back, and don't even take time to tell anybody where you are going or what you are doing...." I asked, "but what about college?" Again dad insisted that he wanted me to promise to leave everything and not look back no matter what. I promised him that I would do that, and the promise was kept.
Later we learned that the pastor I had been working for was arrested and behind bars, because he had tried to pay money for sex to an undercover detective in a public restroom.
The very foundation of my life had been shaken by two gay men. All the things I had enjoyed in life were seemingly destroyed.
The worst trip I ever took was that trip from Arkansas to Cahokia. I had thoughts of giving up God, giving up Church, running away, changing my name. I thought I would never be happy again.
Several years would go by before I would be able to get past the deep hurt and confusion from that terrible night when I had changed from being a luke warm college freshman to a devoted child of God only to feel like running away from God and anything that reminded me of Church. All of this happened within a four hour period.
After I arrived in East St Louis I drove to the Church where my father had been pastoring for several months in the Pentecostal Church of Cahokia. My parents and sisters lived in an apartment in the back of the Church. I found myself unable to sleep at night. There was no relief, and the bitterness and anger mixed with feeling sorry for myself and missing those things that I had left behind was becoming almost more than I could stand.
During those days I could not talk to anybody including my parents about the details of what had happened or how I was feeling. It was just a deep pain inside that was always with me. After you have experienced the love of God, there is no pain greater than the pain of feeling like God has let you down, preachers are sinners, and the Church peaple are all bad.
The only thing during those days that sustained me was the fact that the experience I had received from God known as receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost was very real, and I could never deny that. If it had not been for the fact that the Holy Spirit in my life had been a real experience straight from God, I have no doubt that I would not be serving God today or going to any Church. I would probably be a drunkard or a dope head lost in a sinful world without God in my life.
Shortly after I arrived in Cahokia I met a wonderful family. The Coleman family was a gospel singing group, and they were gaining popularity in the world of Christian music. I met their daughter Sandy, and we became close friends. The Coleman family will never know how much I deeply appreciate the friendship and kindness they showed me during those tough days of my life. I started teaching music lessons in homes all over St Louis County. All day long I would look forward to the next time when I would be able to go over to the Coleman family's home and just enjoy being with them.
A few years ago I spent several hours searching for my friends, Norman and Jean Coleman, because I wanted to thank them for the friendship that had made a difference in my life during a very dark and confusing time. Recently I found the Coleman family again in the state of Florida and learned the Norman had passed from this life several years ago. I felt like I had experienced a death in the family even though I had not seen or heard from the Colemans in many years.
During my visits in the Coleman home there was singing laughing and fun. I found relief from the deep pain and constant hurting in my wounded spirit during those precious moments.
If you are out there reading this right now and suffering from some deep sorrow and dissappointment that has brought severe pain into your life, I can tell you with all sincerity that it is a very good thing to find friends who can laugh, play and sing with you.
After a year or so went by my parents felt the need to move back to Arkansas and start a Church on the East side of Pine Bluff. I had mixed emotions, because the pain was still there, and the Coleman family would not be in Arkansas.
After arriving in Pine Bluff I became very busy in an effort to get my mind off the anger and bitterness. My sister, Brenda and I started a music school known as the Ren and Bren School of Music. I became a radio announcer on a powerful radio station and enrolled myself in college again in Montecello, Arkansas. Then an opportunity came to open a music store backed by some people who were looking to invest in my talent. Within a couple of years I was running three music stores, a music school with more than 100 students weekly, managing two radio stations, going to college, teaching school in Watson, Arkansas where I had been hired with a special teaching license issued from the State Board of Education as a band director, and I was trying to be faithful in Church attendance although it was very difficult. The more busy I became the more I was able to get my mind off the pain.
Even though I was faithfully attending the Church in Pine Bluff, writing songs, directing the choir, and playing the organ for the Church, I was always hurting and could never truly put my heart into anything, because every testimony, every song, and all the preaching kept me reminded of that awful night when it seemed my world had come to an end.
Nobody in Pine Bluff knew what I was going through, not even my parents or my wife that I had married after enrolling her as a student soon after moving to Pine Bluff. It didn't help matters when I went to Campmeeting and came face to face that that evangelist that had caused so much pain in my life. He pointed his finger in my face and told me to keep my mouth shut. It felt like I was being cut by a sharp knife, and I went home weeping.
The music business was doing well. The school had dedicated the School yearbook to me two years in a row. My radio programs had become very popular, I was making good grades in College, and my reputation as music teacher had students of all ages on a long waiting list as my teaching schedule was always filled. I had been introduced in many places as the greatest musical instrument salesman in the state of Arkansas bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars into the business by having truckload sales and doing follow up on the telephone every time I had a free moment.
In the midst of all this effort to suppress the pain and stay busy I found myself driving through town one evening, and I had a thought. It was just a simple thought. As I look back I am convinced that I was hearing a still small voice speaking with love to my heart. The thought was this. "I wonder what it would be like to totally give my life to God again, walk away from all these things that keep me busy all the time, and just look away from that terrible night that always bothered me..." Then I spoke out loud and said, "I could never do that...Everything is going good, and I don't want to give all this up..." A few minutes later the thought came back, but this time it had a few more thoughts included; "...Remember how wonderful it was back when those blessings were in my life and how it felt just to praise the Lord with all the cares of life left behind...?" All of a sudden tears flooded my eyes. I didn't know why I was crying, but I was crying. In fact I started weeping aloud and had to stop the vehicle because I couldn't see the road.
I will never forget that moment when Jesus met with me on Cherry street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas as I had parked and lifted my heart up to my loving Savior. The refreshing that can only come from God filled my soul, and I was speaking in tongues and praising my God. That night I learned more about kneeling at the Cross than I had ever known before.
A few days later I gave notice to everybody in the business world that I had worked with including the radio stations, college, the school where I had been teaching, and I closed all the stores and the teaching studio as I prepared to launch out full time for Jesus. Many tears stained the carpet during that month as God dealt with my heart and brought me to a point where I was willing to do anything and go anywhere for Jesus, but there was one thing I requested of the Lord during those blessed nights. I told Jesus that I did not want to ever be a preacher. After a few more hours of crying out to God and being refreshed in the loving presence of the one who died for me, I finally came to a point when I was willing to do anything including preaching or even cleaning toilets, and God healed me. The pain was gone. Those preachers that had hurt me were forgiven, and my life was new in Jesus.
If you are in pain today please humble yourself before this great God, and let him love you and heal you. No amount of work, friendship or success in this world will do what God can do when those tears start flowing, and those hands are uplifted, and words of praise start coming from your heart.
After the pain healing came. It happened for me, and it can happen for you.
Here are links to some recent blogs that may also be a help to you.
OVERCOMING THE TRICKS OF ANTI-CHRIST SPIRITS
JOY IN GIVING
LIVING HAPPY - VIDEO BLOG