Awakening to God’s Love
(Please listen to Seth’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
My name is Seth and this is how the Lord broke into my life.
I had cried out to Him in my life, and at times and the response wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t the answer that I wanted and I got very angry. You know, occasionally some things would happen–like a friend would OD and I’d hear about it. They’d be at the hospital and I’d cry out to God. This was one of the, you know, this was a kind of watershed moment for me. It was this girl and I had written a poem about her. It was probably maybe one of the first poems I ever wrote. I prayed all night long. I think I was maybe 17 at this point, and I can remember the sun coming up and getting the text they were taking her off life support; that she didn’t make it. And that for me, with God, it was a big deal. I felt like He was a liar. I felt like I’d been lied to because The Word is true, right? I tested it and it seemed to come back void to me. That was one tragedy [where] I began to form my own theology around a God that makes promises, that writes things down, and doesn’t fulfill them.
I lived life for a while and I ended up going to that kind of like–just following this to its natural end, which was pleasure was like where [life] was. It makes sense. You build a life around doing the things that make you feel good; that you get reward for and I ended up in San Francisco. I went there for a woman that I love, that I cared deeply about, and I wanted to make that relationship work. So I just moved from Texas to San Francisco. That relationship did not work out. I was broken over a broken heart, my broken heart, but also just that there was no hope in the world. I looked out, I saw that there were no solutions for men. And all you have is just failure after failure. And so I just…I kind of lost it. At this point I’m not seeking pleasure, I’m seeking relief. So I started to use drugs. I found meth and it was the only thing that made me feel good in just a very long time where I could do that. Actually, I was no longer tormented by sadness. It felt like I was actually functioning; which is I know the strangest thing.
So I go to visit my mother on her birthday. This is in July of 2016. I go to visit her on her birthday and I’m getting phone calls from a cousin of mine who’s walking with the Lord. We don’t usually talk, so getting phone calls and interest from him as a relationship was out of nowhere. It was a surprise, but I was delighted because I didn’t have a lot of relationships with people. So that was one thing–a person. I contacted a friend of mine who lives in town who could get meth because I wanted some while I was there. He was like, “That’ll be great. We’ll get together.” I was like, “That’s awesome.” I did that right before I left. But when I got here, I called him again. He was like, “Oh Dude…” and he started telling me about an experience that he had with the Lord. He was like, “Yeah, so I’m not doing anything like that [meth]. I remember I blew up at him. I said, “Why is this happening? Why won’t He…?” He tried to tell me a little bit about Jesus and I was like, “No! Stop it! Why won’t He leave me alone? I want Him to leave me alone!” I know now that I had felt the Lord pursuing me. I had felt Him coming after me. And it had been for a while. To where I felt like I was like, “How can I be living this reckless way?” Pursuing really death because I kind of–I didn’t want to take myself out. I wanted–but I would just kind of be happy if somebody else would go ahead and do that.
So I visit, I visit home. And my mom, you know, my mom shows me her medical paperwork and things like that. She’s manifesting a lot of the symptoms of ALS. She is seeing one of the best neurologists in Dallas. She’s starting to not be able to pick things up with her hands, her muscles are failing. She can’t feel her feet. She had been on a cane for a few years and now she’s going on a walker the next month. It lays me lower than even I’ve been. So I’m there at home and then one night, you know, I kind of just decided that I’m going to have it out with the Lord. So I went out to the…You know, I mean, if there was One–if He was real, if Jesus is real, God’s real, you know, I’ve got some things to say. So I went out into the garage and I let Him have it for a few hours. I told Him every single thing that I thought about Him. I mean, I told Him–I said, “F You.” I had the most honest conversation that I have ever had with anybody. So I said everything to Him that I never had; everything that I felt that had been bottled up, I just released it. Then I came back inside. After I had let the Lord have it, I came back inside.
I had to walk past the room that my mom and dad were staying in, in order to get to the room that I was staying in. So I walked past it and my dad’s laying like across the bed, like fully in his clothes, like diagonal across. I just peeked my head in and I said, “Mom, how’s the–what’s going on with dad? She goes, “Oh he just got so sick. He’s feeling so bad.” So I’m like, my mom is–my mom, I’m thinking she’s got ALS, she’s gonna wither; her muscles are going to fail. She’s going to slowly die in the most painful withering way possible. And she’s the representative of everything that I still love in the world. Now my dad, who’s the only other representative, is extremely sick. So I make it a little bit through like the next room and I just, I fell to my knees and and I just said, “Oh, God. If You’ll just heal my parents, I’ll be the least of the least of Your servants.” Not knowing or believing at all for anything because God doesn’t answer prayer.
I go to the bedroom that I’m staying in, then I go to sleep and I have a night terror. Where I’m at is the same–the bed’s the same, the scene’s the same, everything is the same. There’s no difference between the night terror and actually like the room that [I’m] in or where [I’m] at. And my mom’s exact, like the exact cane that she has appears in my hand. It’s four pronged, it’s gray, and I know it’s hers. So my mom’s cane appears in my hand, and I just know there’s this evil that hates me and it’s just outside this window. So I swing this cane at it, and if you imagine like a waterfall instead of glass–like imagine a waterfall. So something can pass through it without actually breaking what it is. So the cane passed through it like a membrane and was grabbed on the other side by that evil presence. We went to war over the cane. I pulled on it and jerked it and got it back. It pulled it and I pulled it, and it pulled it and I pulled it until I pulled it and it came away. I got it back and all the presence disappeared. Then I’m back in my bed and there’s this dog, like this large dog. It’s this large Dalmatian dog. So I began to hit it with the cane that’s in my hand and whoomp, it’s gone. Then around the corner of that, afterwards, this Pomeranian face, peers around it. It’s got black eyes, black nose, and it starts to growl at me. I growl back at it and whoomp, I wake up from the night terror.
My mom walks up to me–which she can’t do, and tells me that the Lord healed her today. She never used a cane again after that.
So some things happen, I go back to sleep. The next morning, I get up and my sister has gotten on Craigslist. She’s made a deal with a local church who wants to throw out–And I don’t go to church–they want to throw out church pews so they can get new ones in. She just happens to want to do some yard by yard gardening and she wants to use the lumber from these church pews. And [since] I’m her brother, and I’m fairly big and strong, so she enlists me in this endeavor. I find myself roped into [this] because who else is going to help her? I’m roped into going and yanking church pews out of church that day. And so I mean, I want to be nowhere less than that. But that’s, that’s where I’m going. But before we go out, I walked by my mom’s room and I look in there and I’m like, “Hey, Mom, Where’s dad?” And she goes, “Oh, he just, he woke up feeling better than he’s felt in weeks so he’s gone off and he’s running errands.” I’m just like, okay, because there’s no way to process that as being meaningful. I certainly don’t think that it goes back to the prayer that I prayed the night before.
So we go to this church. I text at 11:45am, I text my cousin, and I tell him the story and I don’t have spiritual language or biblical language for this at the time. So I text him about the dream that I had. I said, “Yeah, it was just really weird. You know, I fought these beings or, I don’t know demons or beings off with my mom’s cane.” And I told him a little bit about the story. At 12 pm my mom, at home by herself, just has a thought enter her head–where she would just like to try to walk to the icebox to get herself some ice without her cane. She stands up and she’s healed instantly. So I come home, you know, four or 5pm or something with Melanie [my sister]. My mom walks up to me–which she can’t do, and tells me that the Lord healed her today. She never used a cane again after that. Instead of going to a walker the next month, she just walked.
So I just did the only thing that I knew to do. I just got on my knees and started thanking God. But you have to, you’ve got to know this was not the end. I did what I thought was going on, but I didn’t have a relationship yet. I didn’t know this Man, Jesus. I didn’t know the reality of God. I didn’t have theology. I wasn’t reading my Bible. I didn’t have a grid in any way for what started to go on–for this. So this was just the beginning. Like these are just like the first like, this is the first couple days of an awakening to the reality of who God is and His love that He had for me. There’s no reason why He should do anything for me. I don’t deserve anything. I’m a bad person. And in that moment, He came and He saved the lives of the people that–the only ones that have ever really shown me love.
So we’re, ya know, what I believed is that you just…what you can prove is reality. Well, cool. Well, the Lord has just proven to me that there’s a much more supreme reality than what we can prove. It’s a different reality. Heaven is different. His kingdom is different. And He’s supreme over all that. So I give my life to the Lord. All the shame fell off my life and all the religious understanding that I had about the relationship with God being some–having something to do with me working or me doing things or not doing things, following laws or not following laws or, or being holy or not being holy. No, no, no. God had chosen me and selected me, to save me to love me. And it was about Him. It was about His love. It was about His choice. It was about His saving grace. So He came to me and He preached grace and I don’t know what grace is. But He told me He was with me no matter what, and He would never leave. There was nothing I could do to make Him leave. So I stopped doing things that separated me from Him. Because I didn’t have to do anything to make me feel better. Because I felt good because there was no one, there’s nothing to hide from. God was real. Jesus is real and He really loves me. I can experience Him, and have a real relationship, and learn more about Him, and about me because He says some things about me. He says some things about us. So yeah, now we have a relationship. We’ve just been–I’ve just been growing in His grace ever since then. He’s been redeeming me ever since then. And the journey continues.