Friday, December 20, 2013

Tales from the Prayer Zone by Gene Merkl

I have learned that there are no coincidences in life; and even though it seems we never know precisely how God will use us, we must be vigilant to listen for His call and obedient to the direction we are given. The following is a true story and was shared with me September 4, 2013 in my office. Please share with others as you feel led. Since that Wednesday I have shared personally with more than 70 people in various settings. The Power of the Truth it belies just keeps on giving. 

My cell phone rang at 6:00 AM Wednesday morning, a truck driver from Tuscumbia, Al giving me notice that he would be making delivery of an order about 9:00 AM at my place of business. Sure enough, he showed up right on time but it seemed odd to me that he was driving an 18 wheel flatbed truck to deliver just 4 pallets of material (20 would be a full load).

He though it was odd, too and told me that he was originally supposed to drive a load toBirmingham that morning and at the last minute they changed his load and route.

It came to mind that he might be delivering more than met my eyes; my spiritual radar was right on, but I wasn’t prepared for what I would hear.

He came in to pick up a check (COD these days) and since he was from the Muscle Shoals area and looked like someone who would enjoy the club scene (like me in other words) I asked him if he knew a drummer named Eddy Russell who played in the area. He said nope, I don’t do the club scene any more. I said I don’t much either, not since I’ve found Jesus. He said I know what you mean, I used to be a drug dealer. I told him that I too had my fair share of time in substance abuse land. He said, no, I mean I was a serious drug dealer.

Really, I said? Tell me about it. He said, are you sure you want to hear this? I said, you bet, especially if it’s about Jesus.

This is the story Wesley Hood shared with me as I sat spellbound in my office:

Three years ago I was probably the biggest crystal meth dealer in the tri-cities area. I was running between 2 and 3 pounds of meth per week all over the place. Its funny, but I didn’t start out to be a dealer; I just liked the drug so much that I started buying it in large quantities and selling it at low prices just so I’d have plenty for myself. In just a few years, I had essentially cornered the market in that area. I suppose I was na├»ve but in that process I had trampled pretty hard on the turf of some existing dealers and I guess they weren’t too happy about it. Anyway, some of these guys invited me to a club in the area to “talk business”. We were set to meet in the wee hours of the morning and so I headed that way.

At about that time, my wife, who I had been estranged from for about 8 months awoke (about 2:00 AM) with a start. Being a faithful praying woman, she called her brother (a preacher) and others and told them we really need to pray for Wesley, he is in serious trouble.

When I got to the club, after some discussion about territories, my “friends” handed me a syringe with something special in it they wanted me to try. I went out to my car to run it up. I set up the tourniquet, took the hit and released this into my body. Immediately, I felt as if I had been hit in the chest with a sledge hammer. I knew that I was a dead man and my life flashed before my eyes, but strangely, most of it was memories of family, church and Sunday school I had known before my drug addiction. I heard a sound that can only be described as 10,000 men screaming in agony and my thoughts turned to what “I” could do to save my soul. I remembered the Cross that was hanging from my mirror and as I felt it in my hand, the screaming stopped and I passed out.

I awoke to find a bearded man sitting next to me on the seat, slapping my face and trying to revive me. He asked if I was alright; I said I think so and then I said who are you and what are you doing here? He said, I’m the guy that rigged up that fix for you. It was oxycontin and meth and was supposed to have taken you out.

You see, I’m a “hit” man, or at least I was. 5 minutes ago, I was about a hundred yards up the hill with a rifle and night vision scope and I had your head in my crosshairs. If the drugs didn’t take you out, then my plan was to shoot you, but the strangest thing happened. I have been doing this for years and nothing like this ever happened. As I watched you fall back in the seat I heard the most God-awful sound; it was like 10,000 men screaming in agony. As I got ready to take the shot, you reached for the cross on your mirror; when you grabbed it the screaming stopped. My whole life flashed before my eyes; I remembered a time when I knew God’s love and I heard a voice say I want you to help the man in that car. I want to give you another chance.

So the hit man gave me a ride home and there at the front door was my wife, waiting to welcome me home with open arms. I have since answered a call to the ministry and thank God every day for the opportunities he gives me to share what He has done in my life.

What I heard from Wesley’s witness was that we don’t have to have a needle in our arm, an overdose in our hearts or a rifle in our hands to hear that screaming. Sometimes it’s in the daily struggle of work, finding a job, a battle with disease or addiction, a car that won’t start, an argument with one’s spouse, making ends meet, ridiculous schedules, even getting the kids ready for school. The greatest Power the world has ever known is always at our disposal. When you hear the screaming, pause and let God remind you of the good things he has done for you and show you the things He’d like to change. Then reach for the Cross and the wonderful peace that always goes with that kind of unconditional Love.

Jesus is still in the miracle business; have you asked Him to help you today?