I was sitting in my office one Saturday afternoon recently, relaxed, listening to the music of Bill Gaither and his Vocal Band. The Band has always been a favorite of ours, but one song that day
brought back dark, unwelcome memories. It reminded me of a time in my life I shall never forget. The quintet began to sing, At The Cross, an old Christian hymn and I attempted to sing along. Instead, I choked up and began to sob.
I remembered well the day many yeas ago when I first heard the Vocal Band sing this same rendition. I was half-way across Texas in my 18-wheeler going nowhere. As the Vocal Band started to sing, something electric began to happen. “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burdens of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.”
But I wasn’t. Far from enjoying my ride through life, it was a time of trauma, uncertainty, and despair. I began to sing with them. The song was well-known, a hymn with which I was familiar from my earliest days. But this time was far from routine.
I began to sing with them, but never made it through the chorus. I wept uncontrollably and for a few moments the cab of my truck became a sanctuary. God was there and that day marked the beginning of my reconstruction. Slowly, without fanfare, I began to put my life back together. This book was born amid a desperate, disorienting twenty-year parenthesis in my life. Please believe that I am neither bragging nor complaining.
The story of my life reflects a deep-felt appreciation for what God has done for me. Once you are aware of how far I have come from the lowest of all lows you will know why Jesus Christ has come to mean so much to me. My failures are legendary, but such is life. And, when the chips are down, God is not prone to always explain what is going on. I am pleased to say that it wasn’t drugs, or alcohol, or women, and my conscience is clear. No one person was at fault, but I had made some terribly unfortunate choices and life had thrown me a wicked curve.
When I reflect on where my sweetheart and I are today, it challenges believability. If you knew me better, you could easily understand my love for Jesus Christ. I realize now He was nearby, unrecognized in the darkness, watching carefully over my progress, he was there.
My friends will tell you I am no fanatic, but I am deeply grateful for what God – and I am convinced it was God – has done in my life. He is a God of second chances, a God of the impossible, and the thoughts about which I write are more than empty words. They are the story of my life.