Friday, April 13, 2007

With God, Anything is Possible, Wayne's Story

I want to share a story with you that really blows me away when I stop and think about what God has done and is doing in the life of a friend of mine. His name is Wayne and I've visited with him and told him that I wanted to write a devotion about him and he immediately said that would be OK. You see we both believe that our life experiences are the best testimony we can give. When Christians share with others what they have been through... where God has brought them from and taken them to, then others can relate. That's why testimony is so important. It's real and others can see it and testify to it. And when we see God at work in the lives of others we have hope. Hope that He can change and affect our lives in the same way, and of course, He can!

Wayne was my next door neighbor. He and his wife were great neighbors, very friendly and fun to be around. My wife and I grew to love our neighbors, they were good people. Unknown to us for some time however was Wayne's secret addiction to drugs. His wife of course knew about it, and I'm sure those real close to Wayne knew it, but as it is with all addictions, he tried to keep it hidden from others. Without going into the details of his addiction, let me just say it was very bad and he was very addicted. His addition was to prescription drugs and his addiction affected his family life, his work life, and basically everything he did. Trying to manage an addiction to drugs and live a normal life is not possible, but to the person addicted, they're not themselves and they don't think clearly. Wayne struggled with keeping his job and his marriage was suffering as well. He struggled with trying to get clean and stay clean and he would try, but of course he was never able to stay the course. He'd always fall back to the urges and give into the desires he had for the feelings he got when he was high, also at this point his body just wouldn't function well without them... that's why it caused addiction. He'd become dependent on the drugs to deal with issues in his life, but the drugs were slowly destroying him more and more every day.

After a period of time of remaining clean, or at least I thought he was clean, he asked me to hire him because he needed work. Being a friend of mine and someone that I cared about, I told him if he passed the drug test, I might have work for him at the store. Well he passed the drug test and was soon hired on at the store. Unfortunately after a few weeks of work I started noticing signs that he was high at work. One day as I was talking to him at work, His speech was slurred some and his eyes were bloodshot and he had difficulty focusing on the task at hand. He wasn't real bad but enough that I had my suspicions that he was on something.

One of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make was about to happen, but I knew I had to do it. There was no way I could allow him to work for me anymore. I made the decision to let him go. I called him into my office and I explained to him what I was seeing in his work performance and I told him I was going to have to let him go. I told him I didn't know if he was on something or not, but by his actions he appeared to be. He didn't deny it, and he was very sorry that it came to this but he did understand why I was firing him and he understood that I had to.
As I was filling out the paperwork to terminate his employment, I had this overwhelming feeling, something inside of me kept saying to me over and over, Steve you have to do something, you've got to tell him about Jesus. He will never survive if he doesn't find Jesus. As awkward as this was for me I felt strongly that God was telling me to witness to Wayne. I remember thinking, this is not the time God, I just fired the man! I suddenly said... Wayne, do you care if I take you to lunch, I really just want to talk to you about something. He said he would go to lunch with me. I was amazed at how understanding he was about all this, but I guess he knew deep down this day would come. You can't go to work under the affects of drugs and expect to keep your job. I quickly finished the paperwork and we went to my truck and I drove us to Sonic. I knew what I was going to talk to him about and I didn't want to be in a restaurant, I wanted to be where we could talk and I felt my vehicle would be the best place.

I prayed for God to give me the words to say because I still had no idea how I was going to bring up the subject of Christ. I knew he needed to hear it, but would he listen, would he care? Would he be angry with me and tune it out? I knew that he knew I was a Christian, we'd talked about spiritual things before, but never really in much detail. He knew that I prayed for him and his addiction and I trusted that he would listen to me because I knew he respected me as a friend because of our relationship that we had established over time. I also began to realize that it was only by God's intervention that I would even be able to be sitting here having lunch and talking with a man I had just fired. I again apologized to Wayne for having to let him go and he again said he understood. He started talking about his issues, telling me about his addiction and the struggles he's had with it, when he started and how it all evolved and the consequences of it all. Then he told me something I will never forget. He said... "Steve, I think I have a demon living inside of me and I don't know what to do." I feel that the demon controls me and it scares me because I don't know what I will do." I have terrible evil thoughts and I really do believe I have a demon in me." This scared me.
He was genuinely worried and he was asking and searching for help. I really didn't know what to tell him, but one thing. I said, "Wayne, I don't know much but this I do know, If you do have a demon living inside of you there's only one way I know to get him out. When Jesus moves in then the demon moves out. (Darkness always fleas from Light) He listened very carefully as I explained about how Jesus moves into our heart when we ask him to save us. I explained he can't lick this addiction problem or beat this demon on his own, He needs Christ to help him overcome. It won't happen any other way. We talked some more and I answered a few more questions that he had and finally I asked him... "Wayne, do you want to invite Jesus into your heart and give your life to Him?" He said, "Yes, I do." I asked him if he would go to the church with me right now, and he said he would. I had a key to the church because I was a deacon in our church and I know we could have prayed right there in the car, but for some reason I felt lead to go to the church. It only took a couple of minutes and we were sitting in a pew in the back of the church. I explained the plan of salvation in detail to Wayne and after I was sure he understood what it meant to give his life to Christ, I again asked him if he was ready to pray and give his life to Christ as his Savior. He said yes, and we prayed together asking Jesus to Save him. He thanked me and we drove back to the store. After he left I was amazed at what had just taken place. If you would have ever told me that I would fire someone and then help lead them to Christ all at the same time, I would have told you, you were crazy. But... With God, anything is possible!

I'd like to say that from that day on everything was wonderful but the worst was yet to come. After giving his life to Christ he began to read his bible and he'd try to learn more about Christ and what had just happened to him but even though he now had Christ in his life, he still struggled with his addiction. To make a long story short, he finally got to a place in his life where he just kind of disappeared for a few days, we all feared the worst for Wayne. We knew he was struggling with his addiction and we worried that he may not survive. He was very depressed and he told me later that while he was a way for these three days, he began to take many drugs. He took so many drugs that he recalls that it should have killed him. He finally starts to pray, but not for healing, he prays for God to take his life and end this mess, then he passes out. Much later when he awakes he's surprised at how good he feels. He's also surprised to see he's still alive. Strangely though he feels no desire to use which was very abnormal for him. He is convinced that he's been healed by God and he prays and thanks the Lord that He healed him of his addiction. Days go by and still no desire or urge to do drugs, it's completely gone! He begins to share his testimony with others and he begins to become involved in Church and bible study. He finds a good job and months go by and still no desire to do drugs. He eventually goes to the doctor for a check up and the liver damage he used to have from all the drugs he'd taken over the years of his addiction, is gone, amazingly he's been healed! He proclaims that God healed him of his addiction and gives testimony to all who will hear. Now any of us that have any experience with drug addiction knows that you're never completely healed. You have to constantly be aware that you are still an addict and if you are not careful you may slip back into using again. Every addict knows this. But here Wayne is telling everyone he knows that God healed him of his addiction. It goes against everything we've all learned and know about addiction... that is unless we realize one very important truth... With God, Anything is Possible!

Although Wayne's health and his addiction were healed, his marriage didn't survive. Both of them are still dear friends of mine and I love them both. Wayne continued to focus on Christ after his divorce and he started taking classes at our associational office to learn more about the Bible. He became very involved in mission work and went on Mission to Brazil. This trip ignited a passion in him like none other and the Lord lead him to making the decision to completely sell out for Christ and attend seminary and become a full time missionary as his vocation. He left his job and moved off to go to seminary. Currently Wayne is a student at Boyce College at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has his own blog site as well and he fittingly calls himself, "Mission Rookie." If you want to encourage Wayne you can write him or read his blog at

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I'm amazed at how Wayne's life has changed over the years and I'm also amazed and encouraged at what God has done through my good friend Wayne. Wayne is such an encouragement to me because he reminds me that we should all be faithful in whatever it is that God wants us to do. God is just waiting to work through us if we'll just be obedient and follow His Spirits leading in our lives. I wish I could see into the future for Wayne. Where will God take him? Who will God touch through Wayne and his testimony? Only God knows for sure. One things for sure though, as Wayne faces those difficult challenges that I'm sure face him in the future, he knows who to lean on for strength and endurance to stay the course. He can always depend on God, because God healed him when nothing else could. Now God is using a poor broken sinner that was addicted to drugs to do His work! I say it again... "WITH GOD, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE"

God bless you Wayne! I love you and I want you to know you are such an encouragement to me. You will always be in my prayers and my hope is that God will use you in great and mighty ways for His glory and to build up His Kingdom.

Your brother in Christ,


1 comment:

Wayne said...

Thank you Steve. You have helped me to realize how my actions, good or bad, affect others. You have truely been a blessing and an inspiration to me.
When you fired me, you demonstrated "tough love," by deciding not to continue enabling me, and your persistence in showing me the love of Christ. That helped me to realize what was actually going on inside of me. I can't thank you enough. For your obedience to Christ, my life has been changed ... for eternity.