This is a chapter of a book . Please send feed back if you have read it. Thanks. Mitzi
My name is Joe. I grew up in the Bronx of New York City. I never knew what having a family was. My dad was put in prison before I was born. My mom had to work two measly jobs to support three kids.
Welfare took up the slack.
I had free run of the streets when I wasn’t watching my younger brother and sister.
I got beat up so much as a kid I got tough at an early age. I started running dope for gangs when I was twelve.
I started getting in trouble with the law as a teenager. Doing one crime after the other. I didn’t have anything constructive to take up my time. So what’s a kid to do?
I got tired of making petty money so I quit running dope and started selling. That didn’t work either. I started using what I was supposed to be selling and the money came up shorter than supply.
Gang leaders aren’t to forgiving. So they put a bounty up for my ass.
I had to hide out and keep up my habit. So I decided to knock off a store for some cash. To make a long story short I got caught.
My Lawyer got the judge to agree to send me to a drug rehab facility. When I arrived they searched me, assigned me a room and gave me a set of their rules.
I asked my self how I was going to get out of this one. I looked around the small room. At least it had a bathroom in it. A small bed and nightstand. I turned out the light after one single tear streamed down my face.
I drifted to sleep in a haze of confusion.
The next morning the hall leader telling me to come eat breakfast awakened me so we could get ready for church service.
I was thinking I would rather be sleeping in or lying with one of my hoes. But I promised my self I would go along with this stuff.
After all it was better than on the street waiting for a bunch of slugs coming towards my head.
I took a shower and put on some clothes that the center had.
They kept clothes that people ha donated in case men come in here with nothing but one set of rags.
We got to the church hall and they were a lot of guys in there and they all seemed to smile too much and shake my hand.
I thought man what a joke.
This guy came up to me and introduced himself. His name was Ben. He had a big cheesy grin and weathered looking eyes.
He told me he had been a junkie for 30 yrs. And if it hadn’t been for the Lord he would have been dead a long time ago.
I just thought his brain was eaten up and he latched on to what ever he was fed in here.
During church they had guest speakers come and give their story as to what their life was like and how it had changed. They all mentioned
God and his only son Jesus Christ.
There were drug dealers like me in there. Guys that lived on the streets since they were mere children. Then there were the guys that were dieing of aids. I told my self I was glad I didn’t have any kind of disease that was taking my life.
As I listened to these men talk I could see a certain look in their faces. They seem to have a peace about them. A calm I knew I had never remembered having in my life. I had always lived in fear. In the rough neighborhood you never turn your back for too long. A place you have to steal, kill, and do whatever it takes to survive.
But these men had a twinkle in their eyes. Something deep down inside of me started to get uneasy.
I knew that they must have found some thing in this so-called God that changed their life. But I was so scared to even start to think about how to grab a hold of it.
At The end of the service they gave what they call a benediction call. They invite all who had felt the Lord talk to them to come down and give their life to Christ.
I started sweating profusely. Without realizing it at first my hands were clenching the bench in front of me so tightly that my knuckles were turning white. I knew in my heart that God was talking to me, and it scared me to death.
But my heart was still hardened. I wouldn’t give in to the powerful tugging at my very soul.
Nothing had ever worked in my life before. So how could something like this work any better?
I went back to my room after the service and lay down on the bed.
For the first time in my life I balled like a baby and I couldn’t swallow for the lump in my throat. I had a great sense of doom. But I couldn’t give up the bad guy that I taught my self to be as a young man. I was hard to the core.
My days in the centers were peaceful. With each passing day my addiction lessened. I got off of the dope and my nerves were getting better.
But still every Sunday morning church service placed what felt like a ton of bricks on my chest. I just couldn’t move myself to take that first step down the aisle of redemption.
I knew God was speaking to my heart but I just couldn’t let go.
After six long months I had only two days till my departure from the center. They helped to place me in a job. Something I had never officially had. A real job in the society most people call normal.
I was really nervous. I thought ‘well I was clean off drugs’. And had a job. I was doing well. Better than I had ever had it in my life.
I was doing good and was going to take care of my self. Make a new start in my life. Something I have never had was a clean start.
I was a survivor and didn’t need their God.
So I worked as a janitor on the graveyard shift. I didn’t make as much money as when I was dealing, but I was proud of my self.
I had an honest job, my own apartment, and was off the “stuff” now
for a year.
I worked for three months. One night I was finishing up my shift and getting ready to go home. I kept getting an uneasy feeling. Kind of like somebody was trying to tell me something. I just kept on ignoring it.
I thought it was just one of those nights when I thought I wanted
some junk, so I ignored the feeling. I knew I was better off without it.
My life had changed a lot since I quit using.
I grabbed my coat and walked out the door. I started walking down the sidewalk. The night air was warm but still, almost motionless.
The next thing I remember is waking up on the sidewalk and people are bent over looking down at me. They are saying, “Oh-my God”.
“Poor thing, he worked so hard to straighten his life out.”
I thought in my head, “what are they talking about?” “I am awake now and I am getting out of here!”
Next thing I know there is a policeman arrives and he starts to throw a sheet over my head. I’m thinking “Hey, wait a minute”, I’m all right now. Next thing I know I’m standing up looking around and I look down at my feet and there I lay. I know it’s me. I saw the officer throw the sheet on my head.
This has to be some kind of mistake. Then I knew that I had been killed. Then I saw them. They were black, but I could see through them. They had hideous faces. They pointed at me and said “come; you have to go with us.” One grabbed one arm and the other grabbed my other arm and started to pull me. No matter how much I fought I couldn’t break their grasp. It was like thinking of the strongest man on earth and multiplying it by thousands.
I have done some rough fighting in my life. I’ve even killed men with my own strength as my hands were wringing the breath out of someone. But they pulled me so fast and so hard. It was like a second went by and I was whisked away into a place of total darkness. The place they took me to be so totally dark I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my own face. I was more frightened than I had ever been in my life. Then it came to me. I knew where I was. I was in Hell. The Hell that the preacher in the rehab had talked about.
I cried out “ GOD, PLEASE, IF YOU CAN HEAR ME.” “PLEASE HELP ME.”
But I heard nothing. I started sobbing. I fell to my knees because I knew it was too late.
If I had only gave my life to Christ when I had the chance. I heard laughter; I couldn’t see any one. I knew what ever or who ever it was, was laughing at me.
I thought I could do it on my own. I thought I didn’t need God.
But none of that mattered. I remember the preacher saying that this day may be my last chance. If only I had listened. But it was too late.
It was so cold. I was freezing. The cold wasn’t as if you were in the Antarctica without a coat when it is way below freezing. It was more like a cold emptiness that went down deeper than your bones. It went to the very core of my being.
My body was in so much pain I felt like someone had beat me to a pulp. I was placed in a room and there were the faces of people I had killed in gang fights. I always thought since I was clever enough never to get caught I was always in the clear and free.
All I done was sent them to a hell that awaited my entrance.
They were begging me, “Joe why did you kill me.” It was worse than any of the worse nightmares you could ever have in your whole life.
See Joe had a hard life from the beginning.
No parents were really there for him. He lived a hard life of crime and drugs to fill the void in his life.
He was in gangs to find a sense of purpose and belonging.
He had a chance to come to God. God loves each and every one of us.
He will and can supply all the things that are missing in your life.
He wants to be your comforter, healer, teacher, and loving father.
If you reject him, you will die alone in an everlasting hell.
It will be eternal. That means forever!! Let Jesus Christ into your heart and it will be the best decision you will ever make.