by J.P. Ruiz
The day God saved my life and my family
|May 2013 PROMPT: Write about a verse (other than John 3:16) that has significantly impacted your life.
He Has Called Me by Name (Isaiah 43 NIV)
By: J.P. Ruiz
All at once my world came crashing down upon me. It happened about seven years ago, I was thirty-five years old and I was at the top of my career. I am veteran of the Gulf War of when I left the military I decided to work hard and to make my childhood dream come true. I went to college and earned my Texas Peace Officer Certification and soon I was a police officer. I devoted my life to my job and my job became my life. If I wasn’t working, I was taking all the training courses I could in order to advance in my field. I began my police career as a non-paid reserve patrol officer and worked my way up to Chief of Police in a little over ten years. This was an incredible accomplishment and it did not come without my share of sacrifice. I was a father of four, one son from a previous marriage, two step-children (a son and a daughter), and now my wife and I had a daughter together.
My son from my first marriage was an only child and he had a difficult time with me remarrying. His mother had left me for someone else but I never pointed finger or assigned blame to his mother. My son could only see that his father was no longer living with him and I had acquired a new family. My son had a difficult time adjusting and he made it a point not to get along with my new wife. All I wanted was to provide him with a loving family, but if it were up to him our family should consist of only he and I. I had visitation rights every other weekend, every other holiday, and forty days in the summer. The problem arose as a police officer I was always on call and weekend were naturally our highest call period. Things became impossible at home and it got to the point that I was looking for a reason to be at work and spend the least amount of time at home. Do not get me wrong, I love my wife and I love all of my children as if they were all mine. This was the problem, in order to make everyone happy I was literally living separate lives. I had a life with my wife, a life with my son, and a life with the rest of my children. It did not take long soon my life began to rip apart.
My family and I had always attended church but we did it out of form and ceremony rather that out of a love for Jesus Christ. Things became so bad that my wife gave me an ultimatum that if I was going to have a life with my son it was going to have to be out of the house. So I moved out, I left my family in order to save my relationship with my son. I felt a great deal of guilt because I did not live with my son and I felt I owed him more than I could give him. I would not discipline him due to fear that he would stop loving me. He had different rules than the rest of my children and this was wrong, but I could not see it at the time.
I was spending a great deal of time at work and when I was not working and my son was not with me I was drinking alcohol heavily to cover up the pain. I was having medical issues and dealt with a great deal of pain so I was also prescribed pain medication. I have to admit, I hated myself and I wanted everyone else to hate me also. I felt as if I was causing so many people that I loved so much pain that it would be better if I was not around. The pain increased with each day and I fell into a dark depression. The thought of ending my life seemed like a means to an end of pain for everyone.
One day my wife came to the door of the RV trailer I was living in and she was so excited. She was going on about how she had met Jesus and how He had forgiven her and she was born-again. Apparently a friend from work had invited her to a different church and Jesus had become real to her. I was so angry, how dare she come and boast about how God had forgiven her for all she had done to me and my son. I did not want to hear it and I demanded she leave and she refused. I could not understand why she was so happy, it just increased my anger. I was hurting inside and I wanted her to hurt also, it was not fair that she could be so happy. I called for police assistance and I had her removed. The next day I filled for divorce.
The next day I arrived at work at my usual time (6:30 am) and I began to prepare as we were going to serve a search warrant on a local drug house. As I was preparing my paperwork and equipment I received a call and was requested to meet with Mayor in his office. I walked into his office and was informed that my services were no longer required. I was so angry, this was the last thing that had remained in my life and now it was gone. I drove to RV and opened a brand new bottle of Jim Beam a friend had gifted to me a day earlier. I opened the bottle and poured myself drink after drink until I was out of soda to mix with it. Then I continued to drink the liquor straight with ice, until I ran out of ice. So I continued to drink straight out of the bottle. I was hurting so much and I did not know what to do. I had only a few pain pills left so I took those and sat on the couch.
I looked over to the table that was next to my couch and on it laid two fully loaded pistols. This was it, it was time to do it and get it over with. After all what else did I have to live for, my life was hurting so many people and I did not wish to be the reason for their misery any longer. I prayed that God would forgive me and that he would improve the lives of my loved ones once I was gone. I stood up and began to walk over to the table to grab my pistol. As I staggered across the living room, an unbearable force pulled me to my knees. I blacked out and when I awoke I was in a dark forest. I could not recognize my surroundings, I was completely lost.
I was a boy scout when I was young and I had received extensive training in navigation and wilderness survival in the military but I could not find a way out. I began to panic and I ran and ran but it was useless there were no trail to be found and it was so dark that I could not even see the position of the sun. I felt helpless; I screamed for help but did not get any response. I searched for signs of animal trails or any indication of where I might be or where I should go but found nothing. I was getting tiered and out of breath. I fell to ground and sat with back to a tree trunk and I rested my head in my hands in defeat. I had given up, so I closed my eyes and attempted to slow my breathing down so I could catch my breath. It was beginning to get darker and the temperature was getting cold.
As thoughts raced through my mind about all the situations I was dealing with and soon the thoughts turned to thoughts of all the good times that had happened in my life. My life was literally racing through my mind. Was this the end, was I dying? I felt warmth come upon me and I opened my eyes and I noticed a bright light peering through the tree top shining on me. A strong authoritative but comforting voice spoke, “Son, I know you are lost right now but I promise you, I will help you find your way”. I woke up and I was on my knees on the floor in the middle of my living room. I was completely sober and I knew a miracle had happened. It was the voice of my Savior.
I called my wife on the phone and explained what had happened and I apologized to her and promised to give my life to the Lord. I had no idea what I meant by what I was saying but I believed the voice and I placed my trust in Him. I knew without a doubt that He would show me the way. One day, before I moved back in with my family, I was sitting on my couch and opened the Holy Bible and I feel like God gave me the scripture located in Isaiah 43:1-13.
He called me by name and I am His, He had redeemed me and He has walked with me through the waters of my floods and I was not swept away, and the fires in my life and I was not burned. He has done these things because He loves me. God saved my life that day and since he has saved my family. My entire family now serves in our local church and they all love Jesus. Here is the secret, He loves you too and He will do the same for you because He has called you by name and you are His. Praise God.
Word Count: 1685