Zak - lured into it? Wrong. God found me, not the other way around. I was doing everything I could to be myself and fight through life on my own. Finally I realized I had to acknowledge the presence of God in my life.
Here's another story that's reaffirmed my faith (LONG):
(This is not a car accident story)
I was driving down a road I traveled very often at the time, when the cars ahead of me stopped short. Then the two cars ahead of me drove out and around something, and when I came to that place there was a man struggling to his feet, dragging his bicycle up on to the curb.
I decided to stop and check on him. I pulled my car into a commercial driveway a few yards away and parked it at the locked gate, leaving it there with the hazard lights flashing. I walked back to the guy and found him sitting on the tree lawn with his bicycle beside him. Traffic was moving again and nobody else had stopped.
"Hey, what happened?"
"I fell off my bike."
"Did you get hit?"
"Are you okay?"
"Do I look okay?"
By this time I was kneeling next to the guy, looking into his red, watery eyes. He smelled of alcohol.
"Do you want me to call an ambulance?"
"No. I'm drunk. I don't want to go to the hospital."
"Then I'm going to sit with you until you can get up, okay?"
Why am I doing this?
We sat there for a few minutes, and I kept talking to him, trying to double check whether there was anything else wrong aside from him being drunk.
"You know, I was trying to get to the bar over there."
"The bar over there." He pointed a half-block farther down the road. "I just got out of the hospital... and I'm already drunk again."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"I couldn't even make it from my apartment." He pointed an equal distance the other way, to a small apartment complex. "I'm so stupid."
What am I supposed to say to that?
"We all make mistakes."
"I miss my kids. My wife has them. She kicked me out."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"I was going to clean up and I'm so stupid... I'm drunk again."
"Well, now you know you have to stop drinking. For real."
Do you really want me to do this?
"Well, if you trust in God, you can do it."
The man looked at me with the most pained expression, and as he spoke, I knew it was his heart, his soul, speaking, not the alcohol, because I could see it shining through his strikingly beautiful pale, blue eyes. "Will you tell me about God?"
I felt numb. Here I was, sitting with a guy I didn't know, on a main road with cars passing by, in front of someone's house, with my car parked just far enough away... but I wasn't scared. I felt like there was a reason I was trusting this unfamiliar drunk guy not to attack me.
"Well, I know that if you trust God, He will help you stop drinking. I know He can help you get back together with your wife and kids if you admit you have a problem and you make a change in your heart."
"You really think God will help me?"
"I'm sure He will."
Sirens interrupted our conversation, and an ambulance pulled up. That's when I realized that the family who owned the house behind us was sitting on their porch, staring at me and this guy. The paramedics came out.
"What's your name, buddy?"
"David." [name changed]
He pulled out his wallet and they looked at his ID
"Hey, David, what happened?"
"Are you okay?"
"Well, the people who called us said they thought you were hurt."
David suddenly started shaking violently, and I thought he was having a seizure. One of the paramedics got behind him and eased him to the ground. "I don't think David's okay."
And just like that, David came around and sat up again. "I don't want to go to the hospital."
"David, I think you should go. You don't look so good."
"No. I just need to go home."
The one paramedic shrugged his shoulders. "We can't make you go, but I'm really worried about you."
David looked at me, and I felt that strange numbness again.
God, I'm really going out on a limb here... Help me walk in faith...
"I'll walk home with him. He lives right down there." I pointed to the apartments.
We helped David to his feet and as I started walking him and his bike, the one paramedic whispered in my ear, "We'll stay and watch you."
The paramedics left in the ambulance, but they simply drove around the block and parked in another driveway behind where David and I walked. I was glad that they were watching.
As David and I walked, we kept talking. I held his arm with one hand and steered his bike with the other.
"David, I know that you want to stop drinking. I can see that in your heart. You can do this, for yourself and for your family."
"I don't know. I'm drunk now."
"You have to trust that God will help you. Rehab hasn't helped, maybe because you weren't ready. But I know you are now."
"How do you know God will help me?"
Help me, Lord.
"Well, I think he put me here for a reason... I don't know why I stopped, David, but I know that we're talking about some important stuff, and I don't even know you. I think God put me here, and not just for what I'm saying, but for what you need to hear."
"I want to believe. I want to believe God loves me."
"You can do it, David."
We got to the entrance to the apartment complex, and as we turned into the parking lot, the paramedics drove by and waved.
There was a picnic bench just outside David's building.
"David, would you like to pray before you go inside?"
"Good. Let's sit here."
So we did.
"David, I know that this can really mean something even though you're drunk. God knows what's in your heart even when you're messed up. If you really mean what you pray, I know God will honor it."
David was crying now.
We prayed. We prayed for him, for his family, for his wife, and for forgiveness for the drinking. We prayed that he would be healed from the inside out and that he would give control over his alcoholism to God. We thanked God that David hadn't been hit by a car, and that he hadn't gotten injured in his fall.
After we prayed, I helped David lock up his bicycle, then walked him up the stairs in his building to his apartment door. I gave him the phone number to my church and told him he could find me there on the next Sunday.
I never saw David again, but I kept praying for him for a long time. Eventually the burden lifted and I felt that David was best left totally in God's hands... that my prayers were enough.
Well... A few years later, long after I had stopped thinking about David on a regular basis, we bought a new service at work. They sent a representative to demonstrate, and as I went to train with my colleagues, the rep greeted us. At first, when I walked in, it was "any ordinary guy" professionally dressed in a cleanly pressed white shirt and gray pants with a conservative tie. But when he turned to greet me, I saw the most strikingly beautiful blue eyes. And David showed us photos of his two children which he used as examples to demonstrate the features of our new service.
To this day I don't know if David recognized me. He had probably been in a blackout at the time. But I knew it was him -- his eyes, his children -- and I thanked God that he was healed. I cried for a long time after I went home that day.
When I think of this miracle, I pray that should I ever fall into a place like David was in, that God will redeem me as well.