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God redeems! I have not been a Christian all of my life, and after living 29 years without Jesus, I would never turn back to empty, dark, and selfish living for what I have now in Jesus!

In my faith, I can relate to Thomas in the Bible: a person who needs evidence to see and believe, and then once I do, I am in the race focused on the finish line! God knows how each one of us thinks and learns. There have been many points where I saw God and heard from Him, some quiet whispers, others some much-needed corrections. Through these difficult situations, I have seen miracles, God proving to me who He is and how much He loves me.

My first whisper from God was on March 18, 1994, when my close friend gave me a

Bible for being the best man in his wedding. I will never forget reading the first words,

“In the beginning…” As I continued reading the Bible, I thought, “Is this possible, is this

real? How haven’t I heard about this?” Not growing up in church, I had no clue. This

brought me to the beginning of my relationship with “Abba,” my Heavenly Father. When I was 29-years-old, I went up for an altar call and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. The person next to me looked at me and asked if I knew what I just did, and I said no. I had no clue but knew deep inside me that this was what I needed and wanted, and now I had entered the race! I was baptized in my swimming pool in June 2001. The next morning as I drank my coffee, I looked at the pool and saw 15,000 gallons of water so filthy you could not see your hand in it. Instantly I wept to see what God did and is still doing in me.

When my marriage of 10 years ended in divorce, it tore at a piece of my soul. I held

tightly to God and my sons. One night while driving with my sons and listening to Focus on the Family on the radio, my son said, “I doubt if God is real.” We prayed for a sign and immediately we saw one, two, three bright lights in the sky, like stars but much lower. We praised God, and my sons and I never forgot that moment.

I healed from that divorce and moved forward to my second marriage. However, soul-

searching and many tearful days and nights lead to another divorce. I did everything I

could to heal the marriage, but it became clear to me that it was not going to work. This divorce was a very difficult time for me. I had many dreams of being pulled and

attacked by demons; they couldn’t quite get me, but I could feel them clawing at me. I

lost partial custody of my sons. My family abandoned me and asked me to move out of

the home I lived in on our family farm. At the same time, I also lost my job. I felt like a

failure and a fool.

I remember falling to the ground in an alfalfa field crying out to God, not knowing what I should do. He said, “Trust me. I will see you through it.” I thought, “How?” but then

rebuked that thought and said, “OK, God, you got this!” While I once had security in my

income, family, and a home, now I had nothing. God was trying to teach me that He is all I need and to trust only in Him. Ah, the nail holes again.

During this mess, I was at midweek Bible study at Stone, stressed beyond belief. Pastor Jeff walked up to me and said, “John, what can I do for you and how can we help you?” I wept inside and out, not knowing how to answer. To me, Stone Church has reflected God like no other church I have been at before. Godly men of the church worked alongside me and sought God’s truth for what was happening in my current situation.

I reached a point just after this second divorce where I was financially broke and needed to make a substantial tax payment. I sold everything I owned and still came up short. Three days away from needing to make the payment, I was sick to my stomach not knowing how I would pay it, so I made several prayer requests at Stone. My accountant sent me an email saying there was no payment necessary and that I actually would receive a refund for about double what I owed!

In church alone one Sunday, I heard my son's voice call out, “Dad.” No one was around

me. After that, God brought both my sons back into my life again! My sons now spend

more time with me, and one actually works with me. Also, I spend a lot of time with my

parents now. I have a better relationship with my father than I ever did before. I have a

house and started my own construction business. I enjoy every moment as I see God’s

redemption and promises in everything I do.

God redeems and restores! Surround yourself with people who speak life and Truth in

your situation. Never give up on God and His promises for you. I am not always patient,

but God has shown me His timing is perfect. It is hard to wait, but keep praying and ask others to pray with you.

I would never wish these trials upon anyone, but God used them to solidify my faith in

Jesus. Along with the trials came miracles many would say are impossible, but that is

my God! I no longer need to see the nail holes, for I have felt them in my life through

God’s love. And now, I ain’t backing off this race. My God has been at the finish line all

along, cheering me on even when I veered off track to the left or right.


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