15 years ago, Mark was going through such severe alcohol withdrawals he heard voices in his head telling him he would be doing everyone a favor if he went ahead and hung myself.
And he did. He was dead for six minutes before the paramedics shocked him back to life. He woke up saying, “I believe in God. I want to live.”
Mark had never believed in God. While he was dead, he says God spoke to him.
“It was the calmest voice I had ever heard speaking to me in the calmest place I had ever been. God said, ‘It’s okay. I am not done with you.’”
The medics took him to the hospital. Three days later he was released. A kind elderly lady took him to the Little Rock Compassion Center and told him he would be all right here. “Strangely, her last name was Hughes. My last name is Hughes. I have never met that lady since.” Mark still wonders if she was an angel.
Mark stayed at the Compassion Center for ten years. He was lead man in the kitchen, responsible for hundreds of thousands of meals in a year with the help of many volunteers and staff. When they needed supplies, they would pray, and God would deliver. One day, they needed onions. God delivered a semi-truckload of onions. Those were glorious days.
Then four years ago, Mark decided to do things on his own. He left the Compassion Center and eventually stopped going to church and AA meetings. He fell back into old habits of drinking and hanging around with the wrong crowd. He fell in with some of the cruelest people he had ever met. Sad to say they were church-going and claimed to be doing God’s work, but all they really wanted was the money they could take.
Mark saw how sin could destroy people. He also saw how sin could take him down if he did not stand in faith against it.
Then four months ago he was drunk and got into a major car accident. After two months in the hospital he was released and given a bus ticket. The bus drove for a while, then stopped outside the Compassion Center. For an unknown reason it stayed outside the Center without moving for 15 minutes. Mark sat there and finally resigned himself to God. “Okay, God,” he said, “I get the message.”
He walked in the front door. Pastor Holloway saw him and said, “I knew you would be back.”
Mark is closer to God now than he has ever been. Each morning when he wakes up, he gladly gives himself to serve Jesus. God is the joy of his life now more than ever. He knows he is where God wants him to be, and he is content with that.
“Our faithful God let me go down a bad road of my own choosing and taught me what I needed to know.” The best thing he learned was our God is faithful. He will not let go.