I have had my share of problems during the course of my life. Perhaps I have had a few more than you, perhaps a few less. Over the years I have developed a number of strategies to deal with life’s difficulties. These include therapy, activity, and diversions, among other things. However, even the best coping mechanisms sometimes fail.
Though I pray about every aspect of my life, I have seen the most visible evidence of help during the times when I have been at my lowest. I will share with you a very personal example of how I feel prayer helped me at one of the absolute lowest points in my life.
It was fall of 2002, and I had lost my job the previous year, spent an unproductive stretch in a mental hospital, had my house foreclosed, and was living in my car. I had left my wife and kids, as my mental problems and loss of income made me feel as though I was ruining my wife’s life.
I spent my days donating my blood plasma to eke out enough money to buy a value meal at a fast food restaurant once a day and for gas for my car. I was seeing a girl that I had no business being with, and I had a bankruptcy hearing scheduled for later that year.
I fully expected my wife to hate my guts, and she would have had every right to do so. I phoned her from a pay phone expecting her to tell me what a low-life piece of crap I was. Instead, something stunning happened. My wife told me that she didn’t hate me and that she never would. She understood that I was very sick and told me that she would keep her cell phone with her day and night in case I ever called needing help.
I hung up the phone completely shocked. I felt I had caused my wife so much pain and misery that she would simply have to hate me. Instead, she loved me and felt bad for me. That night I prayed to God for mercy. I knew my life was in shambles, but I begged God to help me.
The following morning I was awakened by a police officer who wondered why I was in a parking lot sleeping in my car. I explained to him that I had nowhere to live and that I probably deserved worse. He felt sorry for me and even offered to give me some money. I refused it, but I felt something deep within me change.
I knew I was pathetic, but I decided to go to church that day. After the service I spoke with the minister and told him my sorry story. He too was impressed at my wife’s devotion and urged me to call her and beg for her forgiveness. We prayed together, and I called my wife.
She drove out to where I was and accompanied me to the hospital. It was a horrible day, but it was the beginning of God pulling me out of a life that was a crumbling around me. He worked in my heart and the heart of my wife to bring us back together when all seemed lost. He has never failed me.