WHEN MARRIAGE LOOKS HOPELESS
Jesus Did It!
By: Dave Greathouse
To watch a shorter version of Dave's testimony: YouTube
If you would like to watch this full-length testimony on video, you can click on the following link: Vimeo
Having difficulty in your marriage?
The following testimony may just be the catalyst God uses to help you trust Him for a "miracle" in your difficult marriage. We encourage you to read it.
As a young boy growing up in the streets of Chicago, my heroes were drug dealers, pimps and robbers who drove long, shiny Cadillac's and made life look like a grand dream. I grew up like the rest of my friends, thinking that my neighborhood was typical America.
Around the age of 13, my friends introduced me to alcohol and marijuana. Everyone did it, so I saw little harm in doing it myself. Around the age of 17, one of my friends talked me into selling heroin. But before selling it, I tried it first, and I liked it so much that I decided that I wanted it all for myself.
At the age of 18, thinking that I knew everything there was to know about life, I married Laura, and we started a family. By the time I was 21, I was solidly hooked on heroin. My wife, trying to be liked and accepted, also started taking narcotics with me. I always seemed to be able to get a good job, so money was no problem in the beginning. We drove nice cars, wore nice clothes and jewelry, listened to nice music, and weekends were one grand party.
One day I came home to a shocking surprise, however. My wife said, "Honey, I don't want to get high with you tonight. I met a man today, and His name is Jesus. I don't need that stuff anymore."
My reaction was, "Praise God!" My reason being, our drug habit was getting to become very expensive, so now I could have all of her drugs too!
Going back a little -- when I was a child of about eight, my parents sent me to Sunday School a few times. Most of the time I would fall asleep or daydream, but there was one thing that stuck with me over the years. It was the scripture verse of John 3:16. Years later, I would often find myself in what is known as "shooting galleries." If you can imagine eight or ten adults all jammed into a tiny little bathroom with everyone standing around with syringes dangling out of their arms, shooting drugs, blood dripping everywhere, and suddenly out of nowhere I would hear John 3:l6:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And I thought, I must be crazy!
When I saw my wife, I'd say, "You're still praying, aren't you?! You're the one making me hear stuff all the time, with all your praying and stuff, aren't you? Now stop it!"
Things got worse. I got to the place where I couldn't hold a job anymore. And I continued to get more miserable.
This went on for a number of years. I couldn't keep an apartment, because I wouldn't pay any bills. We had 28 apartments in 15 years. As a family of five, I'd stay at one place until the landlord would tell me we'd have to go. We'd get evicted, and move on to somewhere else, only to repeat the cycle. I manipulated, conned, lied, and robbed people. I did whatever I could to feed this monster that continued to grow inside me.
"I can't control this thing. It controls ME."
At certain times I'd tell my wife, "I don't know why I'm this way. I can't control this thing. It controls me." And my wife would say with a smile, "Baby - Jesus can do something for you."
When she'd say that, a little voice inside my head would say, "That's a lie, because you've gone too far!" Oh yeah, I'd hear it loud and clear. "Maybe somebody else, but not you, Dave. She stopped in time years ago, but you didn't. And now you're past the point of no return."
So I turned to stealing more often, which sent me to jail more often. I got to the point where I'd wake up and my body would be screaming for drugs. I'd be vomiting, my body convulsing, and it would scream out, "Get up and feed me! Get out there and buy some dope!"
That went on for 14 years. I saw 66 of my close friends die violent deaths over that time, all drug related.
In 1979 we moved into a new apartment, and my wife began to do something she had never done before. She began placing 3"x5" index cards with scripture all over the apartment. I'd come home at 3 AM full of drugs, stick the key in the door, and the first thing I'd see was scripture! (Funny thing - she told me years later it was not there for my benefit, but hers. It was everywhere for her to see so she could stay encouraged and strengthened). I was bringing so much turbulence and darkness into that apartment that she needed some reminders of God's promises to stay strong in her walk with Him. The reason being, our marriage had turned not only into constant verbal abuse, but now physical as well. I blamed my wife and children for all my failures. I blamed her for not motivating me to be something, and yet I had my way of being what I really wanted to be . . . a drug addict.
I thank God for His grace and mercy and strength He put in my wife to stand up under the abuse that I brought home. For had it been the other way around, I don't think I could have taken it.
Well-meaning Christians encouraged my wife to divorce me for her sake as well as the kids'. They told her she had every ground to do so. But there were some older women in her church -- some elderly saints of God who would say, "Hold on! We're praying and believing God is going to set that man free! We're trusting God!" And they would get together and fast and pray regularly, and every evangelist and every TV minister that she had respect for, she gave them my name and asked them to pray for me. What I didn't know was that through her persistence, there were people praying for me all over the world. And that was what was keeping me from self-destruction. It wasn't because I was slick or sharp or lived a charmed life. It was the prayers of God's people keeping evil from taking me to hell. That's why I'm alive today.
So I'd go into that apartment, and all over the stove and refrigerator there would be those little cards. "Thus saith the Lord ..." and I'd pass my son's bedroom on the way to mine -- his light would be on; I'd open the door just to check in on him, and there he would be sleeping with his glasses on, with his Bible laying across his chest, and I'd say to myself, "Oh . . . he's going to be a wimp when he grows up. My wife just drags these kids to church and he'll never really know the fun of life."
In the bathroom, there was one particular scripture verse that always struck my curiosity. It was Isaiah 55:2 "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." I'd come home from hustling, scrounging, risking my life, scraping, lying and stealing to get money to buy drugs, and I'd be sitting there on the toilet, thinking what that scripture could possibly mean. I mean, I'd have to shoot up a bunch of dope just to feel normal. Then I'd have to go out to get more drugs to get high again. I'd spend $100 - $200 and not even feel normal. And then I'd look at that verse and it would scream at me off the wall: "Wherefore did you spend money for that which is not bread?!"
No - I didn't buy bread. I didn't buy groceries. But I'd be furious if I came home and there was no food to eat in the house.
In 1982, on a Friday night, I was with a friend who happened to be a drug dealer. I left him that night, and very early that next morning I went back down to his house to buy some drugs. There were some people outside his apartment, and they asked, "Have you heard?"
"Your friend is dead. Someone shot him 17 times with a .357 Magnum."
When I got to where his body lay, I heard the Lord speak to me, quoting Proverbs 27:11 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." And I heard the Lord also say just as clearly, "If you would have known that last night was your friend's last night on earth, do you think he would have wasted his time on YOU, or would he have been somewhere preparing himself to meet ME today?"
And I said, "Oh God ... some of his friends are some of my friends. That means I've got a "friend" running around here killing people like this?!" Great fear came upon me, but it didn't take long for me to suppress it. A couple shots of dope and I was back in control.
Somewhere around this time my wife had a visitation in her church from a group called Teen Challenge. She had been trying her best to tell me that I needed to go to Teen Challenge. She had called up to a place in Muskegon, Michigan, and an appointment was made for me to go there.
The devil was fighting HARD!
But thoughts inside were telling me, "You're not a teenager. You're 33 years old. You don't need no Teen Challenge. Your wife didn't go to Teen Challenge to get right with God. You can stay right here and get right with God." Those were my thoughts, although I didn't recognize them as the devil doing my thinking for me - not then anyway.
A week later, after the killing of my friend, I had almost convinced myself that I didn't need to go to Teen Challenge. I was on vacation from my job, and it was a very hot Friday. It was July 9, 1982. I was in my apartment getting high, and I went out to get some more drugs. While I was gone Laura came home from work and started cleaning up. But in the process she threw my drugs in the garbage by accident. Then the phone rang, and she got to talking, and I came back and went looking for my drugs but I couldn't find them.
I exploded! I took the kitchen garbage and dumped it all over the floor. I was cursing, ranting and raving, and I told my wife, "You're going to get down there and find every grain of it!"
She said, "I just got paid so you can take my check, but please don't be like this."
"I don't want your money, woman! I've got money!" I screamed at her. I stormed out of the house that afternoon, and went off with some of my drug-addict friends and took my paycheck and partied. I shot as much dope and drank as much alcohol as I could. About 3:30 that next morning we were still in the streets partying.
Now the way things were set up -- I was supposed to be on a bus on my way to Western Michigan Teen Challenge in Muskegon at 6:30 AM that morning. But I had no intention of going.
Listen now - this had to be God. I was on the corner with my drug buddies and a narcotics cop pulled up beside us and grabbed everyone but me! He turned his back on me, and I thought to myself, I think I'd better leave. There was no place else to go at that hour of the morning, so I went home . . . dazed as to why the police didn't take me with the others.
I went home and went to bed. I didn't set the alarm; I had no intentions of getting up. I'd just say later that morning that I had overslept.
At 6 AM I woke up, sober as the day I was born. I couldn't believe it! I was sitting on the edge of the bed and I was thinking . . . and all of a sudden it was like the Lord turned a camera on in my mind. I was standing outside myself, and I was viewing everything that was taking place in our apartment the day before. "Look at the faces of your family. These are the ones you go around lying about, telling how much you love your family."
I'm standing outside myself, watching myself screaming and ranting and raving and cursing, jumping up and down - my face looked demonic and hideous, and they were in mortal terror.
At that moment a dam burst. Something inside me broke. And I cried out, "Oh God, I'm a sinner. I need help! And I don't know what to do, Lord. I don't know what to do."
Where I come from, men don't cry. Not a real man. You're a sissy if you cry.
So you hide your feelings. But that moment I didn't hide my emotions. The water broke, and I wept and wept. Then I said, "Oh God, if you can do for me what they keep telling me you can do, then please Lord, help me."
Then I jumped off the bed. I thought about this Teen Challenge program. "Whatever I can do to give myself a chance, Lord, I want to do it."
I grabbed a suitcase, stuck a few clothes in it, and as I walked out the door of the apartment that morning, knowing everyone was awake by then -- nobody came to me and said, "Goodbye, Daddy. Goodbye, husband. We love you, and we hope God will help you."
I stood at the head of the stairs when I got outside the apartment, and I said, "Oh God -- do they hate me that much that they're just waiting for me to leave?"
I've never been so devastated. The truth of what I was had never come home to me so clearly as July 10, 1982 in the morning, standing in the hallway all by myself.
I got on the bus, sat in the front seat right by the door, and I cried without shame for six hours solid from Chicago to Muskegon, Michigan. When I got off the bus in Muskegon, two men from Teen Challenge were there to meet me. One of them said, "Brother, you're a mess, but we know somebody who takes messes and straightens them up. You need Jesus."
By the time we got to the center, all my pride was broken. We got in the office and they said, "Come on, brother, we need to pray." The three of us got down on our knees, and I began to cry out to God to save me. "Take this monster from me! I want to live and not die!"
The following Thursday, I woke up at 6 AM. I was in a dormitory with about 14 men, and I sat straight up in bed and yelled, "Praise God!"
Naturally it woke everyone up, and they said, "Brother, what's wrong with you, waking us up so early?"
And I exclaimed, "You know what? This thing is real! I've been here five whole days and I haven't shot dope! I haven't had a drink! I haven't had a cigarette! And you know something better than that?! I don't want it! I don't want it!"
Everybody began to praise and shout with me. And that's just the beginning of the story!
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - that's all you are asked to do. God will reward you! (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... especially young people). Thank you so much!
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JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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Let God Use Your Salvation Testimony!
There is one vitally important key in seeing someone you love get delivered from an addiction and/or come to the Lord, and that is to unite with like believers and lift that person up regularly in prayer, as Laura did on behalf of Dave. However long it takes ... KEEP praying!
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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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