As a teenager I began to notice that girls found me attractive, but because of the view I had of myself was poor, I was way too shy to even talk to them. It didn’t help me that all my friends had girlfriends. They thought of me as being odd and a rumour was started that I was gay, which was far from the truth as I was obsessed with thoughts of girls and having a girlfriend. I just didn’t know how to approach one. I didn’t go out with my first girlfriend until I was 18. I began to get bolder and found it was easy for me to get a girls attention. I learned to meet them no matter where I was. At work, clubs, parties and etc… My problem was keeping them. When they found out that I was filled with insecurity the relationship would end. The security I was looking for was to be found somewhere else.
My grandmother, my mom’s mom lived with us as my brothers and I were growing up. She had a strong faith in God and was a prayer warrior. Every night I could hear crying out to God on our behalf. She was a stablizing force our lives. Besides taking out his anger on me, my dad, when he was drinking would come home and beat my mom. I would hide under my bed with my hands over my ears so I wouldn’t hear her screams. My mom was under tremendous pressure as there wasn’t much money to feed 5 boys of which I was the oldest. She also fought depression and many times she found herself on the verge of a nervous breakdown. So my grandmother, whom I called nanny, became island of peace in the middle of a storm for me. She would often talk to me about God’s love and His promises. Many nights when I was frightened I would crawl into her bed and she would pray for me and give me words of comfort. When I rebelled and turned to the world to try and fill the emptiness I was feeling, I pushed her away. I know now it was because of who she represented and it was from Him that I was running. But that never stopped her from praying for me and believing that I would find Christ as the answer.
When I was 20, I met a woman who was eight years older than me. She wash a cashier in the cafeteria of the company where I worked. There was a strong physical attraction between us and it wasn’t too long before we were going out with each other. Many times I found myself staying overnight at her apartment. One Sunday morning she asked me if I wanted to go to church. I said why not. So off we went. When I first gave my heart to Jesus at 8 years old, it was at a small little church called Verdun Pentecostal Church. pastored by Robert Johnson. I remembered him as being a kind man who would come and pray with my mom and grandmother when we were children and my dad was drinking. That small little church started a building fund and purchased some land in Lasalle on which to build a new Church. It was now called Trinity Pentecostal. It was to this church that she brought me that morning. This was to eventually become my church home for many years. Wouldn’t you know it, Pastor Johnson recognized me and even asked me how my family was. To top things off, my old Sunday school teacher recognized me as well. The relationship with that woman didn’t last much longer after that, but I continued going to the church for a while. At the same time I continued going out to clubs and partying. It wasn’t too long before I stopped going to church again. This time of my own accord.
It was at 24, that the Rheumatoid Arthritis attacked my body. For those of you who don’t know the severe type of pain that accompanies it feels like. Just imagine the pain from a abscess in your tooth shooting through your entire body. It is unbearable. At times I wished I had an axe in my hand, just to chop off my leg, as it hurt that much. I went to the Montreal General and they told me I was one very sick young man. They said that if I didn’t get the proper treatment I would wind up in a wheelchair or worse before I turned 30. They started me off with Gold salt injections and other medications and told me to take as many as 18 aspirin a day. They drained water off my left knee and injected it with cortisone. After a while the medications began to ease my pain, but the arthritis had done much damage to my body.
On New Year’s Eve 1980, I met a girl who didn’t seem to mind the limitations I had. We hit it off pretty good, but like all the relationships that I had before it failed as well. She called it quits the day before Valentine’s day 1981. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was devastated. To top it all off the pain of the arthritis had started intensify again. I lived in a small one and a half room apartment with no one to comfort me except a cat. My aunt called me the next morning and I poured out my heart to her. I told her I couldn’t go on anymore and wanted to die. I had no reason to live. She reminded me of the Love that Jesus had for me and prayed with me. She asked me to pray with her and ask Jesus afresh into my heart. Such a peace flooded me at that moment. I felt enveloped in God’s love as I had never felt before. It was Valentine’s Day and I had given my heart to Jesus. She then invited me to a healing service that was being held at Trinity later that week and I agreed to go. I remembered that I had my grandfather’s old Bible up in my closet and took it down to read. I went to the red words of Jesus and they just leapt of the pages into my heart. Everything became so clear and I understood more than ever before that He had always loved me and always been close even if I hadn’t felt Him there. My brother had left a record by Keith Green called "For Him Who Has Ears to Hear" at my house. It had been in my collection for at least a year. But that day I listened to it for the first time. I was sure that He was singing to me directly. I wept as I listened as each song spoke of exactly how I was feeling. I had never cried so much as I had that day, but my tears were tears of joy and love for my Saviour.
Later that week I went with my aunt to the healing service. The man speaking was Reverend Bill Prankard from Ottawa. After his message he callied people out to be healed. He asked if there was anyone that was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I put up my hand with a few others and he asked us to stand to our feet as God was going to touch us. I immediately got up and believed for my healing as he prayed. I wish I could tell you that I felt all tingly and that I was instantly healed from head to toe, but that wasn’t the case. God doesn’t always work like that. But over the next few days and weeks the arthritis and the effects of it left my hands, jaw and neck. The doctors said it was a real miracle. To see my hands today, you would have a lot of difficulty believing the arthritis started there. The one place God didn’t heal was my legs and at that time I couldn’t really understand why. That understanding would come later. My journey with the King was just beginning.
To be continued………..