By Ron Wood / guest columnist
The Meridian Star
This one liner recently caught my eye: “Psychiatrists say that 1 of 4 people is mentally ill.
Check three friends. If they're OK........you're it.”
A friend just sent me this text: “I make my own storms; then I complain when it rains.” So I sent this back: “I dig my own hole and get mad when I can’t climb out.” He’s full of wry witticisms. And he has little patience for fools. That’s Dick.
The friend that exchanged those texts with me is special man whom I first met while my wife and family were establishing a new church in Morgantown, WV.
When Dick appeared at my door, he filled up the whole doorframe. He had giant arms like a football tackle, a massive head like a bowling ball, and a broad body like a barroom bouncer. And that is what he was. Later I learned more: he was not only a bouncer at night clubs, but also a debt collector for a certain crime syndicate - the kind you don’t want to anger. He’d also been a long-haul truck driver and was still an expert motor bike mechanic and champion racer. And he had scars: a bullet wound in his leg; metal rods in his back; knife stitches, etc.
“I was given your name and was told you could help me,” he said.
“What do you need?” I asked.
“I can’t get God off my mind. I don’t know what to do.”
So being the friend to sinners that I am, I invited him to come sit on my back porch where we could talk. Meanwhile I silently prayed that he was telling the truth and wasn’t secretly coming to collect some bill I’d forgotten about!
He seemed sincere. So I asked, “Do you go to church?” “Never saw the need for it,” He answered bluntly. His honesty was refreshing. “Why do you think you need God?” He replied, “I have blasphemous thoughts running through my mind all the time.”
Ooh, I thought, this is more serious than just a sinner feeling guilty. He’s got some “folks” tagging along, some spirits from the dark side. This could get interesting. Well, I’ll just leave that up to God, I said to myself.
“Okay Dick. Your problem is that you’re separated from God by sin and you need a way out. The only way to God and to freedom is the way Jesus gave us by sacrificing Himself on the cross. So let me get my Bible and show you some Scriptures that will help you…”
I took an hour explaining the way of salvation. After I knew he understood it and truly wanted it, I led him in a prayer to repent and to receive Christ. About an hour later, we met at a swimming pool at a nearby apartment complex and invited the onlookers to witness a new believer committing himself to the Lord in water baptism.
Later, Dick called me to say that the blasphemous words had gone away and instead he was singing and praising God with new words that God had given him! Today Dick is one of the finest street witnesses I know. You can’t con him and you can’t intimidate him. He studies the Bible, feeds the hungry, reads prodigiously, and still wins bike races.
I won a lost soul to God and also gained a great, albeit unique, personal friend. Which makes me think of another funny line that reminds me of Dick: “It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”
I’ll tell that to Dick next time we talk.
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God, located on Chandler Road at State Blvd in north Meridian.
Website: www.trinitymeridian.com. Phone: 601-483-8189.