As a first time writer, especially when in words of non fiction, I find myself assuming an even greater measure of accountability in their structure. In one form or another, the truths, convictions and beauty found within this powerful testimony, will only be measured by the extent of its appreciated influence and impact upon the lives that it deeply touches. In being able to capture and express the experiences of my life in a novel, I’ve come to understand and accept an undeniable reality. I have truly been given a gift, which in all of its own definitions, was not of this world.
The writing of this book, in and of itself, has been a very painful experience! As clearly seen from its very conception. Not a day has really gone by, where I have not found myself wrestling with an unknown force, which in some way was seeking its failure and my very destruction. I now consider these writings to be an invaluable source of insightfulness, within an extraordinary journey of self discovery and spiritual awakening, such as I have never imagined, or even thought possible. As I now near its completion, having put all the pieces together, I will once again enter the publishing arena.
My life has unquestionably played itself out within God’s molding process in three different stages, which are clearly portrayed in periods of testing, brokenness and divine transformations. No Obstacle Too Great, as it was first written by me in the year 2001, was in fact, but the tip of the iceberg. It outlined the first forty years of my life, which to a great extent found its very existence within the pits of hell.
Make no mistake about it, there is nothing glamorous about the first part of this story, and I make no excuses. “No Obstacle Too Great” invites you on a riveting roller coaster ride, as it is a journey through a life that has been nothing short of a shattered and tormented existence. However, it’s truly what lies beyond the first part of this book which gives God’s majestic grace its breathfulness, as it’s there that you will witness how my life began its transformational journey, from the unimaginable to the extraordinary.
Many today are so eager to argue over the bible’s validity, yet themselves have never read it, and sadly as a result, their hearts continue to remain as cold as that iceberg that sank the Titanic. As tough as it may be to believe in the unseen or unknown, I challenge anyone who harbors a doubt, as to the existence of God, to read this book, as it will definitely unshackle your indifference. You can go to ten different churches, and listen to a hundred different messages, yet nothing seems to pierce your hardened unbelief. If you need to experience a modern day parting of the Red Sea, believe me, it’s within the pages of this book, that you will actually find yourself walking through it.
If there was anything I actually ever believed in with a strong conviction, it was “bad luck”, as I’ve definitely had my share of it. However, if you’re looking for that miracle in your life, what you’ll discover within the pages of this book may change its direction forever, which would be my greatest reward. The testimonies within my own night and day differences, should in themselves be enough to convince anyone that, if you’re truly sincere, there is a way out and its all about Jesus.
Believe me, at fifty-three years of age, five years ago, you could have never convinced me! The bible was just another book to me, and the reality of God, was the fantasy of a colourful imagination, now they are my sustaining lifelines. Rest assured, I will never forget the crippling impossibilities of my life, nor of God’s divine intervention within it. Only His anointed touch could have brought deliverance and healing, to a life that had literally been drenched in human suffering.
There was absolutely nothing within the shipwreck of my life, to suggest my ever being a man of great insight, or that I was destined for anything other than continued misery, within a long list of life’s endless hardships. I have faced many obstacles throughout my life, and none of it really mattered! As it begins to unfold itself within the pages of this book, you’ll clearly begin to understand why!
I truly felt as though I had been deserted in the middle of a raging sea, left all alone to defend myself within its cold unknown darkness. With a terrifying ferociousness, each year of my life, seemed to bring its own thundering wave of suffocating trials, which threatened to swallow me in its darkest depth. Somehow with an unexplainable willpower, I managed to always keep my head above water.
In unravelling the pieces of the puzzle, it has never been my intention of laying the burden of blame at anyone’s feet. Rather my primary objective was in exposing a very real enemy that we all share, which unquestionably fuels itself, by its hatred towards us. No matter what you may think, there really is an invisible spiritual battle being fought in the world today, which in all appearances is speeding towards its final climax. Yet, so many within their hardened unbelief fail to acknowledge, or even recognize its very existence.
Turn on any radio or television and you’ll hear about once beautiful cities, from around the globe that are now blanketed in total wickedness and moral corruption. Whole nations are full of poverty, sickness and suffering. Every week, disaster upon disaster is hammering away at humanity, where it seems that a hope beyond hope itself is needed.
There is a presence of darkness all around us, and it’s very real. In its simplest form it is the wickedness of Satan, as described in the opening chapters of the bible. Once this darkness enters your life, it becomes like an inescapable electric current. Don’t ever fool yourself; it has taken many of us to unimaginable limits of desperation, where we have in a very real way entered the gates of hell itself. Once there, helplessness, addictions, madness and suicide become a frightening reality.
Within my own interpretations surrounding the delicate issues of parental abandonment. I have struggled long and hard, dissecting it from all possible angles. Hoping that I might somehow be able to remove the sting of unintentional viciousness from my words. On the surface, they would appear to be very resentful and harsh in nature. Yet, any opposing argument in itself, would prove to be an exercise in futility, as by their own actions, my parents stand convicted.
From birth I was embraced within a constant air of instability, which bordered on a very thin line between parental abandonment and neglect, and believe me; it existed long before I ever entered the picture. Many would rather argue the validity of this piercing statement, than journey deep within their own lives, to those often painful memories, which in themselves expose so many undeniable truths.
Anyone desiring children should first be made aware of not only the commitment necessary, but as well the responsibility surrounding such an obligation. Sadly, for the most part, all we represented was an appearance of assumed respectability. As far back as I can remember there simply never existed any solid stability, direction or control within our family structure. Correct me if I’m wrong. These governing factors could in fact be considered to be the backbone, in building a solid family foundation. Without there being any grounded stability, there cannot be any influential direction, and without the influential impact of direction, you lose the authority of control.
Unfortunately, any child growing up under these circumstances would certainly develop insecurities deep within their personalities, allowing for the beginning stages of dysfunctional behavioural patterns to form within their life. I could be wrong in everything said in this regard, if I was the only “black sheep” of the family. However, my three brothers have had their fair share of similar hardships.
It’s not often that you’ll see me with a tear in my eye, as I don’t cry over much. Although anytime in the church today, I witness the devastation caused by the direct neglect of abandonment, upon the innocence of unsuspecting children, I hang my head, as I openly weep.
The first fifteen years of my life, resembled more of a traveling circus, than it did a family, as we extensively travelled around the world, moving from city to city, across countries and between continents. On the surface, this to most would have appeared to be a treasured memory, when in reality; it was nothing more than a clouded smokescreen! It set the stage to a life full of imbalanced instability and the saddest part was, nobody really cared. I was brought up in a world of calculated manipulations, surrounded by cold deception. However, it was exactly the atmosphere I needed to survive the next stage of my life.
At sixteen, I began my thirty-two year battle with chronic alcoholism and embarked on a life of crime, prison survival, and violence that spanned the next twenty-five years. Fourteen of those years were spent within various prisons across Canada. Given such a lifestyle, it was only a matter of time and at twenty-nine years of age; I became a narcotic drug addict as well, battling that addiction for twelve years. If such a life wasn’t enough to drive you to the brink of insanity, fasten your seat belt, as before it could ever change its destructive course, it first had to get worse.
In January of 1995, as a result of my addictions and unpredictable lifestyle of sharing needles, I was officially diagnosed with the devastating and incurable HIV infection, and told that my life expectancy would be very short-lived. Two years later, I’m told for the first time, that my illness was progressing into its final stages and that I was in the process of slowly dying.
Throughout all the brutal beatings my life had taken up to this point, by my own indifference, I had never given them a second thought. However, if there ever were a time, that life in itself had literally lost all it’s meaning, where I seriously considered suicide as my only option, it was undeniably in that very moment. It clearly never was a question of turning my life around, as the idea in itself sounded almost comical; rather in light of everything, it was only a matter of where and how it would end, as I definitely needed a hope beyond hope itself.
The often harsh realities surrounding crippling addictions, or the inescapable suffering caused by a devastating and incurable illness, could tragically be summed up as follows. When facing insurmountable obstacles without the reality of God in our lives, it’s easy to reach a breaking point, where everything in our daily existence becomes as meaningless and as scattered, as leaves in the wind. It’s in moments such as these, that we have basically given up all hope of anything positive within our lives, and in essence boarded that speeding train, headed towards its final destination.
For some it could be a longer ride, within many twists and turns, while for others the cement wall is over the next hill, or just beyond the curve up ahead. I have been on this train for most of my life and have seen the cement wall approaching many times, as you’ll read throughout this story. Yet, within a cold indifference I refused to jump, as I welcomed a collision that never came.
In that chilling moment, so many years ago, even if I had somehow wanted to believe in the existence of God. Would it have really been enough within a life of continual defeat, to ward off the spears of discouragement that daily hammered away at me, as if fired from a machine gun? Tell me, when you’re about to go under for the last time, how was it possible to cling to an unknown faith? It has only been through many years of painful reflection that I now understand one thing with a clearer appreciation. Something far greater than anything I’ve ever known or experienced, not only kept me afloat, but instilled within me a persistent and determined desire, to rise above anything this world had to offer.
When you see nothing but darkness and emptiness in front of you, and the world around you has taken that last glimmer of hope from you, where it seems as though you’re out of options. Please don’t give up! Call upon the mighty name of Jesus and ask for His healing touch and you won’t have to worry about jumping from the train, believe me, in that moment of unrecognized faith; He will enter your life and stop the train. As with anything in life, there is a price to pay and the question you need to answer is; are you willing to go the distance?
When God steps in with that amazing glue He calls grace, all the once broken shattered pieces of your life, will begin the process of being put back together to heights greater than their original state! Changes will happen, but don’t expect them to be overnight, or without sweat. Some of my toughest battles were fought while in the midst of God’s miraculous transformations.
No Obstacle Too Great, on its own merits is a book powerful enough to touch the hardest of hearts. It will encourage those of no faith to re-examine their own lives, from a different perspective. My life has never had an encouraging expression or purpose to it. However, once you start moving in that direction, towards the fullness of Christ, you must first begin that often painful journey of separation from things of the world.
As all self sufficiency and pride is being removeded from your life, you’ll begin to notice a welcomed silence. It’s then that God’s holy spirit can gain an unobstructed entrance and give our lives its intended influential expression and purposeful impact. As you’ll discover, my life really changed in a twinkling of an eye.
As the doctors’ words of an unimaginable death thundered within my head, I had already decided that my only hope of escape, would now be found within a drug overdose. In that moment, it was almost as if time had briefly stood still. I had actually found myself asking God for a miracle.To even make such a request was totally out of character for me, as I had never throughout my life embraced anything that would remotely resemble a faith or a belief. Truthfully speaking, I was not even sure if I was ever capable of doing this, as there never existed a hope that could have been extinguished.
I remember my feeble plea, as if it were yesterday. Big fella, if you’re up there, I could sure use a hand right about now. It did not in itself represent any expression of remorse or helplessness. It really did not have a spark of sincerity to it, nor was there anything within its simplistic ignorance, to suggest that God would even want to listen. As I softly mumbled the words, I knew my plea would go unanswered, as what I needed went far beyond a miracle.
Regardless of its nature, it did not matter to God. The essential condition within my plea was met. I had somehow in that fraction of a second, lost all confidence in myself and the world around me. I had stepped ever so briefly into another dimension that’s beyond the walls of this world, and asked for God’s help. Now from the depths of hell, would begin my greatest battles. No longer was it a battle over self indulgence and things of this world, it now became a battle of Principalities. As long as I was willing to surrender to God’s molding influence, He would reshape my life, beyond my wildest imaginations.
As to the appointment of a divine calling in someone’s life! I assure you, it is not a fabrication within a weakened mind. Throughout this memoir, I call your attention to one clear and very noticeable distinction to draw upon. It is one thing to be raised in a belief of God and to walk within the principles of a Christian faith. However, it is quite another thing altogether, to be plucked from the unimaginable depths of darkness, to become the miraculous.
The undeniable signs and wonders, which clearly unfold themselves within the uniqueness of my conversion, speak volumes of a predetermined calling for deliverance. Sometimes, depending on the hardness of our hearts! We may need a succession of thundering night and day differences, within the storms of our lives, as God patiently tries to get our attention.
Eventually, as the cobwebs of our tortured minds begin to clear, the curtain which separates this world from the spiritual one opens. It is then in an awed appreciation, that we begin to grasp the significance and responsibility of such a fearful appointment.
From that very moment, thirteen long years ago, the manifestations of divine intervention became clearly present in my life. I went from crippling impossibilities within paralyzing addictions, to the night and day differences of positive changes. Amidst it all I constantly walked within the shadows of death, where failure almost always appeared as a welcomed luxury, as I continually battled the hardship of the incurable HIV infection, which threatened to turn out my lights on three separate occasions.
Whether I was in search of this faith, or inadvertently running away from it. Ten years had to first pass by before I was to grasp the significance, and very reverence of divine intervention and the role it’s played within my life. Make no mistake about it, this supernatural, yet mystical force that in all its supremacy, as I’ve now come to fully understand and accept it, is God on the throne. He had never abandoned me, but instead embraced me in His merciful tenderness, and continued by His grace to transform a life that was all but lost.