Rocky Chambers' Story
Part I – Finding unhappiness
Ever since I can remember I was told I was smart, that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. And for the most part that was true. Throughout my school years I made good grades with little effort. And I tended to be the one who blew the curve on the exams. Not only was I capable academically, but also athletically.
By the time I was 29 I had accomplished most all of the goals I had really set for myself. I had the American dream. Good paying job with a major corporation, nice home, two cars, wife two kids, plenty of friends. Yet I was as unhappy as could be! For all of my success, and all of my ability, I could not find anything to make me happy. The grass always seemed greener elsewhere. Yet I knew this wasn't true.
Over the course of that year I tried to satisfy myself by indulging myself in whatever seemed available. That only made me feel more empty, more alone, more unhappy. There had been times in my life that I had sensed deep unhappiness, but this was more than all of that combined. I knew that indulging myself wasn't making me happy. Success hadn't made me happy. I couldn't find happiness, all I could find was unhappiness.
Part 2 – Hitting bottom
As I turned 30 I realized that there was no one else to blame for the problems I was having. My wife and I seemed to be two ships passing in the night. My career seemed to be in something of a tailspin. I found myself being confronted by problems I didn't know how to deal with. Both at home and at work. All of my success was falling apart, and I realized that the source of my problems seemed to originate a lot from my behavior.
One turning point came one day when my wife asked me why I swear like a sailor. I responded, "what the @#$!$ are you talking about?" She simply answered, "that". She was right and I knew it. I realized that every third word out of my mouth seemed to be vulgar. So I set my mind upon not talking that way any more. That also set me to thinking about other things I said, how I talked bad about things and people. So I set my mind to change that too! I felt as if maybe I was finally on to something. If I could get control of my mouth I could change my behavior and things would be better again.
The next six months were the hardest months of my life. My job was requiring me to spend and incredible amount of time at work. The project we were doing was going badly and all of us were feeling the strain of it. My family life was nearly non-existent. And to make it worse it seemed the harder I tried to change, the harder it was to change. I was in absolute misery. I felt like some drug addict who needed a fix to deal with the pain, but knew that would only make the pain worse.
Part 3 – Searching
What I did not know was that God was busy at work in my life. As we struggled to start-up the project they had moved me to help run the night crew. Despite the fact I had managed to piss a lot of people off, I was still respected for my ability to make things work. There were hours in the loneliness of the night that I would just sit at my computer and think about the things going on in my heart. I began to write them down. Solitude, solemn, melancholy, pensiveness, these things surrounded me as I began to search deep into my heart. For the first time since I was a teenager I began to examine my heart.
I could see that somehow over the course of the years it had become hard, and cold, selfish. Yet it seemed I could not find an answer. For the first time in my life I was confronted with the fact that here was something I couldn't put my mind to and do. I couldn't make myself happy. I could make my heart feel life! The deeper I dug the more empty and dead I felt.
I was searching for an answer and I didn't even know the question. I was lost. As my 31st birthday approached I was in my darkest hour.
Part 4 – The Cry for Help
I can't remember if it was just before, or just after my birthday. But I do remember that night. Actually for several nights I had been feeling a strange presence in my room as I would lay down to bed. With all I had been struggling with I'd been having a great deal of trouble sleeping. I remember one night as I lay there thinking about everything that a sort of fear came over me. It was if something incredibly powerful was just outside my window. I began thinking about God, and about how I wanted to change and couldn't. About how I couldn't seen to find happiness. About how all my searching had only brought me into an
even worse state. I felt dead. In fact, that's what I felt outside my window. It was as if death was out there. But it no longer mattered. I was ready to die. That thought settled into my heart. I knew it was true, I was more then ready to die. I was waiting to die!
A few nights later I felt that same presence. Only this time it seemed to be inside the room. It had come closer. I wasn't afraid anymore. I was ready to die, and if that's what was going to happen, well what would be the difference I was already like a dead man. I lay there and just sort of went blank for awhile. Then suddenly hot tears began to stream down my face and I began to pray. Something I couldn't ever remember doing. Although I guess I really didn't know it was a prayer. I was just letting out my hearts' cry. Silently I said, "God, you must be real, otherwise this life makes no sense. My life is a wreck and I'm the one wrecking it. Send someone to help me."
The most amazing sense of peace came over me. I quickly drifted off into the most peaceful sleep I'd had in longer then I could remember.
Part 5 – The messenger
Somehow I knew that God was going to send help. I didn't know how I knew. But then again nothing else had made any sense over the past year or two so why should this. During that time there had been so many little things that kept adding up to God. Odd little things that had happened to me that made me wonder. What I didn't know then was God was trying to get His message through to me. But now I was listening, watching, waiting.
God didn't waste much time. I kept seeing these little things, and I somehow knew they were from Him. But I knew I was waiting for someone. Then one day somebody overheard me complaining about something. The guy called me into his office and we talked for a bit. The man was Jewish. He told me some things about how God had changed his life when he started paying attention to God. But that wasn't what got me. I knew there had been a question I needed to know all along. Yet I couldn't fathom it. This guy asked me, "What makes you worthwhile?"
I went off and thought about that. And the harder I thought about it the more I realized I had no idea. As far as I could tell nothing I did would ever have any lasting value. Eventually it would all become dust. Now I knew the question, but I still couldn't find an answer. This was worse then before. I finally went back to the man and asked him.
He answered, "there is nothing you can ever do that will make you worthwhile, but God thinks you're worthwhile, He always has because He loves you."
I was stunned. Why would God love me? I knew I hadn't been very lovable, especially lately! God thinks I'm worthwhile? Why, how cold this be? Now I had both the question and the answer and I was still lost! My God, when would this end? Yet somehow I knew both the question and answer were right. I was left with the feeling of having a right answer in my heart, yet not having a clue in my head!
I still needed help. And I knew I was still waiting on somebody to lead me to where I needed to be.
Part 6 – The Witness
Nearly 3 months had passed since I had asked God for help. God had managed to send all sorts of messengers to me to help me. Many of them not realizing they carried a message to me. And while I was realizing something was going on, I was still waiting for somebody to come, for something to happen. Then God sent His witness to me.
He came during a busy time. Somebody who had actually tried to witness to me ten years before. Somebody I had previously worked for, and now suddenly found myself working for again. I came in looking for the two guys I was training. There they were sitting in the office I shared with another fellow just talking back and forth. I stood in the doorway and asked, "don't you guys have something important to do?" When out of the corner came a reply, "they are doing something important".
Here I had done it again. I had done opened my mouth and stuck my foot in once more. Instead of replying I just said hello to the man who was now my boss's boss. Then I sat down at my desk. I knew Ken wasn't happy to see me. I had interrupted whatever had been going on. But I wanted to stay, and I didn't know why. Besides, when he was done with these guys I had work for them to do.
But over the course of the next two hours something strange happened. Ken began to talk and ask questions. And these things were all things I had been thinking about. Especially about words. We talked about how powerful words are. How we
find ourselves saying things we wish we hadn't said. When Ken left I began to wonder, is this the one?
The next day I was out in the plant when I had this sudden desire to go back to my office. There he was again. It's not like Ken was a frequent visitor to my office. And it's not like he really knew these two guys he was talking with. This time I just quietly came in and sat down to listen. And again for about two hours we talked.
Now I found out later that Ken wasn't real happy to see me either time. In fact he had complained to a friend that I kept interrupting his witness to these two guys. Then his friend said, "maybe Rocky is the one you're really witnessing to."
The third day Ken came in and there I was again. Now one of the things that did not escape my attention was that each time Ken came by no one would call me away. This was more then unusual. I held a key role in the activities that were going on. It wasn't uncommon for the phone to be ringing off the hook, somebody to come looking for me or to be paged every 15 minutes. Yet I was not called away once while Ken was there. Another interesting thing I noted later was that not once did Ken mention God, religion or Jesus. And yet the whole conversation was in reality about Jesus!
On that third day as we talked Ken looked me in the eye. My heart seemed as if it would leap out of my chest. I felt flushed, hot even. Ken asked me, "Are you ready to get your heart right?" My eyes filled with tears, " I simply answered yes". He asked me how that made me feel. I answered, "it makes me feel like crying". Then he left, telling me we would talk again.
Part 7 – Birthday
The next day I kept looking, waiting, watching, hoping for Ken to come. I felt alive when he came around. And I so wanted to talk some more. Or maybe it wasn't even a desire to talk, maybe just to listen. All I know is I went home that night wishing he had come by. He had something, and I was hungry.
Then came the day. Feb 5th, 1989. I'll always remember that date. And perhaps it's not by coincidence that it happens also to be my mother's birthday.
For all the time I had not been busy while Ken came and we talked, this day I was nothing but busy. In fact I had not eaten at all that day. About two hours before I was supposed to leave that evening Ken came in to my office. I was alone. He asked me if I was busy. I started to say I was nothing but busy, but instead I answered, "actually I just finished the last thing I have to do".
He asked me again, "are you ready to get your heart right?" Again I said yes.
Part 8 – Born again, baptized with fire
We went off to a place where we wouldn't be interrupted. It was wild. I had never read the Bible, yet as Ken would quote scripture to me I knew it! I understood it and knew it! It was like having DeJa Vue. I even mentioned this to Ken. He told me that was God talking to both of us, and that I was hearing it as he was. He kept asking me how I felt. At first my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. Then I began feeling incredibly hot, like I was on fire. I was sweating and yet I never felt better! He kept talking about things of God and kept asking how I felt. I remember telling him that whatever it was the feeling was better then any drug I had ever done!
Then he began to pray. I felt this swirling sensation, almost as if there was this chase going on inside of me. Like something was running and something was catching it. Then Ken asked me if I believed in Jesus. I could nod my head, but somehow I couldn't say the words. It was as if something was trying desperately to keep me from saying it. Somehow Ken knew this and just said, "you don't have to say it out loud, just keep saying it to yourself."
So as Ken prayed, I kept saying to myself, I believe in Jesus, I believe Jesus, I believe in Jesus. Then it happened! As the words finally came out of my mouth I saw something. It was like a flame front hit me! It looked just like a fire split in half. I sat straight up. It scared me!
Ken said I looked white as a sheet. He asked me what happened. Gee, I didn't know, all I knew to tell him was, "I saw something". He asked what it looked like. Well, truthfully I was afraid to tell him, cause I thought what I'd seen was hell! Later the Lord showed me that I had seen the same thing the disciples had seen at Pentecost, cloven tongues of fire as the Holy Spirit ascended on them.
Now I had no idea about any of this at the time. But I did know that somehow something incredible had happened to me. And I knew it had something to do with God and Jesus.
Part 9 – Walking in the clouds
The next week is a week I'll never forget. In fact the next day after I had my born again experience I interviewed for a job in another department. They hired me during the interview before they had even finished interviewing all the applicants. And as incredible as this may seem, 5 years later God used that interview as a witness to the man who interviewed me, but that's another story.
Suffice it to say that for the next week I had a song in my heart and my feet weren't touching the ground. I was walking in the clouds. I didn't understand it, but I was in the midst of the joy of the Lord. For the first time in my life I knew I had found the meaning to my life, happiness had come. I felt a sense of completion, belonging. I had been dead, but now I was alive.