Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Day of My Deliverance

Heading out for another night of partying at the local brown-bag joint little did Duane know this would be his last. Gathering together with his buddies in Ellijay, he was looking forward to a night of drinking, illicit drug use, maybe a little dancing if he got high enough and the hope of hooking up with some dance hall beauty to fulfill his carnal desires. It was a Saturday night in late March, the Riverside Club near Murphy, North Carolina was the destination and Duane's goal was to party to the max once again.

This was the way Duane lived, his life revolved around the partying, while he enjoyed other things such as the martial arts, music, reading and spending time with friends, getting high on drugs or alcohol was what moved him, in a way it was what defined him. When Duane was sober or not using drugs it was usually because he had karate class, which he seldom missed, a meeting with a probation officer, meeting with his Dad, who was a preacher or staying sober enough to work. Of course, at times Duane got high at work, or after being out all night partying he went straight from partying to work.

On this Saturday night, Duane and his friends loaded up on the booze and the drugs and headed to North Carolina. It turned out to be a typical night of substance abuse intertwined with some dancing and social interactions with members of the opposite sex. Duane struck out with the ladies that night and him and his buddies eventually headed back to Ellijay. Even though he struck out with the ladies, he did not strike out with the drugs.

Back in Ellijay, Duane went to the second floor of a little motel on the river. He went to the room of some unsavory characters who were known for their heavy drug use and drug dealings. Duane wanted a fix, he figured they could help him out. In the early morning hours, somewhere between midnight and dawn, in this little motel room on the River, Duane had one of the druggies inject him with some crystal speed, crank, meth or whatever you want to call it. Duane loved the exhileration of shooting up drugs but had a hard time hitting his own veins. The speed woke him up, the partying continued. However, it was not long before Duane was back at his single-wide trailer with one of his friends and his friends girlfriend. It was not long before wide awake Duane was soon sitting by himself in the living room, while his friend and his girl retired to the back bedroom.

Part Two
It is strange to be wide awake at 4:00 am all by yourself. It is in these times that a man can do a lot of thinking. Something begin to work on Duane, he begin to think about God. Now thinking about God may seem normal to most folks, but to one high on meth and alcohol it may not be what they would normally think about. As Duane thought about God and his life in general he turned on his TV, which only picked up a few stations, and begin watching the religious broadcast. There was something going on inside of Duane, this young racous man, high on crank, coming off a drunk was thinking about his creator. A longing was stirring inside of him, a desire for a different life, perhaps a life with God.

Now Duane had been raised in church and had made a profession of faith at a early age but for some reason he begin to doubt that Jesus had forgiven his sins. Even though he prayed fervently to Jesus, Duane just couldn't accept through faith that Jesus accepted him. Since he could seem to connect with God, Duane found that he could connect with drugs and alcohol. Now at the age of 24, something inside of him was awakening, a desire for a life that was right.

After a sleepless night, daylight finally arrived, Sunday morning. It was time to go to Dad's house to do laundry for the coming week. Duane packed up his laundry and his drugs(don't leave home without them) and headed to Blue Ridge in his 72 Chevelle.

Upon arriving at his dad's place, he passed his dad and younger brother on the driveway as they were heading to church. Duane thought to himself, 'I would like to go to church but after being out drunk and high all night I would not feel right about going.' So he went on up to his dad's house and tried to rest but to no avail. After a few hours of tossing and turning on the couch Duane's dad and brother returned from church.

Part 3 The Change

As was the usual Sunday afternoon proceedings, Duane's dad and younger brother went to his grandmothers for dinner; Duane was invited but declined to go due to how lousy he felt. After his dad and brother left for dinner, Duane was left alone once again. That was when it happened, he was hit with what seemed to be an irresistible urge to turn to God, Duane's physical misery was joined by a misery that longed for a better life. God was calling him to repentance, Duane hit his knees as he prayed a simple prayer, "God help me change the way I am living." Almost as quickly as he knelt, he got off his knees, afraid someone might walk in and catch him praying.

But something had occurred inside of him, as he begin to think seriously about walking with God; a conversation begin in his head. The conversation went something like this: " If I am really going to do what is right, I must do something with the drugs I have with me." The drugs were Duane's idol, God had pinpointed the main obstacle to Duane walking with God.

"I could sell them and get my money back." Remnants of the his old way of thinking clinging to him.

"No, that would not be right. It would contribute to someone else's sin. " It was if the Holy Spirit was beginning to help Duane see things in the proper light.

"I could give the drugs to my older brother, he would enjoy them." Again, the old way of thinking interjecting its hellish ideas.

"No, that would contribute to his sin." Again the good countered the bad.

"I will just hold on to my drugs for now, after all I may change my mind about this God business." The old way of thinking did not want to lose Duane, it may have even been demonic.

"No, if you do that, that is not faith at all. You must destroy the drugs." The idols had to go, dealing with God is serious, Duane had to let go of those gods he had been serving.

There was a wood heater in the living room, Duane knew what he must do. He went to his duffle bag, retrieved his drugs and threw them into that old wood heater. Freedom! The chains of sin fell off of Duane, he was a changed man. The feeling of despair left him and a feeling of joy and thanks to God came in its place. Duane did not know exactly what had just happened but as tears of joy streamed down his face he found himself repeating the words, "thank you God, thank you God." Those lips that the night before had been fraught with obscenities now were thanking God.

Again, Duane did not realize the implications of all that had happened but he believed he had had an encounter with God and God had heard and answered his prayer. Duane is still walking with God, he never got over that day, what God did for Duane is still intact. That day was March 29, 1987. I am Duane, praise God for what He did 27 years ago.
Paul Duane Young

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