This is Chapter One of From Darkness to Light: How to Rescue Someone You Love from the Occult, written by Jeff Harshbarger of Refuge Ministries.
I wanted to die.
Everything that I had put my hope and heart into had failed me. I was being tormented by the absence of meaning and purpose. I had received no answers to the questions that I had in my life.
Death would come easy, or so I thought.
I purchased my gun and took the usual means of sedating my fears, marijuana and whiskey, and headed for the place to finalize my ruin. I checked into a hotel room and smoked and drank myself to a place where I would have the nerve to pull the trigger. As I sat there I began to wrestle with the matter of this being the end. I would probably make the evening news.
As I put the barrel to my head, fear came to me. I wasn’t afraid to die, I was afraid of where I would go after I died. So I didn’t, or rather couldn’t, pull the trigger. Again, I felt the failure of my life, even in my death.
With the realization of my desire to die being still unfulfilled, I attempted to destroy myself again the next afternoon. I took a rope and attempted to hang myself. I tied the rope over the garage rafter. I made sure that the knot was nice and tight as I tied the other end around my neck. I felt as though I was ready. My issue with my eternal destiny was meaningless at this point.
I kicked the chair out from under my feet expecting to experience the jerk of the rope on my neck. I found myself on the floor of my garage instead. I sat there wondering why I was not dead. How could I fail, again?
I was miserable. I had failed at suicide twice. Not only had I desired to die, I failed twice in fulfilling that desire.
Was there a way out? What could or should I do at this point? I found myself with a million new questions. Where would I go to find the answers? I needed a beer.
That evening, after failing at suicide for the second time, I attempted to drink myself into a stupor. However, I couldn’t. Every time that I would attempt to draw the beer can to my lips, the smell of the alcohol would nauseate me. This was highly unusual. I had been a drinker for years.
I attempted to light a cigarette, but it would burn my lips and the smell was as bad as the beer. I attempted to smoke some marijuana in order to get a high that might curb my pain. But, just like the beer, the smell of the joint was nauseating. Nothing could sedate my condition. My old friends, alcohol and drugs, were suddenly unconsumable. I couldn’t even smoke a cigarette. I was confused.
I went outside to clear my confusion and my head. However, the questions were too strong. I couldn’t die and I was not in my planned drunken stupor. I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling, at that point. I was unable to take my life and I did not know what to do.
Sleep was the only way to relieve my pain and confusion. I fell onto my bed seeking to close my eyes. As I lay there, I began to cry. All the years of my seeking answers had produced nothing. I had such a strong desire to die and yet, I failed at this two times. Failure. All I felt was failure.
As I began to cry, I felt a tremendous relief in my tears. However, as I wept, I experienced something that I had not before. I heard a voice from the foot of my bed, demanding “Get Out!”. I immediately quit crying, expecting to see a demon appear in order to destroy me. I had attempted to kill myself and thought that I had angered the demonic host by my attempt to take my life.
Again the voice insisted “Get Out!” However, this time I heard the voice from right beside my face. I did not hesitate to respond to what I was told. I got out of the room and went outside of my house. I actually stepped through my bedroom window so as to not waste a moment getting out of where I was.
When I stepped outside, I experienced the presence of God. There was a presence of a Being more powerful than I had ever met in all my years as a Satanist. But, I somehow knew that this Being cared for me. I fell on my face and began to weep. As I raised my head from my driveway, I asked Jesus Christ to make my life okay. I knew Who I was meeting. I knew at that moment that I was in the presence of Jesus Christ and I just wanted Him to make my life okay.
I wasn’t conscious of accepting Him as my Lord and Savior at that moment. I just needed to make it through that time in my life. I thought only that I would ask Him to help me.
And He did.
© Copyright, 2005 by Jeff Harshbarger. Posted by permission.