God, Where Are You? ~ My Salvation Story

Normally, I write Biblically technical messages concerning God’s Word.

Some are essays that I’ve written in the past, some are written in the present, yet all have taken many hours to compose, or recompose to be fit within this blog.

These are not off the top of my head; per se they involve research work which is very meticulous and time-consuming, forcing me to spend untold hours in God’s Word – for which in return I am greatly fed.

Today, I want to do something a little different – I’m going to turn to the dark side, where emotions can display the pain life can bring.

The following is a letter I found in my files, it is sad and uncomfortable, yet something that others may relate too.

God where are you.  Where were you when my immature mother left me behind at age 3, and my alcoholic drug abusing father left at age 10.  Where were you when I was at school, the poor white trash little boy with wholly jeans, and could not afford a school lunch.

Where were you when no one ever noticed me, except to ridicule and pick on.  Where were you when the silence was deafening in a world that was such a hostile place.

Where were you when the lies of liberals who said that man was basically good, prove themselves to be ridiculous claims of narcissism and deception.

Where were you when the system that said that all that man needed was rules and regulations, and systems to bring out the best of humanity; when all I saw was the worst without civility.

Where were you when everyone left me alone, despised rejected, crying out for help; finding acceptance only in the dregs of society, where the only way of survival was to medicate myself into oblivion. 

To get drunk or wasted, smoking pot 24 7 only to be numb enough to deal with the pain of being hated and despised without cause. 

Where were you when I just wanted someone to say ‘I love you’.”                                                                                              

Yes, I wrote these words (Signed: Brent Bolin ~ 12/01/1974), yet it was only a few weeks later that God answered my question.

I accepted Jesus Christ when I was 8 years old, but when I was 12 I started doing my own thing, backsliding into drugs, and alcohol, and a partying lifestyle in Southern California.  After graduating High School I took a job out of style.

After a few months I moved back to Southern California with no money in my pockets, I took a job where I could live on-site in the back of my truck, with no money for 2 weeks until my first paycheck.

No food to eat, not even enough gas to drive 30 miles to get help from a family who had rejected me because of my drug abuse, yet would have fed me.

Alone, enough cigarettes and dope to keep me going, yet no food; sleeping in a sleeping bag in the back of an open-bed pickup, with a 13″ B&W TV in the winter in Southern California, God answered my question.

The answer did not come from the beautiful cathedrals, with stained-glass, padded pews, and lush surroundings.

The answer did not come from a televangelist, making claims of prosperity.

The answer did not come from a missionary providing food and the Bible.

No, the answer did not come from a good-hearted Christian witnessing to the lost.

The answer did not even come through spoken words.

The answer came in the form of a sacrificial gift by a mean old drunk I worked with.

My fellow employees could not help but know my plight, yet after 14 days without food, the meanest oldest drunk employee, who I had never spoke too, nor anyone else for that matter, without saying a word came up to me and gave me half of his sandwich and a miniature Three Musketeers bar, and simply said, “here.”

This man who was despised and rejected by everyone, he didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of him; yet, he was moved with compassion for someone that was less fortunate than himself.

You see God did not use beautiful words from lovely people, that wouldn’t have done the trick in my case.

You know I found out that everything is corruptible, even generous acts of giving can be done so that the giver feels good about themselves.

This is why Jesus said when we give our gifts of love to do it so that no one knows, using the illustration of not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing.

No, Gods words to me were much more precious than the potentially self-serving gestures of a good-hearted Christian, even when done in sincerity.

God used an instrument that I knew that He alone had motivated to reflect His love; an old drunk that everybody hated, and hated everyone else.

You see most people would never have understood this type of language, but I did – God was speaking to me.

For one that knows the depravity of humanity, the rejection of all; the potential self-serving of any apparent righteous deed, for one that has been abused in every manner, by some people who appeared to be good, while others were obviously not; the language that God used was clear and apparent.

It was this act of kindness by an unkind man who was God’s witness of God’s love for me – to me.

You see I was raised in the church and understood the gospel – that Jesus died for me, for my sin.

What I hadn’t understood is that God was God because He was all-powerful and controlled everything that occurred on this Earth, and that because of this, I could place my trust in Him – my faith in Him because He had the power to do what He said He would do.

He could even use an old drunk to carry His message to a wayward son.

That night I saw the mercy and grace of God through the hands of an unsaved wretch.

I understood the difference between mercy and grace; where mercy is not getting the negative reward I deserved, and grace was getting the unmerited favor I didn’t deserve as well.

The half of a sandwich to me was God’s mercy, yet the tears flowed when that old man handed me that miniature Three Musketeers bar, which was to me God’s grace – it was the best thing I have ever tasted in my life – today I still cry when remembering this event in my life – it was that powerful – to me.

Some ask me why I am so repetitious concerning the subject of faith.

It was because that night I understood all that I would ever need to understand about God and His ability to take care of me, and His trustworthiness because of His ability – I could trust not only His Word, but His ability.

You see, the fact that God would orchestrate that I go through the pain that I had went through for the first 20 years of my life so that I would understand the pain of loss; also mandated I would understand the joy of receiving.

And the greatest receiving there was would be that of eternal life.

That first 20 years was nothing in comparison to God’s gift of eternity with Him.

And it was in receiving those 2 small gifts that my life made sense.

I praise God that I was rejected and despised, ridiculed and abandoned; because I understand the cost of sin; of my sin, and of every sin.

It cost God the life of His own Son to pay for sin.

Yet, the giving of his Son did not mean that God was not in control, just the opposite; He is in total control, especially when it does not appear so – this is the reason why we can trust Him, not merely because He is righteous, which mandates the sacrifice of His own Son to pay for our sin; but because He is all-powerful and able to do His good will – to fulfill what He has said in His Word, which we can trust with all of our being.

I pray to someday see that mean little old man in heaven, I pray that someone showed him the kindness that he showed me using language that he would understand; and that he would receive the free gift of salvation that none of us deserve, any more than I deserved that half a sandwich and a miniature Three Musketeers bar.  

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”  (Luke 15:24)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)    

bb

“Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it”

5 comments

  1. Brent, Now this is what I’m talking about! THIS is blogging. You brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart with your words. They came from your heart. What a wonderful part of your testimony, I so much appreciate you sharing it with me. I too feel unworthy, and many times wonder why God puts up with me. Then someone or something wonderful happens in my life and I know God’s hand is in it. It takes hindsight oftentimes to see, but if we are patient enough, and look deep enough, we see it. As God unfolds the quilt of your life to me, I am beginning to see why He chose you to ministery. You have the ability to share your heart with others….just do it! Leave the technical stuff in the closet, and bring us Brent, show us his heart and relate to us as a man. Just like that old man did to you. He gave of himself. Something on your level, that you could understand. Thats all we want. We want that piece of you. We love you dear brother…. Blessings Brent…..Nonni~~

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  2. P.S. I need the Musketeers Bar…..smiles inserted…..(dessert first) you know the easy stuff…after you hook me? Well then move on to the harder stuff! LOL

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  3. Nonni,
    Thank you very much, you have given me something to think about. bb

    P.S. I just called my wife and asked her to add a 3 Museteers to tonights shopping list – I know you understand, but after this event they became my favorite candy, when I eat one, I always think about that night in December 1974 when my life changed. bb

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  4. Very touching and well written Brent thanks for sharing…and could ya pass a 3 musketeers, I realize I may not deserve it but hey…I love those things :)

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  5. Nonni,
    When I stated last week that I would spend some time thinking and praying about what you said, I really meant it.

    In fact, it is due to this contemplation that I have not written anything for the last week, because what I would’ve posted would’ve been my normal type of technical presentation. I’m afraid these types of stories, which are more emotive; these experiences which express deep emotions, are not what I normally present.

    It’s not that I don’t go through very emotional situations, quite the opposite I spend my life dealing with highly emotional situations of other people, and due to the integrity that I feel concerning counseling, as well as chaplaincy, I don’t speak about these situations.

    It would be very easy to not use names, so ethics is not the issue. But to be honest with you, what I experience, even on a daily basis is so emotionally charged, so bitter sweet; yet also so precious to me that sharing them seems to betray the intimacy in which they occur.

    I will share one short story so you can understand what I’m attempting to say. Not long ago I walked into a room of a dying patient. He was 45 years old, and had fallen off the back of a fence while at a family reunion, and broke his neck. Something that seemed so senseless, leaving family members asking why.

    The patient was placed on comfort and care measures, meaning all services had been discontinued as he was close to death, and his family wanted him to die without having tubes running down his throat, and all the discomfort that those measures involve.

    The patient had lost an extreme amount of weight, in fact he look like a skeleton. It is situations like this that the leading of the Spirit is really necessary to know what I should say as a chaplain, if anything. Yet, because of the family; and where they were spiritually speaking, I had one of the few opportunities to really teach about faith, dealing with questions of accepting God’s will especially when it doesn’t make sense.

    It was very apparent that the Holy Spirit had used me as a vessel to communicate many Scriptures which gave great relief to the family, to the extent that God was glorified as this man was dying.

    There is an extreme sense of worth when God uses us, on many occasions I have sensed that it is not me speaking, but in essence the Holy Spirit who is bringing to remembrance God’s Word and tying Scripture with other Scripture, explaining things that sometimes are a surprise to me as they come out of my mouth.

    This is where we are to get our sense of worth, not that we deserve to be used by God, but that we are blessed to be used by God. It is our responsibility to gig deep into His Word so that we can access what the Holy Spirit desires to teach because we have studied God’s Word, yet it is not the worth of self that comes into play; it is the worth that God places in us because He trustes us with this responsibility.

    We do have our own responsibility to be into God’s Word, yet it is the Holy Spirit that brings these words together. Such was the case concerning this sad event. After almost an hour of speaking, with family members leaning forward in anticipation, and gratitude of what I was expressing, I looked across at the pictures that were slightly out of view upon the table. As I focused on one of the larger photos, I, for the first time saw what the patient that laid in that bed look like in his normal state. Tears immediately welled up, as I turned and walked out of the room, motioning I would return in a few minutes. I stepped out into a conference room and sobbed very strongly.

    The reason why is because I knew this man intimately in a working relationship. He owned his own construction company and had done some extensive work at my house. The way that this man ran his company was unbelievable. He had employed workers that were so meticulous, that they never damaged anything while they were working in my house.

    This type of care for his clients, and their homes is very unusual; because of this I gained an immense amount respect for this man. If you know me, you know that I don’t hand out respect to people very often, they have to earn it.

    I do respect human life – I respect the rights and privileges of people; yet when it comes to conditional situations, such as the work produced by a man; he has to earn my respect because of the quality he produces. It is foolish to treat all men the same, when some men sacrificially do such good work while others so lazily do not.

    This man was someone very special to me, a type of kindred spirit; he was such a perfectionist, yet at the same it’s time so accepting of people, so compassionate; that he was almost a perfect blend of these two issues which sometimes seem axiomatic to each other – that of being meticulous, while also people oriented. Charlie was this kind of man.

    Therefore, when I recognize that it was a friend of mine that was laying there, a shriveled up form of a man dying, it touched me very, very deeply – it shocked me as well.

    What is the take away of the story. The take away is this, how fortunate to be a vessel of God, that I could speak to a friend’s family while he was passing into eternity; offering words of encouragement and understanding and faith concerning our gracious Lord, that affected some in such a positive manner, where one gets saved; and all seem to gain a peace of God that passes all understanding.

    His wife is a nurse in the same facility I work and I have had the opportunity to speak to her recently, coming to understand the blessings that my presence concerning my words, guided by the Holy Spirit used to so effectively comfort them during this time of pain.

    The take away is, and always will be God’s mercy and grace.

    The conclusion that I’ve come to is on occasion I may be able to share some of the stories on this blog site; however, until then please understand that a majority of my blogging will be attempting to teach God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit can use it in people’s lives in order to affect His will on earth.

    I know what comes across many times as cold and unfeeling, the word I use his technical; yet you must understand that it is a soft heart that are behind those sometimes cold words; because it is through understanding God’s Word that people learn to trust Him, and live according to His Will.

    Thank you for giving me something to think about, you are a very precious sister in Christ. I don’t know of anybody else that has said something that has impacted me enough to make me pause and hold my tongue for a week, you girl are a miracle worker.

    You will see a change in some of my blogs due to your kind words. bb

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