I remember one night, in particular, it was snowing out and I was coming back home from a club. I was I drunk. I shouldn’t have been driving. I was driving and I remember I was coming around the bend. I must have fallen asleep but when I woke up I was in this embankment and it was just a pile of snow. I remember waking up and the first thing I thought was, “Thank you God.” I always looked forward to Passover because my mom would make her matzo ball soup and nothing compares to her matzo ball soup. I loved it. Growing up in a believing home, it was hard, because I always believed in God but it was almost as if it was my parent’s faith, it wasn’t mine. I always felt a little different. I always believed in Yeshua. I believed in Jesus.
One time, our congregation, we had a parade where we were marched through as a Labor Day Parade and we were holding the banner to our congregation as we walked through the street. This Jewish guy he came up to me in a very hostile belligerent way he told me, “You need to pick which side you’re on you need to choose who you believe in.”
As I got older, especially in my teenage years, is when I really started to surround myself with the wrong crowd. The first time I got drunk was at a neighbor’s house. I was probably 13 or 14 years old. It was just a gradual process that night, just taking little by little, drinking, drinking, and I just remember crashing the next day. Just feeling hungover, you know, having such a bad headache. It was just a slippery slope. Drinking led to smoking which led to getting into other drugs. I remember one night, laying in bed, and I was just so hungover so sick. I just remember thinking, “Is this it? Is there more to life than this?”
One person who had an impact on my life is Alma. I used to work at the bank. I would come to work many days hungover and she used to come up to me and tell me, “I can smell the alcohol on you.” One thing that Alma did is she would always show the love of Messiah with me. Never once was she preachy, or telling me “If you do this you’re gonna hell…Don’t do this…Don’t do that.”
She truly showed the love of Messiah. At the bank she would talk to me about certain scripture, verses, or she would share some Bible verses with me. I tell her, “Agh. Alma, lady be quiet! I don’t care. I don’t want to hear it.” Once, I was so hung over while I was helping a customer. It’s pretty graphic, but I had to throw up. I remember running to the back room. We had a break room and I remember just throwing up. I just remember feeling so low. Alma walked into the back room and I just thought, “Oh here it comes. She’s gonna come preach to me and tell me how I’m living in sin and how I’m living is wrong.” she asked me if she could get me some soup and I just remember feeling so low so convicted. At the same time I remember feeling this love that she offered and it was this pure genuine love that I knew came from God.
I remember those verses that she would share with me. They’d be running through my head and I couldn’t get them out of my head. I hated it because I remember being out at a club or at a party and those verses would be running through my head. I started to notice that things were changing in my life while we were out at a club in DC. Usually, I’d be out with my friends drinking getting drunk and it’d be a good time but this night was different because I decided I didn’t want to drink anymore. I didn’t have that desire. I started to feel almost sick physically, sick when I saw the emptiness, I saw the loneliness, the sadness. To be honest, everyone just look like zombies moving around. I remember very vividly this feeling that this is what I used to look like. I remember so clearly this voice inside saying, “You don’t belong here anymore. This is not your home anymore.”
That was the last time I went into a club. One night, in particular, we were at this Bible study. The youth pastor was sharing the gospel. He started to share the gospel and it started to impact me. He started to speak to me about the good news of Yeshua and what God has done by sending his son and how much God loves us and how God wants a relationship with us. Not just religion, not just a bunch of rules where you have to do this, you have to do that. He wants relationship. He wants fellowship. I remember sitting there that night feeling so convicted. How can a holy, righteous God love me? It was just this emotion that came over me. It was almost as if for the first time in my life I truly experienced the love of God. I remember weeping and crying and I just felt God like embrace me and hug me and let me know that he loves me. I knew that this was real. This wasn’t just this religious high or this experience. I knew the high. I had an encounter with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…The God of the universe who created the heavens and the earth. I felt his love in such a personal intimate way. I always believed in God and it was almost like I knew it up here (in my head) but I didn’t know him here (in my heart). I didn’t believe it. I didn’t experience it for myself. But when I truly experience the forgiveness, the love that God offers, it transformed my life it changed my life. I believe that believing in Yeshua, believing in Jesus, is the most Jewish thing I can do. I believe that Yeshua is the promised Messiah that we read about in Moses and the prophets. I can’t think of anything more Jewish than to believe in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
Toby is One for Israel.
Choose Life, Avoid Hell
Please hear my prayer.
- I admit I'm a sinner in need of a Saviour – [Romans 3:10 / 3:23 / 6:23]
- I believe in my heart that Jesus/Yeshua is Lord – Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, paying in full the death penalty for my sin. [Romans 10:9-10]
- I call upon the name of the Lord and I confess with my mouth Jesus/Yeshua is Lord and I believe in my heart the God raised Him from the dead, so I will be saved. For it is with my heart that I believe, and am justified and it is with my mouth that I confess and am saved. [Romans 10:9-10 / 10:13]