I had been doing drugs every day for the past five years. LSD was my drug of choice, even though I hated it! LSD is an 8-10 hour hallucination. I had been taking LSD at least three times a week for about three years and my brain was fried. I had lost the ability to read. I also did speed, downers hashish and pot everyday, from the moment I woke up till the time I went to bed. I had to drink a lot of wine, also, just to come down enough to go to sleep at night. I was miserable, trying to find some meaning in life to no avail.
I hated my life, hated drugs and yet I was trapped. From time to time I had had encounters with Christians who would witness to me on the beach. Although I wouldn’t admit it to them, I couldn’t believe how happy they were. One particular time I remember crying alone in my bed, because I knew I was too evil to be like the Christians that had shared the gospel with me that day.
Then came Christmas Day 1970. I was at a rock concert in Laguna Canyon, California. There were mostly local bands playing and lots of drugs available, even a helicopter flying overhead, dropping thousands of cards with tablets of sunshine LSD attached. I had taken a large dose already, and as I began to “come on” to the drug I realized that it was going to be too radical for me, being in the middle of such a large crowd of people.
As I tried to make my way through the crowd I got stuck at a fork in the path that was filled with people entering the concert from the opposite direction. It was about 8 o’clock in the morning and as I stood there watching the river of people flowing past me, all of the sudden I began to see my sins against each person walking by. I saw what I had said about them, or thought about them or what I had done to them. It was the Judgment Day and God was showing me all my sins. I knew I was guilty, yet there was nothing I could do! I was being judged by God and was going to hell.
This had been going on for about three hours when I saw three girls dressed in white approaching me. Everything turned from darkness, dinginess and stench to crystal clarity, a beautiful rainbow and a sweeter fragrance than anything I had ever known. I don’t know what those girls said to me, but a few minutes later, after they left, I was again thrust back into the darkness and judgment for my sins.
Somehow (God’s intervention), I understood that there were two paths set in front of me. One led to hell, the other to heaven, but I didn’t know which way to go. I stood at the fork in the path for about four more hours, crying out to God to show me the way. My friends were all trying to talk me down and lead me home, but I wouldn’t move till I knew which path to go on. I was screaming out to God at the top of my lungs and people were staring at me, and I’m sure they were thinking, “This guy has lost his mind!” Then as the sun was starting to set some friends finally talked me down to the point where I realized it was a bad LSD trip. At that moment I fell face down on the dirt path and thanked God for giving me a second chance. I cried out for him to show me the way.
So I began searching for God. But after two months of talking to everyone I could about God, I was more confused than ever. Almost every religious person I talked with told me a different way to God and I just didn’t understand it. If there were many ways to God and it didn’t matter which one you chose, why did those ways contradict each other?
In this frame of mind, I hiked up into the hills behind where I was living one afternoon and just watched the clouds coming in over the ocean. Then my eye caught sight of the wind blowing the puffy little seeds from a dandelion in front of me. It became so clear to me in that moment that the true God was not a God of confusion, but a God of order, which all nature pointed to. It was at that point that I began to pray to the God of creation to begin to reveal himself to me.
Since it was God’s creation that had pointed me in the right direction, I thought if I went to a place that was beautiful I would surely find God there, so I took my backpack and my surfboard and moved to Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. But upon arrival, I was immediately thrown back into the drug world that I was trying to escape.
About a week later, I was sitting on a rock, one morning, at the beach, reading a booklet I’d gotten from the Jehovah’s Witness, when a lady asked me if I were a Jehovah’s Witness. I said, “No, but I’m searching for God.” At that she responded, “I know God!”
That statement shocked me. I had talked to people that knew “about God” before. But no one had ever told me that they knew God personally. So I asked her if she could introduce me to him. To my surprise, she said “Yes!” At that point I knew she meant it and it scared me a little. She told me that they were about to have a Bible study in the house right behind where I was sitting and she invited me. I thought, “I’ve tried everything else, so why not?”
Entering the house I was startled to find it was actually a women’s Bible study group. Here I was: a man, a hippie and a surfer, and I found myself surrounded by a bunch of normal looking housewives. But I stayed. I didn’t get much out of the Bible study, but when after the study, they all began praying, I knew that God was in that room and I knew that they were in touch with the Creator. The next Friday, I went back again, wanting to see if it would happen again. This time it was even more evident that those ladies knew God. They asked me to church for a special service on the following Tuesday evening and I couldn’t wait to go.
The first thing that happened when I entered the building was I was greeted with a big hug from this little old Hawaiian lady. You have to understand that my experience until then was that Hawaiians hated people like me, that is long-haired hippie/surfers. I had already had my life threatened a few times, so to be brought into a room full of dark-skinned Hawaiians was a little intimidating. Then as they began to raise their hands in worship it was a strange sensation for me. I didn’t know the songs, but I didn’t want to seem like I didn’t know what was going on, so I raised my hands too. As I began to sing the words a wonderful peace came over me. After the singing there was a gospel message. I heard that God had sent his son Jesus, to come and take my sins upon himself, to die for my sins upon the cross. Could this really be true? Was there a way for me to have my mountain of sins removed and escape God’s wrath? If that were true, this really was good news, the best I had ever heard!
Then the man preaching invited anyone who wanted to have their sins forgiven to come forward. I found myself running to the front of the church. This is what I had been looking for ever since that Christmas morning two months before: a way to have my many sins forgiven.
As I prayed that night to the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins, I felt clean for the first time in my life. The huge weight of my sins was lifted and I was a new creation in Christ Jesus. The drugs, drinking, immoral ifestyle and the lying all fell away. No one told me, “Now Tim, you’re going to have to change your lifestyle!” but God began doing that the moment he drew me to himself. In fact, I look back and see that my coming to God was all His doing.
That Christmas morning I hadn’t been searching for God. I was at that concert to rock and roll, to get wasted and party. But God drew me to himself when I was dead in my transgressions and sins.
Until God opened my eyes to my sin and my need for Him, I wandered aimlessly from one thing to another trying to find meaning, purpose and hope. Psalm 16:11 says of God, “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” That night when the Holy Spirit showed me my need for the Savior and drew me to Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins, He took me by the hand and has never let go. I now experience joys and pleasures that this world cannot comprehend.
Are you weighed down by your sins? Then come to Jesus. Are you tired of trying to make it to God on your own? You may be seeking fulfillment by being righteous in your own power, but until God does the work, we remain dead in our sins. Come to the Savior and receive forgiveness and new life. There may be people reading this blog right now who are still trying to have their needs met by the things of this world and by the things you do. Some of us have to find out the hard way, some come much easier and some will never come, which is tragic. If you don’t know the Savior, come to the cross and lay your sins at Christ’s feet. Be reconciled to God. Jesus did everything necessary for you to come to know the Creator of the univers. Taste and see the Lord is good.