Mike should have died when his heart stopped for the seventh time. But after waking up very much alive, Mike could only conclude that God was keeping him around for a reason. It wasn’t like he felt he deserved any second chances.
Growing up with a dad who disciplined with his fists taught Mike how to fight, take a punch and be angry, just like his dad. Mike finally ran away at age 13. And with anger simmering just below the surface, fighting was always Mike’s first and last solution to his problems.
Not surprisingly, as an adult Mike was shot at, stabbed, arrested for DUIs and thrown in jail more times than he cared to remember.
Mike was making an epic mess of his life. But God was just as determined to send Mike an epic message. So He pulled Mike back from the brink of death one more time. Then Mike’s best friend died of an esophageal hemorrhage. Four months later, the love of his life died in a horrific car accident.
“I looked like I had just come out of a garbage can.”
Deep in his grief, Mike lashed out at the world and ended up losing everything. “For a long time I had a Honda that I lived in and slept in,” Mike says. One night, a couple of guys tried to carjack him. Mike got hit over the head with a tire iron and the would-be carjackers ended up totaling Mike’s car.
“Then I was living right on the concrete,” Mike says. “I looked like I had just come out of a garbage can. Most people just looked away.” “If I ever had contact with an angel, that was it. ”But God wasn’t going to stop pursuing Mike.
Mike shares a story of a night he took shelter in a doorway: A car pulled up and I thought it was someone who wanted to mess with me. He was a big man. I couldn’t see him — just a silhouette from the headlights. He came and sat down with me and asked if I want a smoke. “Yeah.” Are you hungry? “Yeah.” He came back with a big bag of McDonald’s and a leather bomber jacket. Then he sat down and talked with me for 30 minutes. And then I never saw him again. I always think if I ever had contact with an angel, that was it. “It was so beautiful here, but I was so ugly.”
Living on the streets and completely out of hope, Mike found his way to the Mission. He wanted to change his life — but he wasn’t looking for a relationship with God. “It was so beautiful here, but I was so ugly,” he remembers. But it was at the Mission that Mike finally encountered the God who never gave up on him. Mike started reading the Bible and listening to worship music.
“I was such an angry mess, but as time went on I began to find my heart again with God’s help,” says Mike.
“No one is more shocked than I am. ”Today, Mike is job searching, after discovering he has an aptitude for maintenance work while at the Mission.
“Now I open my eyes in the morning, I thank God that I slept in a bed because so many nights I slept in a jail cell, or in my car, or out on the streets,” Mike shares. “What happened to me was kind of miraculous.”
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