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It is often said in social circles that discussing politics and religion is a “no no”? I’m sure I’ve already alienated a few politicians with my points of view, so why not finish things off with a few thoughts about religion.

I was brought up in the church, but some how it never registered. I think a lot of young people are that way. All that church preaching about God, the Ten Commandments, love thy neighbor, forgiveness, etc. sounded reasonable, good, something to live by, etc. But for me, God was not “real” or alive until my own experiences brought me to my knees and I experienced His presence and involvement in my own life. So, when I see some young people get the message in their youth, I’m always happy about it. My grand-daughter made such a choice just recently and I was truly thrilled she was able to make that decision and commitment so early in her life.

Like everyone, I had, on many occasions, uttered the common prayer “Lord, if you’ll get me out of this, I’ll change my life”. A promise which, just as many times, I broke. Fortunately, God not only extends grace, He is patient as well.

I spent a lot of years stumbling though life, doing my job, not breaking any major laws and trying to not hurt anyone. I kind of thought that was enough. Then one night, dealing with the agony of a divorce, I found myself sitting alone in my car, on the side of the road, somewhat sedated with alcohol, but still in a great deal of internal pain. It was then and there that I finally got my heart in sync with my prayer when I said, “Lord, I realize I have brought much of this on myself, and that as much as I would like for You to put it back together, I probably don’t deserve it…and it may not be Your will. So, what I ask is for You to please be with me and give me the strength to carry this load because I just can’t do it alone.” The thought had not left my brain when I felt the pain ease and the words came to me, “You have never been alone. I am with you, and I will be with you.” It was the first time I ever felt that I had actually experienced the presence of God within me. I had heard many preachers in my life relating how God had spoken to them. So, I always expected that if God ever spoke to me I’d hear an actual voice coming from somewhere above while a blinding light would come down and angels would sing. Although it may have been like that for the Shepard’s when the Angel of the Lord appeared to them to announce the birth of Jesus, it was not that way for me. Yet, there was still no doubt in my mind, or being, who had spoken to me!

It was then that I realized that God speaks to us all…lots of times, not in a booming voice followed by lightning bolts or a show of Angels. If He did, everyone would immediately do as instructed out of fear! He wants us to do what is right out of love, devotion and faith in Him. So the voice is usually somewhat soft and gentle in the back of your mind. It’s when something inside you says, “You know what you’re about to do is wrong and you should not be doing this.” I can’t count the number of times I had heard that voice and chosen to ignore it.

I feel compelled now as I close these writings to briefly tell you of my learning about the living God, the power of prayer, and how I finally learned these truths. That night when I said I realized that God Himself had actually spoken to me, I still did like I had done so many times before in my life … I soon forgot about how He was with me, and chose to continue to ignore His voice telling me about the things I was continuing to do that were wrong. Consequently, I went on from that point to spend several years, being single and selfish. I may be wrong to thank the Lord for allowing me to spend so much intimate time with so many truly wonderful and beautiful women during those years, but I do. Because it may have served to give me the insight I needed to become more of the person He wanted me to become. It was during that time that I realized that although I was afforded time with some really beautiful women, I still found myself very much alone. I did not realize that it was my soul that was alone and unfulfilled. I also realized that many of my friends were just as lonely in their soul searching as was I. Most of the women I knew had suffered through a divorce and were just as hesitant as I to ever get hurt again. So, we were all dancing through life together, yet still alone for fear of binding ourselves emotionally to another person and getting hurt again.

Then one night as I sat in my house alone, shortly after ending another relationship that did not work out, I uttered a little quiet prayer in my heart. “Lord, I’m lonely and nothing I’ve been doing seems to be going where I want. So I ask You to look at my life, You know my needs, and help me get to where I need to be.” And then I made a simple but actually quite specific request, “if I could find it in your heart to send me someone like Pat…”

Patricia used to work for me and I had come to admire her through that work relationship. She was happily married, (So I had thought for years), had strong moral values and was beautiful. Many times in the past years during that working relationship I had even wrongfully lusted for her in my soul-searching heart. She had moved away with her husband and family several years before, but we had still remained in touch on occasion. I had many times told friends, “If I could find a woman like Pat, I’d get married again.” It seemed that all the women I truly admired were already married and committed to their marriage. I was envious of those relationships I saw in others and I felt I would never find for myself.

It was not even a week after that little prayer that I got a call from, Patricia. At that point it had been many months, if not a year, since any contact at all. I was shocked when she told me her husband had left her and I told her “He’ll be back”. However, as the weeks moved on and we talked on the phone, I realized that their marriage was not going to mend. Needless to say, I found myself in “hot” pursuit. Needless also to say, when she realized that I had serious intentions, she was very quick to tell me over dinner one night, “We are friends and I don’t want to hurt you feelings, but understand that IF I ever thought about getting re-married, you’d be the LAST person on this earth that I’d even consider.” I didn’t have to ask why because basically I knew, but I asked anyway. She quickly responded with, “You’re a womanizer, you’re selfish, you drink too much”, … and the list went on through a few other traits not needing mention. Anyway, as my heart twinged, I simply said, “I know why you would say all of that, but you don’t really know my heart, or the real me.”

To keep this short, one thing led to another and thankfully she finally did see something in me worthy of her love and trust. But I can assure you it took more than me to make that happen. It was nothing short of a miracle.

One night during the courtship, Pat called to say that things were going too fast, that she needed time to think, and that maybe we should not see each other for a while. Reluctantly, I mustered my male pride, bit my lip and agreed. After hanging up the phone and bearing my hurt and fearful soul to a few close friends, I once again turned to the One who in my past life should have been my first choice for help, God!

“Lord, you know how much I want this to work and how much I want this woman in my life. I also know that I have not lived my life in a manner such that I should deserve this. So, I’ll understand if you choose not to grant my request, but I am still asking … Please? Your will be done.” I actually went to sleep and slept well that night, trusting in His will.

A lot of big things happened that night! First they had a party in heaven, because another prodigal son looked like he just might be coming home. But please take a moment to evaluate more deeply the miracle of what was actually happening.

Here was a woman I had admired and even lusted over for years … A woman who was certainly far beyond my personal reach. I had many times prayed for someone “like” her to come my way and now the actual woman was before me but turning away. She was that impossible dream, beyond my control or ability. However, in the Lord, ALL things are possible. I later learned that Pat was unable to sleep that night and was in a turmoil of emotions and fears. The next morning she called me and said she was wrong and that we would go on seeing each other. She said the Lord spoke to her that very night. What He said to her is for her to tell, but there is no doubt between us about His hand in our relationship.

Today, almost 20-years later, we are still happily married. Sure, like everyone, we’ve had our bumps in the road, but we still know we are soul mates in life and we truly both thank God for His part in bringing us together. When my first marriage ended, we had two girls, ages ten and twelve. I truly missed being there for their teen-age years. I also thought I’d never find anyone I’d trust enough to share my heart and soul with again. Then when I finally asked God to take an active influence in my life through that simple prayer, look what happened. I had even unconsciously compounded my request with something so specific as to ask for someone “like” Pat.

I did not get someone “like” Pat. I actually got PAT. Not only am I married to THE woman of my prayers, the Lord’s Grace even went so far as to restore to me a complete family that also included Pat’s two wonderful little girls, ages ten and twelve. I got to be a full time father again and enjoy raising and being part of their lives! Are there any doubts about the power of prayer and a living God? Not in my mind!

I also feel compelled to make a comment here that I could not have made earlier when I was writing about love and marriage because it would not have made sense then.

In all marriages there will be those days when things come between you and your spouse and you may question your happiness and marriage decision. If more people would look back to why they were married and reach back to their old feelings and reasons, they would find it easier to pull things back together. You need to consider that you are each other’s gift from God. Personally, I look to the Lord and say, “I asked specifically for a Chevrolet and You gave me a Rolls Royce. I know I forgot to specify the color but I’m not about to complain about it being white instead of red. I’m happy and thankful for your gift and when the time comes you want to take her back, I only hope you’ll take me with her.

All that said, and back to the basic subject of religion. There has been a major shift in this country away from God. Even though this nation was founded on Christian beliefs and even acknowledges God in its founding documentation, the pledge to the flag, and on our money; we have judges, courts and a minority of individuals trying to have all such references played down or removed altogether. Since its founding, this nation, its people and government did not survive natural disaster and world war to emerge as the most prosperous and dominate nation on the planet without the help and good graces of the Almighty. When we, as a nation, begin allowing those vocal few to start putting man’s interpretations of right and wrong and man’s laws before God’s laws, we put our very survival in jeopardy. The day this nation begins allowing the atheists and infidels in our midst to deprive the rest of us from practicing our Christian beliefs, will be the beginning of the end for America as was created by our forefathers, and defended by so many with their lives. When we start trying to re-interpret or re-define with the very basics of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to suit the objections of a few liberals, we will be removing the very foundation stones of the nation.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…..

That was the very FIRST amendment!

The SECOND states: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Obviously, the founding fathers felt these rights important because they addressed them before all the others in the bill of rights that deals with things such as trial by jury, the need for search warrants, not being forced to testify against one’s self, double jeopardy, and due process to mention just a few. All are important rights, but not first and foremost in their thoughts.