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Suicide Plan Becomes an Instrument of Redemption

During the early days of our church plant in Texas we were baptizing lots of people so we brought in a small indoor swimming pool. There were about 30 people who were planning to be baptized. But just before the service we realized that we didn't have a hose. We had a leaky one at home, so I asked other staff members, but no one had a hose. So I decided to go buy one.

As I was leaving to get the hose, a guy named John stopped me and said, "I'm glad I caught you, pastor. I need to talk to you." I tried to have a conversation with him as I kept aiming for my car, but he said, "No, I need to talk in private." So when we got to my office, he said, "I want to know if you're for real." I had been talking about how God says to each and every one of us that there is nothing we can do or say to make him not love us. He doesn't always love our behavior, but he loves us. So I told John, "Absolutely, it's for real." He said, "Well, I'm struggling with homosexual desires and behavior. I'm in and out of gay relationships. I understand what the Bible says, and I want to do what God wants me to do—but I'm losing this battle. Several months ago, I tried to go to another church, but when I came clean with my struggles, they told me never to come back again. So I want to know if you're for real."

We stayed and talked, and I connected him with a ministry that helps people battling same-sex attraction. I also connected him with one of our church's small groups, which ended up embracing him. Before he left my office, he said, "Now I want to tell you one more thing." At this point I'm thinking, I'm not going to have time to get the hose. "When I pulled into the parking lot today, I wasn't aiming my car in this direction. I was going to kill myself." When I asked John if he had a plan for ending his life, he said, "Yes, I did. It was already in motion. I went to the hardware store and bought a garden hose earlier today, and I bought some duct tape. My plan was to drive down this little rural road and tape the hose to my muffler and feed it into my car window." I said, "John, for real, you bought a hose?"

I got a glimpse of redemption that day. I saw John cross the line of faith and let Christ put his feet on a different path. And I saw God take something that was intended for death—that hose—and use it to fill up something that means life—the baptismal pool. From then on we told that story every time we did baptisms in that church.

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