A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:5-6
As a child, unloved and unwanted, I had a horrible experience of excruciating abuse happen to me when I was 7 years old. Being without a truly present or caring father or mother, someone to love me, on that day I saw the response of my classmates and teachers as they witnessed the physical harm that had come to me. People that generally did not want to be around me, on that day showed great care, compassion, and even hugs and a welcoming embrace. It was a significant day in my life, as I recognized that being hurt had made people truly care about me.
That night, returning to a very abusive situation, I spent a lot of time thinking. Realizing that being hurt had caused people to express genuine concern for me, I decided to ask God to show me if any human on earth really cared about me. I prayed for a vehicle accident and death. Now mind you, I was not suicidal… I loved the beauty of life all around me, but just hated being abused and not wanted. Being hurt had showed me that people really did care, so I prayed for what I, at seven years old, thought could be the biggest hurt… a vehicle accident and death. But that was not the full extent of the prayer, because I wanted to know someone really cared about me. I prayed that God would let me get into a vehicle accident, die, AND hover above my casket to see if anyone would show up at my funeral. Could anyone truly care about me?
8 years later, on September 3rd, 1994 (20 years ago tomorrow) God saw fit to answer my prayer request. I was 15 years old, in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of youth, when the driver got distracted and swerved off the road and the truck hit the tree at a high velocity. Praise God that I was the only person really injured in the accident. As the truck hit the tree I was jolted to the side of the truck, hanging out over the tire, trying for dear life to hold myself in the back as the truck spun in a 360 degree turn. As the truck spun my head hit the tree and I immediately went unconscious. I was propelled by the impact out of the back of the truck onto the road and I slid a good distance, as my clothes tore off my body and my heart stopped. EMTs and an ambulance arrived quickly and they got my heart restarted. On that day, September 3rd, 1994, I died three times, and entered into a 6 day coma. I received a traumatic brain injury, traumatic closed head injury, lost significant portions of my short term memory and retention, lost the ability to talk, walk, and write, and had to enter into some very intense therapy.
On the day when I would fully come out of my coma, I had a supernatural life experience with God that changed my life. As I came to from my coma, my room was packed with visitors and there was a line in the hospital hall waiting to visit me. The phone in my hospital room would not stop ringing. As I looked around and saw so many visitors, God broke every barrier, boundary, and disbelief I had about Him. He stepped into time and space and spoke to me audibly. I do not claim to have seen Him, but I am more than certain that I heard His voice; as He declared to me three very important sentences…
- Look around you and see that you are loved.
- Know that I love you.
- See this as an answer to prayer.
The second sentence, 5 small words, is the most amazing, life-transforming, incredible sentence I have ever heard; especially since it came directly from the mouth of God! God sets the lonely in families, and He assured me that He is my loving Father.
As tomorrow marks 20 years of life, since the day I heard the audible voice of God, I am so excited about how He has used my life to declare His love and salvation to others. As I think of Abogar International Ministries, and think of the multitude of children that we are going to reach, even if its slowly, little by little, I think about the night almost 28 years ago; when I as a little boy, beaten and abused, unwanted and unloved, cried out to God Almighty to show me that I could be lovable. This memory, almost every day of my life, makes me think of the millions and millions of children worldwide without loving family, without home or provision, who so desperately want to be loved. I do not want any of them to have to go through what I did to be certain that they are loved! God has given me this story of my life so that a multitude may know Him and His love, but also know us, us humans, you and me, who also want to love on them and offer them opportunity at a life of success and opportunity!
Tomorrow for me is a celebration of love and life. It is a reminder for me of why I have founded and am helping lead Abogar International Ministries. For there is no greater thing on earth that I could ever imagine being part of; than to be a part of God’s plan to set the lonely in families, to introduce them to the Father of the fatherless, and to share His love, light, salvation, and truth with them. I am committed to this cause, and as tomorrow quickly approaches I thank all of you who too believe that this is a worthy cause to invest your prayers, finances, encouragement, and participation in! I want that all these kids will know God; who says to them “Know that I love you!” May He use my life, and the ministry of Abogar International Ministries, to set many lonely and unloved children, into Christ-centered homes, family, and education for His glory!