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The 700 Club

Broken Veteran Finds Peace in Jesus

Randy Rudder - 700 Club Producer

“It was like I did die over there. I was just living in this shell, empty with no emotions, no feelings, and there's just a – so much pain that I couldn't bear it,” says Jeff West. 

While serving in the Iraq war, Jeff West was physically and emotionally broken. He blamed God for the atrocities he witnessed during the war. “After seeing families and children, the moms and dads and just people being killed and losing my fellow marines over there. I just couldn't believe that He was allowing this type of stuff to go on,” Jeff says. “I thought I was here doing good work, like protecting and fighting for my country so that people could live, but yet God is allowing all this to happen.”

When he was a boy Jeff went to church with his parents and was taught that God was loving and good, but seeing the horrors of war up close threw him in to a deep depression. He hated himself and God. “I started to blame God for everything that was going wrong in my life, you know. I had developed a hatred like ‘How can you allow this stuff to go on?’ And ‘I did something for my country--I thought I was doing something good, and here I am depressed.’"

He survived an IED attack on his Humvee that resulted in a serious back injury and led to an addiction to pain medication.

“I had back problems and traumatic brain injury and nothing regular over the counter medicine wouldn’t help,” Jeff says. ”So I would use other methods of getting narcotics and pain prescription pills and Xanaxes and stuff for anxiety.”

After he returned to the states, Jeff married and had a son, but the chaos in his mind brought destruction to every area of his life. "I'd become unfaithful to my wife. And again, that just further strengthened that capacity to hate myself even more. but mentally just telling myself like, you know, ‘You're better off dead.' You know, like ‘What are you doing? You're not being an active father. You're doing all these terrible, terrible things.' Something was missing inside of me.”

Then, when he learned his mother died by drug overdose, Jeff decided he would take his own life. “I took 15 Xanaxes and about 38 Oxy’s,” Jeff remembers. “The next thing I remember was I was in my car and there was a police officer like looking at me … and he was shining a light in my eye. And then the next thing I remember is I woke up in jail.” 

While there, his wife filed a restraining order against him, and later divorced him. Jeff was desperate for hope. Then, a fellow inmate shared a Bible verse. “Somebody came up and then they sat down and they shared, you know, Romans 2:22, 'Do not be conformed by the world but by the renewal of your mind. And then and only then will you be able to find peace.’”  

Jeff knew he had no one else to turn to but God. “I was completely and utterly destroyed, that was my bottomless bottom. You know, that was the lowest of my low,” Jeff says. “So I prayed. I sat there and I got down and I prayed to God and I said, 'If you will deliver me, I will change my ways. I will go into rehab. I will do whatever it takes for me to get better and live a Christ-centered life.’ And then I just felt this wave come over me and it knocked me to my knees, and, I just surrendered. There was a flicker of light inside of me after that prayer.”     

He entered a rehab program and got clean and sober. “My life is much more different than it was just three years ago,” Jeff says. “I am doing work I am passionate about. I am engaged to a beautiful woman and we feed the homeless every month and, you know, my life has become more positive. You know, I feel like I live a more purpose-filled life now.”

Jeff is helping veterans dealing with addiction and suicide. “Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide,” he says. “And the purpose in my life has become to be that beacon of hope.”

He also works with his local church and volunteers with other recovery programs. “God doesn’t use the perfect people to help make changes in the world”, Jeff says. “He uses people like me who have been broken and come back, and being able to be a part of something greater that wouldn't be possible unless God would have not picked me up off that floor or I hadn't surrendered. And so my life has drastically become a million times better. And I wouldn't, you know, want anything else.”

 

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