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Suicidal and Desperate to Hear From God

“Once you catch your first wave, you know, you fall in love with it. I think everybody that’s ever caught a wave, I don’t think you can help but fall in love with it. The traveling, the adventure, you know, surfers go to crazy places to seek out waves and have crazy adventures from it. And I liked all of that,” says Robert.

When Robert discovered surfing in his early teens, it was a bright spot in a life that was otherwise dark and empty. He remembers, “I was insecure. I didn’t believe in myself, I didn’t think that I had value. What’s this life all about? Without any belief in God I couldn’t answer that question I couldn’t answer, what’s my purpose in life.”

Prescription drugs abuse gave him a short-term escape from his thoughts but it came at a high cost. He remembers, “When I got into drugs, I stopped surfing. I stopped all water sports and stopped skateboarding, all these extreme sports that I loved. I was going from doctor to doctor, getting scripts. And I’d take –on some days I’d end up taking 60 pills within a day. And not even end up being in the hospital from that.  It turned into other drugs, cocaine and some street drugs. I had daily thoughts of suicide. I had no friends because I had driven most of them away.”

Robert’s suicidal thoughts eventually became suicide attempts. He says, “I just didn’t want to be a part of life. I went to my mom’s house, I knew my dad had guns in his closet and so, my mom was there, she knew something was going on, but I had locked their bedroom door after I went in. So she immediately called the cops. And I walked into my dad’s closet grabbed one of his guns and was looking for the ammunition trying to match the—he had a box of ammo, when I found some, about the same time 3 or 4 police officers broke down the door of the closet and I had a gun to my head. And then one of them shot a rubber bullet hitting my hand, knocking the gun out of my hand. And then that followed with me getting put in a behavioral correctional facility for two weeks. As the drugs left my system I felt more and more like hey, this is not the life I want, you know. But I still didn’t know the life that I wanted.”

Soon after, Robert met for coffee with an old friend who was a Christian. Robert says, “I remember telling him, ‘I don’t think I can change and I don’t think I can stop doing what I’m doing.’ And he challenged me, said ‘Hey, you’ve got to give God permission to work in your life, you know. So much of your life you’ve spent running from Him and what I’d like you to do is just write down on a piece of paper a contract with God, just telling Him ‘God, I give You permission to work in my life, to change my life.’’ So I did that. I wrote down, God, whatever it takes.

Desperate to hear from God, he opened a Bible to Isaiah and began reading as he entered his house. “And I was in tears because I was wanting so badly for God to intervene in my life. And closed the door simultaneously reading this verse that said ‘close the door behind you’ I knew the Bible’s a big book and of all the Scripture I could’ve been reading, I was reading close the door. And then ‘while the Lord’s wrath passes you by’, I just broke down in tears. Because I thought of all the bad things that I had done in my life and all the people I stole from. Lying was such a daily part of my life because I didn’t want to tell people that I was a drug addict and I had these issues. So I became kind of a compulsive liar and I just broke down right there in my apartment on the floor, crying and weeping. I felt like God met me very powerfully. And I remember thinking this book is real. Everything I read I had these new eyes as I was reading I was like this book is telling me how to live it is telling me this is a key to life and it felt so real. It changed the trajectory of my life. I was on a dead end road and I was going nowhere and here this guy introduces God to me. And God has changed my life. So that moment is always going to make me emotional. I found freedom. I found hope. My life’s been renewed. All of a sudden I had a purpose. And, you know, the Bible tells us we’re to bear fruit. And that became my life’s mission. That became my goal. And I had a God that I was in love with, that I wanted to bear fruit for, that I wanted to do good works for. I just watched God change me in almost every way you can think of.”

In 2007 Robert sold everything he owned and joined Surfing the Nations, a humanitarian missions group based in Hawaii. He says, “After I had become a Christian, after I joined Surfing the Nations I just thought to myself, everything in my life has been redeemed. I thought God has given me the desires of my heart to surf and to travel the world, something I wanted as a kid. And I feel like He does that a lot with people when they submit to Him. He gives you your dreams back in ways that you don’t expect or can’t even imagine. Now I’m counseling people that have dealt with drug issues. I’m working with young kids from all over the world and kind of helping them grow in ways that I’ve seen God grow me.”
 
The emptiness he endured for so long has been filled as rob put his life in God’s hands. Robert says, “I have a family, I have a wife a son. I have a job that I love. Just give God permission to work in your life because that’s where it starts. You’ve got to allow God to be God. In the end, God’s the only one who can fill that void.

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